Monday, August 26, 2013

Hike 2013.042 -- Henninger Flats

Hiked Sunday, August 25.

I was reading an article a few days ago about weight loss, and the importance of developing a good "default" reaction. We need to get to the point where our habitual behavior is a good one: Eating healthier foods rather than sugary foods, and exercising rather than becoming a couch potato, for example.

When I started this hiking blog, my default action was to go hiking. There was never a shortage of time, because I was unemployed. Even after spending hours each day looking for work, there was always time to go hiking, if not today, then tomorrow. Two, three, or even four hikes in a day became common.

However, once I started working 40 hours a week, making time for hiking got tougher. Then I upped that to 50-60 hours a week, and it got even tougher. Particularly if I tried to pick up extra work shifts, there just weren't many days for hiking. And if something came up that required my attention on a now-rare free day, things often didn't allow for a hike "tomorrow," either.

So now, I find that my default habit is no longer to hike. I don't manage to get out of the door early enough on many summer weekend mornings, and then it's too hot (I convince myself) to do any hiking. Also, sometimes it's nice (or even necessary) to use my free time for something other than hiking--say, just vacuuming the house, or sorting through the recyclables, or doing some laundry, or making a run to the pet store to buy some cat food or kitty litter.

I've got some plans on how I might get a few more hikes in during the fall than I have managed during the summer. But I don't know if I'll manage to follow through.

In the meantime, this week I managed but a single hike. As noted above, I waited too long, and finally postponed my hike into the later afternoon hours. I settled on a 5pm-ish start up to Henninger Flats, which I've hiked many, many times before. No need to add the description again.

But I did have some interesting encounters. First off, the area was getting buzzed by helicopters. Southern California Edison was pulling their new high tension wires taut, and men were working at heights that I would find impossible to work at. This is all part of the Tehatchapi Renewable Project that I mentioned in a number of posts last year. It seems like the transmission corridors are all exactly where I like to go hiking!

Also, just as I started off, I was asked by a young couple which way they should go to Hermit Falls.

Now, I've been hiking quite a lot these past few years. But if someone asks me about a hike in a different area, it often takes me a few minutes to orient myself and fit the geography together. So as I stood here, just below Crescent Drive, near the mouth of Eaton Canyon, I had to think it over before I said something stupid. But, no, after a moment's thought, I determined what I was thinking was correct: Hermit Falls is in Big Santa Anita Canyon. To get to Hermit Falls from Eaton Canyon by foot would roughly (without checking a map) six miles up the toll road, until you intersect with Upper Winter Creek trail. Then you'd have to follow that one down probably 3 miles or 4 miles, back down to Chantry Flat. Then down another mile or mile and a half to get to Hermit.

I asked them several questions, trying to figure out how they got here, and if their car was somehow over at Chantry and they had made an incredibly taxing hike in the wrong direction. Eventually, despite their uncertainty about which street they took to get to where they parked, I determined they really were just over at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center, and that they were really just interested in getting to Eaton Canyon Falls.

At any rate, I'm glad they asked, because sometimes people get lost and never ask. Then they get in real trouble.

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