Monday, November 7, 2016

Hike 2016.045 -- Millard Canyon

Hiked Sunday, October 2. Obviously, this hike was a long time ago. I began blogging it a while ago, but did not manage to finish. Then I managed to delete the post. It's the stupid touch pad, which often manages to highlight text as I type, then delete the text when my palm moves on the touchpad. I just adjusted the settings, so hopefully that won't happen any more.

But the real reason for this long hiatus is that I had a bit of a health issue the past sex weeks. Serious diagnosis, followed by major surgery.

I'm mostly recovered, and now doing a lot of mall and park walking, but I have not tried anything seriously strenuous, or even anything taking me more than a mile or so from pavement. I may be trying slightly longer hikes, but I also know my recovery is not complete, and I may soon be taking some medications that will further sap my endurance.
Nonetheless, I'm still alive, and, at least for now, feeling mostly okay. Can't be sure if I'm "cured," or if this is just a calm before the storm. I'm hoping the former, obviously.

In the meantime, this was the last hike I took before my surgery. I read the trail write-up in Modern Hiker, and, quite frankly, I was surprised. This trail was closed the winter after the 2009 Station Fire, which was right about when I was starting my first 100 hike years, so I never managed to see the falls before winter mud flows lead to a closure order for Millard Canyon falls.
The closure lasted for years, and I hadn't even realized the closure order had been lifted. But, upon reading the post, I searched the Internet and confirmed that the closure order had been lifted. So, even knowing there would be just a trickle of water coming down the "falls," I figured it would still be nice to hike some new trail and get a close up of the base of the falls.

The falls themselves are also visible from the Sunset Ridge Trail, which heads out of the canyon and takes you right near the top of the falls. The best view of the falls on that trail is from some distance away, however.
You can also get close to the top by taking the trail past the falls, then swinging back downstream (Hiked last year, but never blogged. Must do that, still!). But you can't really see the falls from the top very well, at all.

Modern hiker says it's 1.6 miles roundtrip, so that's a pretty short distance. Several stream crossings, which are not a problem when the water is so low. Quick walk, and the view was as expected, as was the low water flow.

Knowing ahead of time that this hike was going to be so short, I intended to then add the Sunset Ridge Trail. I intended to go all the way to Echo Mountain, but did not feel the strength or motivation to go the distance. I didn't even feel the motivation to head up from the canyon bottom. Instead, when I drove in, I noticed many parking spaces were right at the saddle, which would save me about 1.5 miles roundtrip, and a pretty significant climb.
So after my visit to the falls, I drove my car back up to the saddle. Yet, even with the head start, by the time I got to the picnic area (about 1.5 miles from the saddle), I was feeling pretty tired. So I sat, took some pictures, then returned to my car. A pretty short day, yet enough for what I could handle, that day.

I'll probably be heading back there if we get some significant rain this year.


  1. So sorry to hear about your health issues. I wish you a speedy recovery and all the best for the future. I hope to be seeing some new hiking blogs from you soon.

  2. Hi, Bob!

    Wasn't sure if you were still blogging. Of course, I haven't been blogging much recently because I haven't been doing much hiking. Also, I'm on medication that recommends staying out of the sun and not being on your feet too much. So what walking I have been doing has been just in the county arboretum and the nearby Huntington Library and Gardens. Lots of shade, relatively flat pathways, and, of course, water and restrooms, if needed.

    All in all, the side effects have not been too serious so far, but I am only beginning my second two-week sequence of medication, following a one-week hiatus.

    I assume you guys are well on your way to building a great plan for the August solar eclipse. Pretty lucky that your club base is right in the path.

    The Los Angeles Astronomical Society has put together a package for many of its members to head up to near Idaho Falls. Better weather forecast than near LBL, but much shorter totality, obviously.

  3. I haven't updated my blog much at all this year. I've got a bunch of stuff stacked up and waiting so I need to get busy and get it caught up.

    Yes, the astronomy club has several outreach events planned for the time leading up to and during the eclipse. Hopefully the weather will cooperate but if it doesn't I will have contingency travel plans :-)

    Just looked up Idaho Falls which is 21 miles south of the center line of the eclipse. If you travel to the path's midpoint the totality time is about 2 minutes and 15 seconds. That's still not bad. The max is about 2 min 40 sec. At the LBL observatory it is only about 2 min 7 sec (being off the center line).

    I hope you continue to do well with your medication. Walking when you can is probably one of the best things you can do as long as you don't over-exert.

    1. LAAS has made arrangements to view from a park in Rexburg, ID, which is closer to the centerline. 20-30 minute drive, I think.

      They have several outreach events planned in the area, but I probably won't get to Idaho in time for most of that. We're somewhat limited on available vacation, which means we'll just get to Idaho Falls on Saturday (with one day of slack built in, to protect against at least a small amount of unforeseen developments!).

      If the LAAS wasn't organizing a trip, I'm not sure what my eclipse plan would have been. I kind of liked the idea of heading back to LBL, despite the relatively lower weather odds. On the other hand, heading somewhere more drivable (two days from LA) means I can bring my own telescopes, while also keeping the time and dollar cost down. On the third hand, I have read several "insider tips" that basically say, "Don't bother with the telescope or the camera -- just try to experience it." So lots of things to weigh over the next nine months.