Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Millard Canyon and Eaton Canyon Waterfalls, above Altadena, CA, March 2021

Skipped over a number of hikes, and now I've done several hikes after this one, too. That's sort of good news for me, since it means I'm getting in a lot more hiking than in recent years.
This is two separate hikes. The first, from mid-March, was up to Millard Canyon falls. This one can be pretty, and even a thundering roar, after heavy rains. This year has been drought conditions in southern California, so, although this is as heavy as I've seen it, recently, that's mainly due to it being dry or nearly dry the past few times I was up here.

This makes the falls "nice," rather than "impressive." But "nice" is nice. :D

The parking area down at Millard Campground is still only open on weekdays [as of this writing -- it has likely changed, since], though you'd still be obligated to display your Adventure Pass or federal recreation pass from your rearview mirror.

I also hiked up to the Sunset Ridge trail, and wandered over to an overview of the falls. Falls were not impressive, at least not with my cell phone. I've found on recent hikes I just carry my cell phone, rather than my DSLR. I have two of them, but my smaller, "crop sensor" one is acting up, and my full-frame one is heavy. I'm deliberating if I will try to repair or replace my crop sensor one (a Nikon D3400). It's about half the weight of a full-frame dslr, and that's enough to matter when I'm packing a day pack.

Passed a relatively large number of hikers (for such a short hike), but all wore masks.

I also hiked Rubio Canyon between these two hikes, but no pictures are included, and I won't separately blog it. Even the lower falls were dry, which did not surprise me, given the year's lack of rainfall.
For Eaton Canyon, I hiked in via the Altadena Crest Trail, same as last time. Apparently, I've been doing this for some time, but, this year, it's been a necessity. The Pinecrest gate is still locked, access via the Nature Center is limited, and temporary fencing prevents walk-in access between the Nature Center and Pinecrest. I suppose you could probably walk in from further down the canyon, but I haven't checked this. Figured the Tanoble access was better, anyway, since it's an official trail, and they can hardly get mad at you for walking on an official trail, right?
Passed a couple of people on the Altadena Crest Trail, and only three or so inside Eaton Canyon. About half wore masks. The young couple in the canyon was not wearing masks, but they were far from the trail.

Eaton Canyon was flowing nicely, though, again, as expected, somewhat low for the end of March.

Spoiler for a later post, by the way: This week, I took the Altadena Crest Trail, then headed up to Henniger. Signage along the Toll Road indicates the route is open, although the visitor center and bathrooms are closed (which, let's face it, was often the case, even before COVID).

I like the Tanoble option for Eaton Canyon. It makes it a little longer, and with more climbing than even if you come from the Nature Center. Much better workout, and, at least for now, the only way to visit Eaton Canyon after 5pm. Not sure when they'll lift the COVID restrictions.

Other "coming attraction" blogs include another Trip to Valley of Fire, in NV, and a truck trail hike near Morton Peak, in the San Bernardino National Forest. I also hiked around Schabarum Park, on Cesar Chavez Day.

Oh, yes, and last night, I hiked from Eaton Saddle to Mt. Lowe and San Gabriel Peak. Yeah, it's been a pretty good last month or so of hiking.

I also hiked the McCullough Hills/Trail 601 trail [Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area, NV] at least once that I haven't blogged, yet. Hopefully, that's all.

The other thing I just started doing was contemplating some short summer trips, like long weekends and what not. A while ago, the Joshua Tree National Park ranger who's newly in charge of the Joshua Tree Night Sky Festival set the Saturday of Labor Day as the tentative date for 2021, if COVID restrictions were lifted. I'm starting to feel pretty confident that this will happen. So I also started idly checking vacancies at some of my favorite national parks. Looks like April and May are pretty much booked, which is how I started thinking about summer. June and July, I started seeing availability in Grand Canyon, Zion, and Cedar Breaks. Not sure if I'll try to visit one or more of those this summer, but it's a definite possibility. Don't want to wait too long and have all availability disappear.

At any rate, that's just me thinking out loud, and maybe reminding you to start thinking about making reservations, if you're planning on traveling this summer.

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