Nature

Devils Canyon, 6 Miles RT, 1,348' +/-, Max Elevation 5,302', May 27, 2019

Devils Canyon, 6 Miles RT, 1,348' +/-, Max Elevation 5,302', May 27, 2019

We got up late today and decided to take our time getting anywhere. We weren’t really decided upon any one hike, so I stuffed my backpack with maps, downloaded a bunch of different trails onto the Garmin and headed up the ACH. The rock slide still hasn’t been repaired, so we had to take the detour to get to the high country. We then decided today would be a good day to hike Devil’s Canyon. The weather was cool, and I remembered last year when we did this hike in April there was lots of water flowing. I knew with all the rain and snow this year, there would be plenty of water now too. The trail hadn’t changed much. The views down into the canyon overlooking the San Gabriel Wilderness were beautiful. The trail could definitely use some love though. It was pretty brushy in some areas, and there were some trees down across the trail. There was also more erosion. Still, it was nothing too difficult to get around. We followed the creek most of the way and eventually reached the backcountry campsite. We saw a family on their way out who had spent the night. They had their kids who were carrying backpacks bigger then they were and two dogs. I asked them how their night was, and they told me it rained all night. We made our way over to this really great rock I found last year right next to the stream. It’s nice and smooth and shaped like a recliner. We got comfortable and ate our lunch (ham and cheese croissants from the donut shop... yum!). The sound of the running water was so relaxing and the clouds were billowing across blue sky. We took a nice nap until eventually the sky turned to gray and the sun was covered by the clouds. We packed up our stuff and began the hike up out of the canyon. I took a lot of photos on the way back. There were lots of wildflowers, and at one of the creek crossings there was a ton of ladybugs (and also poison oak). The cloud cover made the hike up and out pleasant since it kept us cool on the exposed sections of the trail. It was a very peaceful, relaxing day.

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Descanso Gardens, December 23, 2018

Descanso Gardens, December 23, 2018

I woke up Sunday morning feeling inspired. It had been a while since I’d last visited Descanso Gardens. I used to go there every weekend to take photos of the flowers, the trees, the plants, and through the years, I’ve come to know the garden with it’s changing seasons quite intimately. Now that I’ve been spending most of my weekends hiking, I just don’t have as much time to spend visiting the garden. I didn’t realize how much I’d missed being here until my walk this morning. It felt so refreshing and it was, as usual, beautiful. I’m going to make it a plan in the new year to create a balance so that I can still set aside some time to visit this enchanted place.

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Switzer Camp to Bear Canyon, 4.8 Miles RT, 3,362' Max Elevation, 978' +/-, December 2, 2018

Switzer Camp to Bear Canyon, 4.8 Miles RT, 3,362' Max Elevation, 978' +/-, December 2, 2018

Sunday was our first hike in about a month since my husband and I were busy moving most of November. Late Sunday morning we headed up Angeles Crest Highway with a bunch of maps, but no real commitment to any particular trail. As we passed by the entrance to Switzer Camp the overflow parking along the highway didn’t look too busy. We turned in and headed down to see how it was looking. Surprisingly, it wasn’t too packed for a weekend. Some of the oaks were still holding onto their color, so it was a nice treat since we didn’t get to experience much of the fall weather this year. The stroll along the Arroyo Seco was very pleasant, and we crossed the stream a number of times. I think the last time we hiked this all the way to Bear Canyon Trail Camp last March, I counted a total of 50-something crossings round trip. It was a beautiful day. Perfect hiking weather; a little chilly to start, but we warmed up as we kept going. On the cliffs we passed by the ruins of the old Switzer-land chapel and then descended down towards Switzer Falls. We decided to forgo the falls this time and continue on to the Bear Canyon Trail knowing there’d be lots of pretty cascades along the way and a lot less traffic. We hiked in as far as the junction where the two streams intersect, and then continued on a bit farther to where the going becomes less maintained. We stopped about a mile short of the campground this time. It was getting later in the day and we wanted to make sure we got back before the sun started to set. It was a nice way to ease back into the hiking routine again, and we could not have asked for a more perfect day.

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Mount Pacifico 7,134', 2,398' +/-, 14 miles on the PCT from Mill Creek, June 3, 2018

Mount Pacifico 7,134', 2,398' +/-, 14 miles on the PCT from Mill Creek, June 3, 2018

I’m always looking to escape weekend crowds and find new trails to explore. This Sunday our hike was to the top of Mount Pacifico in the northern part of Angeles National Forest. We planned to start the hike at Mill Creek and follow the PCT which runs through this area. It looked like the trek would be around 12 to 14 miles depending on whether or not we did an out and back on the PCT or did a loop. The day was going to be hot, but I figured since we were heading up to a higher elevation, it might not be so bad on the ascent. If it got too hot, we would descend and save it for another time. The trail was very beautiful. There were many wildflowers and so much ceanothus (California lilac) which made for a very pleasant fragrance along the way. There was lots of wildlife activity too; squirrels, chipmunks, songbirds, bees, insects and butterflies. As we climbed higher, we started to see beautiful, tall pine trees. Much of the area was burned in the 2009 Station Fire, and we could see the effects of that as we hiked this route. But the area looks as though it’s been recovering nicely. Eventually, we reached a junction where we left the PCT and headed southeast to a jeep road that took us up to the summit. There are outstanding views of the surrounding mountain ranges along the way making the road more interesting. After about a mile or so we reached the summit. Mount Pacifico Campground is also here. There are picnic tables, a fire ring and vault toilets. That’s quite a luxury to have up on a summit! There are also a lot of very interesting rock formations to explore. There wasn’t anyone here today, so we took a good long rest and relaxed and enjoyed the peace and quiet. Soon it was time to head back and get ready for the heat as we descended to a lower elevation. We opted to come back the way we came on the PCT for a more scenic and enjoyable route. Both of us had been keeping well hydrated throughout the trip and we had no problems with it being so warm. We were even gifted with an occasional breeze as we hiked back down the mountain. I found this trail to be very nicely graded so although it was long, it was very pleasant. A very enjoyable hike!

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