Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Chilly Morning Hike At Devil's Punch Bowl

My brother Keith is visiting me for a few days. He had never been to the Devil's Punch Bowl out in Pearblossom, CA so I decided that this visit, I'd take him out there. We also invited my neighbor Jean who is also my dog Hiker's groomer. We've been having some very cold mornings here in SoCal and it was only around 25 deg. when we headed up to the Punch Bowl. It is at an elevation of over 4700 feet, so there was snow in the mountain around the county park.

We headed out on the canyon loop trail which takes you down to the bottom of the Punch Bowl...about a 300 foot decline in elevation.

There are some really great views from the trail.

We got pretty close to the bottom of the canyon and looked back up at the visitor center on the rim.

So we decided to head back up the trail.

Once we got back on top, we checked out the owls that are on display. This Great Horned Owl and my dog Hiker did not take their eyes off of each other.

We sat down on a bench near the edge of the Devil's Punch Bowl and enjoyed the scenery before heading home.

That's me and Hiker on the left, my brother Keith in the middle and my neighbor Jean on the right.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hike At East Walker Ranch - Santa Clarita, CA

Finally was able to get out for a hike this morning. It has been so hot this summer that I have not been out much except for walks in my local neighborhood. My brother Keith is visiting, so he and I took my dog Hiker over to the East Walker Ranch Open Space which is a fairly new hiking area here in Santa Clarita.

This hike can be as short at about 1.5 miles to about 3 miles depending on which trails you hike. We chose the Loop Trail which is just under 2 miles. The map we had showed that it was a fairly moderate hike, however we found a few places to be pretty strenuous, plus the fact that we are out of shape for hiking. It has been so hot here in SoCal this summer that we have not been able to get out much.

The trail starts off from a small parking area just off Placerita Canyon Road.

If you go to the right, you start up a paved trail which starts to climb immediately. If you go to the left, you start off on a dirt trail that is fairly flat at first, but then starts to go into a steep climb.

There is a "look-out point" at the top of the ridge that offers some great views of the mountains all around.

To get to this area exit Highway 14 at Placerita Canyon Road (from the 14 NB, turn right, from the 14 SB, turn left). Pass the Placerita Nature Center and East Walker Ranch will be ahead on the south side of the road (your right). There is a sign so you cannot miss it. Parking is available near the gate.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Foggy, Soggy Hike In Rice Canyon

We had a very HOT weekend. Temperatures in the 90's, but then this morning, there was a thick marine layer and it was drizzling some when me, my brother Keith and my dog Hiker headed to Rice Canyon for a foggy, soggy hike.

We had just started out from the trail head when we spotted a coyote running around in the ranger's yard. It noticed us and started to run up the hill, but then it stopped and sat down and just watched us as we went on up the trail. It was only about 300 yards from us. It looked friendly, but we avoided it.

Because of the late rain we've had this year, the grass was tall and green and the creek was running. There were even a few wildflowers, but very few.

Keith lead us up the trail toward the meadow on the top of the ridge.

We stopped under a tree to snap a photo of the three of us...Me, Hiker and Keith.

There was a lot of moisture on the leaves from the drizzle.

Took this photograph from the ridge. You can see the fog on the mountain tops.

We started back down the trail toward the lower meadows and the trail head where the car was parked. We did not see the coyote again, but we did come upon this gopher snake. It was stretched out across the trail and scared the heck out of me. I am scared to death of snakes whether they are poisonous or not. Keith determined it was not a rattler, chased it into the grass and Hiker and I ran past it as fast as we could go.

We were muddy and wet by the time we got back to the car. I had to give Hiker a bath when we got her home.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Haskell Canyon Open Space

This morning, my brother Keith, my dog Hiker and I took a hike in the Haskell Canyon Open Space area in the Santa Clarita Valley. This area had been known for equestrians for years but opened up for hikers and mountain bikers about a year ago. I had attended the city dedication of this area with my friend Linda.

We started out at the trail head on Copperhill Drive in Saugus, CA and headed north up into the canyon.

As we were hiking into the canyon, we began to notice that there were a lot of strange looking wooden structures on trails that took off from the main trail. We started to inspect them.

We finally figured out that these were jump ramps for BMX bike riders. They were everywhere.

We hiked in a little over a mile before turning around and heading back to the trail head and the car.

This hike is not a very scenic one. If you just want to hike and not enjoy nature, this hike would be for you. I prefer oak groves and panaramic views. If we had a good season for wildflowers, I think this canyon would be a great place to see some. We ended up doing almost 2.5 miles with an 300 ft. rise in elevation.

The trail is mostly flat, but there are a few areas where you have a little bit of a steep climb.

Directions: Haskell Canyon is located north of Copperhill Drive, east of Haskell Canyon Road. Parking is available east of High Ridge Drive along the roadway. Parking is also available on Ranchview Terrace, off of High Ridge Drive, along the street curb. Signs are posted at the trailhead.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Morning Hike At Quigley Canyon Open Space - Santa Clarita, CA

This morning, my friend Linda came to my house and then she, me and Hiker headed over to the Quigley Canyon Open Space near Newhall, CA in the Santa Clarita Valley. We met up there with our friend RuthAnne.

This open space is fairly new and has recently opened up for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians.

There are four loop trails in the area ranging from easy to difficult.

We did two of the trails...the City Trail and then the Fox Trail.

The trails start out in a large field and head off through oak trees and then proceed to head up the side of the mountain.

The City Trail takes you up to a vista point where you have views of the Santa Clarita Valley.

We headed back down to the meadow and then headed up the Fox Trail which lead us through more oak groves and along a dry creek bed.

Here we all are...Hiker, me, RuthAnne and Linda

After hiking 2.7 miles, we decided to call it a morning and headed back to the trail head where our vehicles were parked.

The City of Santa Clarita purchased the nearly 160 acres of this beautiful canyon nearly a decade ago, and it has provided the surrounding Equestrian homes in Placerita Canyon with hiking, picnicking, and equestrian trails in close proximity to where they live. The trails were refurbished in the spring of 2011, and now include four separate trails that total approximately 4.1 miles, offering pristine 360 degree views and undulating slopes in varying degrees of difficulty.

Directions:  Exit SR 14 at Newhall Avenue. Head northwest on Newhall Avenue and turn right on Railroad Avenue. Continue to 13th Street and turn right. 13th street curves to the right and becomes Arch Street. Continue on Arch Street to the first street on your left which will be 12th Street. Stay on 12th Street and it will make a slight curve to the right and became Placeritos Boulevard. Take Placeritos Boulevard to Quigley Canyon Road and turn left. Stay on Quigley Canyon Road until you reach Cleardale Street. Continue to where Cleardale Street dead-ends at the trail head.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Two Hikes In One Day

This morning Hiker and I went for two hikes with my friend Linda. Linda had found some trails over in the Rocky Peak area of Simi Valley, CA and wanted us to see them. The first trail we hiked was The Hummingbird Trail.

As we started off along the trail, we came upon these strange spider webs that covered the ground all around us. I remembered my brother telling me about these kinds of webs so I Googled this and found that these are made by Funnelweb Spiders. I can see how these spiders got their name.

This trail was pretty rugged and steep in some areas, but when we reached the ridge, it gave us some great views of the Simi Valley and the fog rolling in from the Pacific Ocean. Here you see Linda and how rugged the area is, next you see the views.

Here we are on the ridge.

To get to The Hummingbird Trail, we took SR 14 south from Canyon Country and switched over to Interstate 5 South. Then we took the 405 Freeway South until we came to the Simi Valley (Ronald Reagan) Freeway 118 where we headed West. We left the freeway at the Kuehner Drive off-ramp and turned right. Drove about 2 or 3 blocks and parked in the clearing alongside the road. There are signs on the fence that point toward the trail head.

We hiked about 2 miles on The Hummingbird Trail then decided to drive under the freeway down Kuehner Drive and go to Corriganville Movie Ranch Park where we hiked another 2 miles around the historic site. Here is a link that will take you to a PDF file of a brochure of Corriganville Movie Ranch Park.

This historic movie ranch was where they filmed many western movies and TV shows in the 1940's, 1950's and 1960's. Plus they filmed "Tarzan" movies here and the TV show "Robin Hood" here.

The following photo is of "Stagecoach Road" where many westerns were filmed. Many stagecoaches, wagons and horses came down this road during filming.

There are many signs like this one along the loop trail that explain what movies were filmed in different locations around the park.

Here is a map of the areas were were hiking today.