A redunant name for a beautiful hiking trail in the foothills of Los Angeles. “A place so beautiful, they named it twice”. I went back “home” to the L.A. area for the Easter weekend. Phil and the kids and I headed out on Monday morning to find the trailhead. The trail we were seeking leads to a waterfall, as all of the hikes I go on with them do. This waterfall was along the Gold Creek.
The book we were using as our guide was published in the 80′s, so sometimes the directions are hit or miss. This one was a HIT! The only “glitch” was that the sign we were looking for which would lead to the trailhead was missing on the way. When we turned around to look from the other direction, there it was, and once we found it the directions were spot on.
We hiked in about 2 1/2 miles up (and 2 1/2 miles back, which is good, it’s always good to hike out as far as you’ve hiked in!) on a well maintained trail which completely lacked any evidence of human presence…no trash, no graffiti, no dog poop….barely even shoeprints in the softer areas.
We forded the stream a number of the times on the way there, but didn’t even get our feet wet. I was a bit worried to be hiking since I jacked my right knee up back in December, but it held up nicely. I was very careful about foot placement and avoiding any pivoting on it. I tell you this just to show that the hike, though not totally easy, was doable even for the gimp in the group. (So you could do it, too!) The hike took us through lush green woods along paths liberally decorated with itty bitty wildflowers. This purple beauty measured less than an inch across. Didn’t even see the teensy weensy red bugs crawling around until I uploaded my pictures!
And it took us through more poison oak than any of us had ever seen in our lives! Phil and at least a couple of his kids are really prone to getting horrific rashes from it and warnings rang out frequently about avoiding touching it! (And upon arriving home, all clothes were stripped and washed, and showers were taken, it was that bad!) I haven’t heard if any of them broke out or not, but Richard was already sporting some nasty rashes from his LAST excursion into the wilderness.
Back to the hike. We came around one bend and found ourselves in a manzanita forest. Manzanita is a bush that is found in the chaparrel biome. Manzanita is spanish for “little apple”, I guess because the seeds look alot like little apples. The trunk and branches are a deep rosey red, and they are smooooooooth and satiny. Any way, these were huge TREES! Never seen anything like it. Phil shows how tall the bushes usually are. The trunks were so thick you couldn’t get your arms around them.
The trail led us to something I can only describe as a CLIFF. Rocks jutting out high over a small canyon. Richard loves to rock climb. I am afraid of heights. He decided to pick his way down to the canyon. I wanted to take a picture of him doing it, but couldn’t get close enough to the edge to do that, so I took a picture of him disappearing through a crack in the CLIFF. Bye Richard. I hope I see you again!
He took the short way down, we took the long way down, and we met back up at the bottom.
The last bit of the hike was a little steep and the dirt a bit loose, but when when we rounded the last corner before the waterfall, we entered a little bitty paradise! The cataract measured about 50 feet tall and tumbled into a small, clear pool.
There was a large sycamore tree at the edge of the pool which had a high green and lacy canopy. The canopy provided shade and showed off a brilliant blue sky above it. Off came shoes and socks! The bottom of the pool was firm and sandy/pebbly. But boy oh, the water was cold! Of course I orchestrated one of my famous foot pictures, but I couldn’t stand being in the water for more than a minute or so.
My feet are wimpy because they have spent all winter in shoes (and I just got a pedicure further removing any protective toughened skin!). But Jonathan’s feet suffered no such wimpiness. This kid was swimming in that cold water!
Head to toe wet. Brrrrr.
We played and laughed for a time and decided this would be a great place for a picnic. Plenty of large flat rocks to serve as a picnic table. I don’t know if we got lucky that day having the place to ourselves, or if it is a little visited place. I wonder if we went back in the summer for that picnic if there would be a horde of people vying for the best seats on the rocks!
Time to put our shoes back on and go.
A hidden place which seemed to have been created, at least for that day, just for us!
For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills…Deuteronomy 8:7 (NIV)
Some of the best times of my life are spent exploring God’s creation with my big brother and his kids.