Sunday, February 6, 2011
Hike 10- Parker Mesa Can't Lose
For us Californians, we can sometimes take our sun, landscape and Jason Priestly's sideburns for granted. Driving along the PCH this morning before dawn and then the subsequent views of the ocean during the 3.5 hike to the Parker Mesa Overlook made me continually say, "I can't BELIEVE I live this close to the Pacific Ocean!" Really, its a blessing, karma, whatever that the mountains and beautiful sea come together as they do here in Cali. Yes, I believe that even though the fog/pollution/marine layer/haze sometimes makes LA look like the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee.
The trailhead is surprisingly close to LA and is just off Sunset Blvd and the PCH. I hit the trail around 6:45am which was just early enough as cars started to pull in right after me. By the time I was hiking down, the cars were parked about a 1/2 mile down Los Liones and you could see the results of that with all the people on the trail.
The trail itself consists of two parts. The first part is a very well worn path through tight underbrush and huge boulders. Eventually at about the 1.5 mile mark the trail intersects with a fireroad and then continues its ascent Northwest.
As you make your way up the fireroad you start to see that there is the typical canoe/kayak divide amongst the trails (for a further explanation of canoe/kayak click here). The kayak trails run parallel to the canoe fireroad and don't really seem to stray but keep your head up when you are on them so that you are going the right way!
I noticed a lone hiker in front of me, twice my age :(, kicking my ass on our respective paces while doing the harder kayak trails. Thus, I discovered today that I am in "hiking" shape (I can rock scramble with the worst of them) but my endurance is piss poor.
Still, I stuck to the canoe route and my time was pretty good despite all my huffing and puffing. Where this trail gets you is not in the technical aspects, as it is pretty wide, but in the continual ascent over 3ish miles.
In any event, you get high enough and you start to wend your way through the SanMo (as the kids call it) mountains with some pretty great views.
At 3 miles you reach the trail junction.
Either hike a .5 mile to the Overlook or continue on down the trail to a connecting trail. The Overlook was definitely worth it.
I also hit the Overlook at the right time as I was hiking away from it, I started meeting more and more people on the trail. Talking loud, talking soft, buttoned up or hair sweatered, there were many various people on the trail. I suggest either hiking this trail as early as you can or as late as you can to minimize such annoyances such as "humanity".
(please note I love people and am very social, I just want the particular trail I am hiking that day less tread upon)
On the way down, I decided to hike the kayak trails. However, a recommendation here is to hike them on the ascent as there are many loose rocks which make for treacherous and slow going descents. Still the kayak trails afford you a great opportunity to see rabbits, hear woodpeckers and see other angles to the various mountains and canyons.
Overall, this hike was pretty cool and well worth the effort for the views. Plus it is super close for us LA SoCal folks so definitely check it out!
Info for the Los Liones Trail: http://www.hikespeak.com/trails/parker-mesa-overlook-in-the-santa-monica-mountains/
Another way to attack the Outlook: http://www.localhikes.com/Hikes/ParkerMesa_4472.asp