Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Weird One- Wilson Canyon Park

I started out the day on a very simple mission. Go hike around the Getty Museum here in SoCal. The Getty, for those unfamiliar, has a range of classic and contemporary art and exhibits but truly the best feature of the place is the unparalleled views of Los Angeles. It is really unmatched for city-watching.

There are allegedly trails near the Getty Center that get you up to the ridgeline and tromping around here and there. It would be about 2-3 miles with great views and then I would pack it in, go home and spend the rest of the day with my better half.

The day had other plans for me.

As I drove up and down Sepulvada Blvd. there was only construction as far as the eye could see. On my second sweep of the Blvd., I saw a yellow sign stuck to some construction materials "trailhead parking". Which of course, couldn't be further from the truth as it was just a construction site. I drove around the construction site (!?) looking for a trailhead but couldn't fine any trails. Nada.

Frustrated after 2 weeks of not hiking, of construction apparently obliterating the trailhead, of waking up at 5:50am and having no where to go and no plan of action, I swung my car North on the 405 and just started to drive. As I kept driving North, I saw mountains I had never seen before and thought "well let's go climb those". Drive, drive, drive, see the mountains.

3 lanes of the 405 shut down? Hit the surface streets, keeping heading due North to the mountains. The 5 and the 210 getting in the way? Angle around keeping trucking. Get to the mountains? Lot of houses, is there a park around here?

Why yes, yes there was. Wilson Canyon Park. In the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains, I can't really tell you anything about the park because the gates were closed by the time I got there (I was that early). I parked my car on the side streets and started hiking up the driveway.

Yes up, there is a nice vertical incline to get your calves pumping. It costs $5 to park in the Park and that is worth every penny to save on your calves.

I had no idea where I was going so I just picked a footpath that seemed to be making its way through the swale grass to a mountain.

Little did I know that I was walking away from the main trails and about to hop on a heard path making its way up many vertical feet. At least it was a nice day right?

The herdpath keeps going and is marked by cairns along the way.

At this fork in the road you can either head left into a shadowed valley 

Or right up to the mountains.

I chose right.

I start climbing and climbing and the fire road gives way to bushes, thorny little plants and annoyance. I certainly don't mean to bitch but I had no idea what I was doing and it showed, basically bushwacking it up a herd trail to some unknown mountain.

About 3/4 of the way up the trail I took a seat here

to take a rest for the lungs

and to do a real assessment about what I was doing. I could see the "summit" about .5-.75 vertical miles away (which was really a false summit as you later see with more perspective) but I was struggling. I only wanted a nice 2-3 mile jaunt and here I was, several miles going the wrong way up the hill (up).

I gave it another go. I went about another .35-.50 vertical miles but my body (and more importantly my mind) was having none of it. I am all for adventure and pushing your limits but when you aren't in the mindset to do any of those things, it is better to reassess and try again another day since the mountain isn't going anywhere. Adventure rocks and I definitely want it brought'd to me but I think you have to be in the mindset for adventure.

Here is an uphill view I won't miss (one of many bumps not summits)...

Overall I am happy with my decision to turn it around but it certainly was a weird hiking day. I went hiking but not on any trail that I wanted.

I enjoyed the area and definitely want to go back and check out that portion of the Angeles National Forest.  I came for an amble but got to know another part of this great SoCal hiking space and now I can't wait to go back and explore!


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