More California Wanderlust

We are still new to the LA sprawl and I've been trying to check off all of the spots I'm curious about on my weekend adventures. I...

We are still new to the LA sprawl and I've been trying to check off all of the spots I'm curious about on my weekend adventures. I've had a fair amount of them lately. Spotted my first rattle snake, got stalked by a mountain lion,  and various other fun things.

Here are some iphone photos from some recent trips out and about in California. I have been visiting Azusa a lot lately, either by motorcycle ride through the twisties or just for hiking and exploring. They also have an off road park that I plan on attacking with the FJ. Living in an urban setting and being able to escape to such remote surrounding so quickly makes all this traffic and busyness worth while. 

AZUSA: Bridge To Nowhere and Beyond Nowhere

My childhood friend Nick is in town right now. I had been trying to talk someone to go with me on a long hike out to Bridge to Nowhere.  Nick was up for it, so away we went to the bridge and beyond for another 2 or 3 miles following the San Gabriel River. On our way back through, we noticed what I have since began suspecting to have been mountain lion tracks in the mud at the same spot we had stopped to swim and cool off.

It's hard to believe that this abandoned bridge/road project from 1936 sits by itself 5 miles into the San Gabriel Mountains. Also hard to believe that you can hike here and pay to bungee jump off of it.

Nick decided to wear a hoodie on this 10 mile hike of direct sunlight. That's how much he loves his hoodie. We managed to turn this into a 16 mile hike by continuing to explore Beyond Nowhere and following the river. Here's Nick enjoying his hoodie after 6 miles or so. 

San Gabriel River water is incredibly clear and refreshing. I believe it is fresh Mountain Spring and snow runoff trickling it's way through the mountains. Coke bottle green and cold as can be. This trail follows the river the entire time leading you to strange rock formations, fools gold, and other rocks I can't explain. Seriously, what is this rock and how did it become so psychedelic? I need a geology book.

I saw this fella slithering by. This is a protected species in California. It's either a Alameda Striped Racer or a California Striped Racer. Not sure which one it is, but quite the elegant snake species.

This man was panning for gold near the trail head. About 7 miles in we came across a lot of vagabond gold hunters with eye patches and such. Strange to see them that far out into the mountains. I've heard there is an old mine cave, but we were unable to find it.

We lost the trail a few times and had to take some less than desirable cross overs to get back on the trail One of which involved an attack by a yucca plant.

Wrong turn. Scooting down the cliff. I found a brand  new cell phone at the bottle of this and managed to return it a few days later to it's owner. She was pretty happy about that.

On our way back through, I spotted these tracks and had first dismissed this as being someones dog. However, given the remote location of the footprints I thought I would go ahead and snap a photo in case otherwise. 

This was right in front of the spot we had previously been swimming/chilling out in.  When i got home, I broke out my Mammals Of California book and researched some tracks. Compared dog tracks on line to Mountain Lion and started thinking that maybe this wasn't a dog. The clearest track in this photo fits the profile of that of a cougar. If that is accurate, then that is pretty mind blowing. It begs the question as to if this thing was curious about us and came down after we left to check things out, or perhaps was just passing through before we circled back. Either way, I hope to someday see one of these elusive creatures on good terms. From what I have read they are next to impossible to spot with out a trail cam. Sneaky kitties. 

Wish that I had video of what this guy was doing in the canyon. I thought for sure  he was going to crash. 

Various spots along the river where water runs from the side walls, causing plants and algae to grow amongst the rocks.

In a little over 7 hours we finished this trek. Probably the prettiest and longest hike I have ever been on. Nick is working on moving back to LA and we will probably make our next Azusa trip an overnight stay.

Angeles Forest: Mountain Spillway Irrigation path

I pulled over on Angeles Crest and hiked down into a ravine. I found this tunnel that directs the rainwater and snow runnoff down to the base of the mountains and decided to see what is inside. I was hoping I wouldn't encounter a bear or homeless mountain man, but was too curious not to venture into this dark abyss. "Whada idiot!"

The tunnel went straight through the mountain to the other site. My phone adjusted far better to the light than my eyes. 

The spillway went straight down. I walked as far as I could until I would have just fallen off the edge. This is one of those times that the wide lens on the Iphone is not an accurate gauge of how steep this actually was. Obviously some jerks have been here tagging the place up.

When I came out, I noticed that this dry mountain side had a patch of green about a half a mile up the irrigation path. I decided to hike up the mountain side and look poke around for snakes. When I got to the top I was covered in bugs, which is fairly rare here and could tell there was water somewhere. Sure enough, I came upon a trickling little stream.

No luck finding any snakes, but I did happen on to this fella. A California Tree Frog hopped right in front of me. I did not expect to find a tree frog on this dry mountain side.

Opossum jaw?

Malibu Creek

Monica and I visited Malibu creek and we met some tadpoles. This place is beautiful and I do recommend going, but holy cannoli was this place crowded. I am in no hurry to come back here, but the volcanic rock formations were really cool and the best part was spotting a Southern Pacific Rattlesnake crossing our path as we were leaving. If you ever decide to go, go early.

That's all for now. Hoping to make it back to Azusa next weekend. Lumpy has been begging to go. 

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