Friday, March 29, 2013

Photo Essay: Up the Creek at Caballero Canyon

Caballero Canyon seems like one of those parks that only locals use. Situated across the street from a country club, the trailhead can be found right off of Reseda Boulevard, one of the Valley's main thoroughfares.



Of course, I drove an hour to get there. I heard there were wildflowers.



It also seems like it's going to be a straight shot up a giant hill, but when I got there, I realized there were a couple of choices of ways to go. Instead of rereading my hiking guidebook, I followed the crowd.



I realized later that while the actual trail follows and sometimes crosses a creek which often has water running in it (making the adjacent trail muddy), we were walking straight up the creek.



The proximity to water - though the creek was dry - explains the proliferation of wildflowers...



...even at the lower elevations.





They became more bountiful as I hiked farther up.







But boy, is that creek hard to hike up.



It's shady enough, and at times, it levels out...



...giving you a breather to enjoy the flowers...



...and then it kicks back up again, more vertical and rugged than ever.



There are huge, winding ruts carved into the earth...



...forcing you to decide whether to hike alongside them...



...or right inside them.



It's an uneven, ankle-twisting hike, with not a lot of branches to hold onto for support.



The wildflowers are just starting to bloom.



Up at the top, the creek reaches Old Dirt Mulholland Highway...



...this stretch of which is closed to motorized traffic.



Somewhere up there, there's supposed to be a turnoff for a fire road that leads back to Reseda...



...but as I wandered back and forth...



...all I could find was the trail I suspected I should have climbed up (instead of the creek).



So, making a loop out of it, I went back down what I thought would be an easier way...



...past the Encino Reservoir...



...and a big boulder.



I wasn't sure exactly where I was going, but I could keep Reseda Boulevard in view...



...past more flowers...



...until I made a steep descent along the chainlinked eastern boundary of the park...



...down into a grassy meadow.



I think that was the trail I was supposed to take up to the top, but then I realized it probably didn't matter, as long as I got to the top, and made it back down in one piece.

The trail was so gravelly and slippery, I was lucky to have fallen only once.

And although it may have been a short hike in terms of distance and duration, it was surely an accomplishment, and a sight to be seen.

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