Friday, June 27, 2014

Photo Essay: What I Missed in Will Rogers Park

I've had what I consider two failed attempts at visiting Will Rogers Park. The first was when I attempted to hike to Rustic Canyon from there, ended up on the Backbone Trail, got totally lost, and had to backtrack to my car. In retrospect, it was actually a good hike, but I didn't get to see what I set out to. Last week, I intended to hike all the way to Will Rogers from Temescal Gateway Park along the Rivas Trail, but I got tired and took a shortcut down Rivas Canyon Road instead of going all the way to Will Rogers.

Both incidents were hanging over me. I was becoming obsessed with finding out what I'd missed out on.

So I returned to Will Rogers on a cloudy day, specifically to scout both short trails to see exactly what I had not seen.



First, I headed to the Rustic Canyon Trail, which for some reason was very easy for me to find this time around.



You're supposed to be able to take this trail all the way to Murphy Ranch...



...but signs warn that it is unmaintained, undefined and unmarked, and full of mountain lions, ticks, rattlesnakes, poison oak, and swarms of bees – "one of the best hikes in Los Angeles."



I proceeded.



I encountered many fences and wooden catwalks and stairs, reminiscent of the secret stairways on the other side of Rustic Canyon...



...and lots of lizards, all of which seemed surprised to be disturbed by human visitors.



Although the trail bore footprints and horse hoof prints, I don't think many people make there way down here very often.



As promised, the trail led down into the canyon to a creek bed...



...where signs try to discourage hikers from going the wrong way...



...but soon the path becomes too overgrown and too wet (surprising in this drought)...



...suitable only for the most intrepid explorer, immune to poison oak. I turned around.



I headed across the park to its western boundary, to meet up with the Rivas Trail that leads to Temescal, back towards where I'd been just one week before.



I quickly realized...



...that I'd made the right decision last week...



...by cutting my hike short...



...because there wasn't much to see on this section...



...before I hit the housing development where I'd encountered some baffled work crews last week.



So I emerged onto the private Rivas Canyon Road, this time from the other side...



...walked down to Sunset and over to the Will Rogers access road...



...trying not to get hit by cars as I plodded up the shoulder, ducking under trees...



...and dodging a dead snake.



I still feel like I haven't really done Will Rogers Park – I've yet to play polo, ride a horse, or take a ranch house tour there.

Maybe next time I can at least do the Inspiration Point Loop Trail, which is probably the most common one that everybody else does.

Then again, I don't always try to see what everybody else sees.

Related Posts:
Photo Essay: No Scene Twice Seen, Through Rivas Canyon
Out and Back