April 30, 2012

Photo Essay: Rubio Canyon, In the Wild

As much as I enjoy the solitude of the trail...

...more and more lately I've been taking guided hikes or joining MeetUp groups to explore areas that I'm not quite adventurous enough to tackle on my own.

All the hiking guides I'd read had warned me not to attempt Rubio Canyon - the original start of the Mt. Lowe Railway - on my own. I'd already taken one guided hike of the main trail, which didn't seem so bad, but I knew there were lots of other trails that dated back several decades, and other new trails being built.

On our guided hike on Saturday, we were walking in the wild, in parcels of land owned by the Arroyo Foothills Conservancy, in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, just outside the boundary of the Angeles National Forest, with some old barbed wire and fencing indicating property lines.

As we climbed up towards the power lines, I kept thinking, "There's no way I could've done this on my own," even though we weren't going that far or that high.

My ankles and shins are still scratched from tearing through the thickets and brush which, at most times, obscured the trail.

The trail was loosely marked by orange flags, periodically hung to indicate the general direction in which to head...

...but mostly, it was just a mass of green...

...until we started to head back down towards the debris basin and Camp Huntington, along an old dirt road...

...all the way down to the vestiges of the old boy scout camp, including a cabin built entirely out of telephone poles.

The hike was supposed to be an easy one, a mile in and out, but once we got there, our hike leader asked how much time we had and how much we wanted to do. And once you're there, once you've got a couple of hours to spare, it's hard not to just keep walking, and see everything there is to see, up and over the ridge.

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