Nice find along the trail this morning. Wouldn’t have noticed it if a lizard hadn’t run into the clump of grass that had grown up through this.

Luckier for me than the horse that threw it near the top of Hydra’s mountain.

Where I’m Writing From



Took a hike this morning with a plan to sit somewhere along the way and write.  As it turned out I waited till I was nearly back to our place before selecting a little juniper grove with some long shadows in which to pause.  It was about 8 a.m. when I stopped here, after about 40 minutes of wandering around the fire roads.

Hyrda was up on the peaks at the same time.  I’m still babying my knee a bit.


The view from where I lay.

This juniper was undoubtedly stripped during the fire that we evacuated for a few years ago.  The ones whose shade I enjoyed are probably decades old.

It wasn’t necessarily a very productive writing session, but it was an interesting little writing date with myself.   I like to write in strange spaces some times, like museums or grave yards.  It’s distracting, but maybe in a good sense.  It’s good to just be somewhere and react to it.

I have a bit of a jones for new experiences.  While I love some aspects of hiking the same trails around our house for years, like seeing changes as the seasons progress, there is nothing like a new road or a new trail for pulling me along.  The need to see around the next bend becomes an imperative.  It draws me forward.  My ideal hike is a loop or a long trail with a ride waiting at the end so I don’t have to backtrack…though the view is often markedly different on the return along a mountain trail.

Going off the fire road up to this little grove gave me a different perspective for a while and made me feel I was much further from home than a few hundred feet!  It’s good to change things up.




All This and the San Andreas Fault


Hydra–perhaps inspired by our viewing of Iron Man 3 earlier in the day–keeps a boulder at bay, Big Rock Creek, CA.


Good thing he had his hero on.  Moments after this shot, I found myself straddling this gap and in need of a tug.  I thought he said he stepped from one boulder to the other when in fact he leapt in a spritely fashion.  Too much nice camera equipment hung in the balance for me to risk a tumble.  He came back and helped, yay!


Pretty sure that this is an antlion pit.  The antlion is waiting down at the bottom of the cone.


Dragonfly, of course.


Larger dragonfly.


Larger dragonfly about to land!


Pretty little flowers.DSC_0163 spider 2

When I started zooming in and cropping, I discovered that the pretty little flowers were covered in spider webs.  With spiders actually working  in them. In fact, most of the shots included a LOT of bugs we weren’t even aware of.


Why we came up here in the first place.  Nice to be around water.


As promised, the San Andreas Fault!  I’m almost pointing at the notch behind me, which mark the path of the famous fault and continental plate boundary.  Hydra and I might be on different continental plates as he takes this.  Or, honestly, we’re both probably in the crush zone and would be in a lot of trouble if this thing let loose.

Whoot!  Another death-defying feat under our belts on a sunny afternoon.

Cold Weather Hike in Pico Canyon


Into the woods!  Hyrda and I hiked this lovely offshoot of the basic Pico Canyon Park trail that Kitty and I discovered on a drizzly day in late 2011. (Click here for that slideshow.)  It was cold and cloudy when we started out.


We saw deer tracks in the damp trail.  Also these, which I think are probably canine, after checking the difference online.


We weren’t sure whether the trail actually ended or if it continued steeply down or up from this point, but it was far too slick for us to continue.  Looks like a nice spot for a picnic.  But how the heck did they get the table out here!


Hydra, about to recross the charming two piece bridge.


The several kinds of moss on this boulder reminded me of home in rural Northern Indiana. Lots of moss in those old woods back home.


We stumbled onto Johnson Park, which we weren’t aware of before.  Apparently, it was used by oil workers from the well that operated from 1930-1990 and was one of the longest running oil wells in the country.  It actually looks like a great place for a Songmaker picnic if we could drive up the road to the site with all our instruments.

There’s a great write up of the hiking in Pico Canyon at Nobody Hikes in L.A. which you might want to check out.


Hydra checking out the oil rig which we learned from Stan Walker’s amazing page on Johnson Park was built from authentic parts.

I’m looking forward to discovering more historic sites and hikes from Walker’s amazing site about the canyons and mining history of the greater Santa Clarita area.

[Apologies to my fabulous followers and subscribers…something very strange was happening with my WordPress account today.  I lost big chunks of this post, and when I edited it, it behaved as though I hadn’t posted it before.]

Signs Along the Way




On the way home from running errands, I asked Hydra to drop me off about a mile from home, and I took the trail home.







Found this sign about 50 feet from the road.  I don’t think they’ll have any trouble enforcing this.







A buried real estate sign along the path.  From the days when the area code was still 805, more than 12 years ago.  A local who didn’t want to see the land developed may have, erm, moved this.

Critters on the Pacific Crest Trail

We hiked a tiny portion of the Pacific Crest Trail for about 75 minutes today.  Met a guy on the trail who was at the end of a 50-mile segment.  He’d started at Buckhorn Camp.

A new view of the rocks in the distance for us.  Parking lot we used is at the bottom right.  The green belt is the Santa Clara River bed, with a Metrolink and freight train track just above it.  Taken from the end of the trail visible in the first photo.

Tiny baby rattlesnake.  It was coiled a few seconds before this shot.  Then it took off quickly for the brush.  Perfect encounter.

Ant with a big stick.  He was really hauling this thing around.