Saturday, August 29, 2020

Switzer Falls Unfinished Hike

They say that experience is the best teacher.  We got lost  on the way to Switzer Falls.   I can now give some details after I do research after the hike. In every hiking, we always google first its difficulty or sometimes call for more updated info. Those details that I  gather usually slip off my almost overused memory before  I even get to the start. I shouldn't rely on GPS  as it is always a dead signal zone in the mountain, thus no maps to guide in the wilderness.   That's actually how I always do, outsmarting GPS and rely on my instinct.

We started our hike at 7am and  entered the burned area towards Bear Canyon. We already walked a few miles when we realized it wasn’t the trail to Switzer Falls and went back to the picnic area already exhausted and tired. We started again the trail, ascending and descending, scaling the edges of the cliff of the mountain, crossing the stream, snags and downed logs. We were almost like twenty minutes to reach the Falls but decided to go back as we were already tired.  

We saw a couple of snakes, lots of squirrels, different species of lizard, birds and skunk, well I didn’t see it but the smell gives a sign that there is. No bear surprised us, and we’re fortunate that no other wild animals showed up in the trail.  

Parking at Switzer Fall needs  an adventure pass. I have an annual pass, 'America The Beautiful Adventure Pass'  which I can use anywhere in the US (please check the website for more details) that I hang in my dashboard for all state parks we go in. Please check REI store and Big 5 Sporting Goods  stores for this pass. You can also get it from a gas station and other authorized sellers.  

I am uploading videos in one account for easy posting as I can’t keep up blogging anymore. Probably will vlog instead and revive my old Youtube account. Because, why not?  

My two daughters joined me on this hike. Made an intense trekking, rock climbing.
Made 16,345 steps / 7miles.  

We never reached the falls but we will be back anytime in unscheduled day this season.  

 How to get to Switzer Falls Trail will be in my next hiking adventure part two. Just hoover at my sidebar and click Switzer Falls  if this post buried in my archive.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Hollywood Dream, It's The Climb!

To hike in Hollywood sign is not on our list and this is just a random hike which we only made a call to check if they're open.   Looking from the hikers' website, there is an easy, moderate, and difficult trail.  All of which start at Griffith Park so when we saw the sign to Hollywood Trail, we proceeded the first mile of inclined steps. At 5:30am there were already lots of joggers and hikers.  After a mile of walking,  we figured we had the wrong path and couldn't find the  Brush Canyon that we're supposed to start.  Luckily we met a local and pointed us to the direction leading to the Hollywood sign. We then continue with our walk instead of going back to the starting point.  We just went forward connecting different trails, ended in a dirt narrow path with although short but challenging ascent,  some little rocks and nothing to hold descending and ascending from Hollywood Mountain to Mount Lee. 

There are some parts that are really narrow.   Bunnies, stinky beetle, and birds of different species kept us company.  We were very careful of rattlesnakes because all trails in California are their ground.  Luckily,  nothing showed up.   If mountain lion had only one reported attack in a hundred years,    300 rattlesnake bites are reported in California each year. 

I managed to take a short video from my cellphone and put it in my backpack. I know, I know.  Well,  I'm trained to walk inclined steps when I was a kid  even carrying heavier stuff than my weight.   

Seeing the communication tower at  Mount Lee where the Hollywood sign is,  kept us moving and we're pretty sure we're going the right way. 

Finally, above the Hollywood sign after a walk roasting under the scorching heat of the sun and my almost sunkissed skin, well sunburned if I was not fully covered of my SPF protected shirts. 

Taking a little break figuring the adventure we had.  It was totally exhausting but lots of fun. I swear it won't be as rewarding if you take a hitch ride or a shuttle bus up there. 

Taking more pictures at a 45-foot-tall aluminum letters reading  DOOWYLLOH  from behind the  HOLLYWOOD sign for I don"t know when I'll be coming back again, maybe some easy or more difficult trail if not a challenging one. 

Going back to Griffith Park, we figured we take another route but we ended in the wrong path again and found ourselves in front of Hollywood sign which added again another mile of inclined steps. It took us like 7 hours as we started 5:30am and back at 12noon with lots of rest and stops. 

Trails going back lead us to Mulholland Fire Road which is almost paved road and wider.  There's more hikers,  horseback rider and cyclist. My daughter joined us in this hike which I never doubted of her strength.  She's an athlete. 

Hollywood Sign rank from easy to difficult:  The Mount Hollywood Trail, the Brush Canyon Trail, Cahuenga Peak Trail, and there's more to discover.  The trail that we took is not in the above list as we just connected the trails from Mt. Hollywood to  Mt. Lee where Hollywood sign is. We reached Mt. Lee summit,  1,708-foot, above and behind the sign.   It normally takes 3 hours or more for a 6.4-mile hike if we headed the Brush Canyon Trail.  Checking my trail stats app,  it took us  9.2 miles and made  22,164 steps.  Not bad for my goal for the day.

Overall it was an awesome experience with a  little adventure.  Now we already knew where these trails are connected to, well a little bit. It's good to get lost sometimes and it's rewarding when you finally reached the peak. Truly the rewards pay off after the hardest climb, this time I made it to Holywood,  so very close to my Hollywood dream, literally,  I could even touch it,  only if there is no fence around it.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Hitting the Trail at 5am

First, this blog is now taking a different theme which makes me realize how this evolves from one  Stay at Home Mom  to  Hitting the Trail err  Survival of the Fittest.   Half kidding!

I never thought in my whole life I'd do hiking as I did today.   My hiking buddy,  K,  is a hiking enthusiast. It runs in her blood.  Her mom and dad have already been to the highest point of mountains in California.  While I on the other hand only had a few hikes when I was a kid, helping my parents going on a hilly farm for a living. Does it even count as hiking?  I could honestly say,  this is not new to me that helped and trained me and  built my endurance.  Waking up at 3am is not something I would do just for a hike but this is a complete turn of events,  one for a  reason,   my body is starting to feel like breaking down. 

At 4am we headed the canyon trail but unfortunately it was closed so we headed another trail and wasted no time.  We started at 5am while the sun was still hiding and needed a flashlight to illuminate the trail. 

We started at 5am and barely see the trail.  Honestly, I'm scared or mountain lions that I sometimes see in the news crossing the freeways down San Gabriel.  But having the rate of only one attack in hundred years made me feel a little safe.  


Too old to hike?   Hiking doesn't require age. It's never too late for everything.   But first, I wanna feel good about myself and hiking releases endorphins.  This pandemic is making me depressed at times.  Plus of course, my body needs some physical workout. 

We are just having a COVID getaway.  K, on the other hand, needs to get away from the office stress.  Seriously,  we have the same goal.  To get fresh air,  physical workout  and be one with nature. 
See this beauty and it's all worth it.  The picture doesn't even justify the scenic view.  And look how pretty are these cacti that stand the test of time and extreme weather conditions.  I truly admire how these plants survive the intense conditions.  

Simply Breathtaking!

Capturing these flowers that stood out from the rest, surviving drought and storm despite the fact they have roots and couldn't move.  Isn't that amazing!   

Cool temperature a little above 60 degrees F and back at 74 degrees made our hiking a little easier which is really ideal for outdoor adventure. This is why I love California. We have the perfect weather.

Tired sole.
 Elevation gain: 1,503 feet 
16,465 steps 
7.4 mi 

 I survived! 

Monday, August 3, 2020

mobile blogging test

I’m blogging mobile.  This is Blogger’s new interface that  I just tried today, just a test blog on how I can do it direct from my cellphone. I am used to do it in my laptop before where uploading pictures and previewing is easier.  My tool is  limited, so bear with me.

This is just a random pictures from the other day when we went to a park for a picnic.  Nothings really on it.  If this microblogging becomes my thing,  then you get the raw unedited pictures and post.  

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Hike to Famous Mt. Lowe Railway

I'll make this blog as short  as I can and just have my  pictures tell the story.  But first,  this blog has been idly sitting for  many years.  Sidebar links are even broken. My apologies for  not updating at all and fixing codes.  I know it's an eyesore in my website.   I often say I wanna go back blogging but I don't really know  where to start again.  I should pick up where I left off  but then  I always ended up in My  Story or  IG.  The historical place where we went to prompted me get this indexed in  Google  and not a 24-hour post. 

I never hike since  our Utah adventure some four years ago  which we never really reached the point  for reasons I disclosed.    When my friend K suggested that we go  hiking,  I doubted myself if I can do it.  The yoga for a beginner which   Joy sent  me helped  a lot. 

At 7 in the morning, we hit the trail of Mt. Echo  which is part of Angeles National Forest.  It's a 2.5-mile all the way up which makes 5-miles round trip hike.  It's a steep trail for a beginner like me.  The inclined  steps  made us  a lot of stops to catch our breath. It took us more than two hours which is normally  30 mins less for  advanced hikers.  We let others passed behind us for how many  I can't count.  Well, it's not an amazing race anyway.

I should say I. am proud here hitting a 1-mile  hike.  I only planned for an hour  or until as far as I can.  Yes!   It's not even half way.  I'm not gonna give up. 

That's one-mile point.  :) 

Scariest part of the   trail.  One wrong step and you'll see yourself sliding downhill.  

See the view of LA from 1-mile hiking.

How proud!  That's a 2-mile mark!  

Slowing the pace to conserve energy.  

This is the end of trail, at least where we went to at Mt. Lowe.  There's still an Inspiration Point if you hike  and you're  up  for more  for 7.25 miles. 

A reminder to put sunblock before you go hiking.  It was like 85 degrees and there's a heatwave  in LA weather update.  It's the peak of summer!

Don't forget the sunblock.

Should I put a caption?  I'm that far!  Well,  social distancing from my photographer.  Thank you  K for those pictures I am not aware of.   We put mask in this hike as this happened  during covid  season for protection of other  hikers and dust. 

Reaching the top is like hitting two  birds in one stone. I should say three, four.  Well, countless.  Physical benefit is just a bonus. Of course, a  cardio workout,burning calories and more. Seeing the ruins of the hotel built in 1800ish and  the whole view of LA are truly a reward.   I content myself just reading  the history  written in the  inscription.  I know I can Google!   But whenever I see such, I always take a picture for my later reading.   I'm an old school.  Those  are not  there for no reason at all.  So yes, I read it!

See  the railway relics?  That's the mode of transportation
getting to the now-only-remnants of the Hotel to flatlands of Altadena. 

Remnants of  old Hotel

I could just picture the Hotel 1800 in my mind and see people who came here for entertainment in  casino and tennis courts. I wish I live in that era. 


Let me transcribe here a bit:  This is the view you have as you approach the white city from Alpine Tavern (circa 1898)

Reminders for hikers as posted above:  No campfires, no charcoal/grills, No Garbage Service so please pack it out!

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