So I managed to drag Trinity out to go hiking again. I think I’m able to do it at least once every couple of months, and that frequency is only achieved by the fact that these hikes are less than 5-10 minutes away from our home.
The day was beautiful. Clear, with a few errant, fluffy clouds, plus there was a breeze taking the edge off the sun. It was a perfect day to go for a walk/hike. We set out at about 3:15, and as the afternoon wore on, we saw a few joggers, bikers and, as the sun began to set, horseback riders.
I think we went about two miles up the Cheeseboro Canyon Trail, stopping and turning back at the Ranch Center Connector. Next time, we promised ourselves, we would be back to make it to Sulphur Springs with bikes. There is a really great network of trails in the area, ranging from .7 miles, to 4.6 miles and from easy to strenuous. Check out the map here. And, by the way, this was not the only cool tree that I found along the way – there are some amazing and beautiful oak trees to be seen here. It was hard to believe this area is still in Los Angeles County. To be honest, it doesn’t take long to lose the sound of the 101 Freeway, and it is an awesome thing to explore the wilderness in such an urban area. Check out more of my pictures here.
Oh, and besides the trees, there was plenty of wildlife, not the least of which was this relatively-healthy looking coyote who stood in the middle of our trail for at least a minute, looking at us. He took off when a biker whizzed by. Trinity and I had thought about turning back at this point – but decided to keep going. We heard plenty of squirrels and rabbits playing around in the grass, and avoided stepping on beetles, crickets and lizards along the way. We also saw some huge birds – according to the maps available at the trailhead parking lot, there are plenty of hawks and other birds with gargantuan wingspans. In fact, according to this, Cheeseboro has the largest number of nesting areas for birds of prey than any other area in the US outside Alaska.
Even with all that, that wasn’t the last of the wildlife we saw during our hike. After seeing the coyote, and passing through the area again, we heard what sounded like at least three coyotes howling and yipping. Since it sounded like they were echoing off the canyon, it sounded really freaky. I think it was probably at least one big coyote howling, and possibly two coyote puppies yipping.
And that’s not all. We were getting close to the end of our hike when a pair of horseback riders began to approach. At about the same time we sighted the horseback riders, a biker whizzed by on our left, then zagged to the right, around the horses. The guy horseback rider hollered at the biker, went after him and started screaming at him for not observing the rules of the trail, while his partner, a woman, stopped her horse and just waited. As we passed her, we greeted her, with Trinity asking her how she was doing, and she remarked, “Just out for a nice, peaceful horseback ride.” Trin and I continued walking, and as we approached the male horseback rider and the biker, they seemed to get louder, and I joked that Trinity might have to break up a fight. But it fortunately didn’t get that far, and the guy on the horse trotted back to his partner, grumbling that the biker could have spooked the horses and nearly ran two hikers (Trin and I) down.
Y’know, I appreciate the guy speaking up for us, and the biker was wrong for going so fast on the trail that has to be shared with people and horses, but dude. That’s the sort of thing lends itself to road rage on the freeway. Maybe its just an LA thing that I saw trail rage happen right before my eyes. If he really thought the horse got spooked by the biker, then why in the world would he make the horse go closer to it? Dang.
And as a totally unrelated query, is it just me, or are white people (beside Trinity and myself) the only ones who enjoy the Santa Monica Mountains and its trails? I find it curious that in such a diverse county, Trin and I were the only non-white people on the trails. Is that the case on every mountainous trail? This LAT article, preserved by Friends of Oceano Dunes, may provide some of the explanation.