A couple of months ago, when we first landed in Pasadena, California, I began my days with neighborhood walks, but lately, now that the weather has cooled off, I’ve begun hiking in Eaton Canyon instead. Located just a mile from where we live, the park is a “190-acre zoological, botanical, and geological nature preserve” at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains.
And though just twenty minutes from downtown Los Angeles, hikes in the canyon are a quiet escape. My walks are punctuated by the crunch of gravel as my shoes and those of others move across the trails, the rustle of dry branches as squirrels and deer hide from humans, and the whistle of bluejays, thrushes and other birds I don’t recognize. I hike alone, but some walk in teams, and languages such as Armenian, Chinese, Spanish are part of the ambient sound. Sometimes, all other noises are drowned by the hum of a helicopter that we never see.
Often instead of taking the uphill hike, I choose a two-mile trail to Eaton Waterfall, a shady hike along a path where a stream once flowed, and one that ends at a shallow pond that’s shadowed by rocks and a “waterfall.” The cleft in the rocks and the rug of green moss indicate how strong the water surge once was, but now, with California’s drought in its third year, there is only a soft trickle of water.
Today, when I return to the main trail, I start a chat with a hiker, also a writer and mother, who informs me that she was unable to park her car where she usually does because the street entrance was closed. “There was a sign informing people that a man was attacked by a bear,” she tells me.
12 Oct 2016 03:40:10 PM