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Tuesday, June 29, 2004

In the mountains…

Last Saturday, we took advantage of the monthly Adventure Pass Free Day to visit the Angeles National Forest and reconnoiter some of the campgrounds there for a future trip.

We haven’t been into the San Gabriel Mountains for along time, despite the fact that we volunteered at the Chilao Visitor Center for 8-9 years in the time before Joseph arrived.

Despite having been away for a long time, things were much as we remembered them. Although, I must say, despite the Adventure Pass program, which is supposed to fund maintenance and improvements, the forest still seem to be lacking care and attention.

The Chilao Visitor Center was closed on a Saturday, when many people would have liked to tour its displays. The only major sign for Buckhorn Campground was missing, causing us to spend almost 30 minutes driving back and forth trying to find the entrance. Campgrounds no longer have permanent camp hosts, who kept an eye over each campground loop and, as a probable result, bathrooms were un-maintained and contained no supplies.

Despite these issues, though, we had a good time. Returning from our campground check we stopped at Red Box Station, 14 miles north of La Cańada Flintridge at the base of the road to Mount Wilson. This is now a information center and museum (Haramokngna) dedicated to the Native Americans that once roamed the mountains. They have a series of events each month including flute players and hands-on crafts. You can call Valena Dismukes at 323-295-9133 or email Kat at catcalls@aol.com for more information. They don’t yet have a presence on the Web.

The next event is a Soapstone Carving Workshop with Ted Garcia on July 18, 2004.

“Ted is an artist, storyteller and Chumash cultural educator. You will learn how to see and feel the spirit of the stone, and using files, rasps, awls and sandpaper you will be able to make a one-of-a-kind creation from the natural world – bear, dolphin, turtle, or ??? Cost: $15 + materials”

They have events set for each month, so call or email for on-going information. I will try and post upcoming events in my WelchEvents Mailing list and here, as well.

After this we drove down to Switzer’s Picnic are for a short hike to the falls. While there was little water in the creek at this time of year, the canyon is beautiful and cool, even on a warm day. The presence of water, though, brings forth and abundance of poison oak, too. If you ever wanted a perfect example of poison oak to show your friends or children, this is the perfect place. Luckily, most of the poison oak is well clear of the path and avoidable, if you know how to identify it.

Click on any picture to see a gallery of photos from our walk.


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