Community Hiking Club schedule for January 2014:
Saturday, Jan. 11 – Quigley Canyon has 4 loops/trails. Total distance is about 6.0 miles. Gain of about 350 feet on one hill, with a tough, steep descent. Make sure you wear good boots. There are easy, moderate and steep areas on this hike, so there is something for everyone. We will be doing all 4 loops. Due to the steep uphill and downhill on one loop, poles are HIGHLY recommended. This will be the last loop that we do, so if you would like to avoid this hill, you can sign out just before we start this last portion. The scenery is lovely, and there is abundant wildlife. We will see the working ranches, an oil company, an intermittent stream, great views of Melody Ranch, and some very pretty vistas. This set of trails is very private and quiet. You will only see hikers and equestrians on this trail, with an occasional mountain biker.
Bring lots of water, snacks, and poles. Wear sunscreen, a hat, long pants as some of the trails are a little overgrown, and good boots. You might want to bring your camera to capture some of the interesting sights along the way.
Meet at the trail head at 8:00 for an 8:15 departure on the trail.
Directions to Quigley Cyn: Exit the I-5 freeway at Lyons and turn left if you’re coming from Valencia, and right it you’re coming from the San Fernando Valley. Take Lyons all the way to the end of the road. Turn Left on Railroad Avenue. Turn right on 13th Street. 13th Street will become Arch Street. Go straight on Placerita Road. Turn left on Quigley Canyon Road, and right onto Cleardale. Take Cleardale all the way to the end. This is where the trail head is. Park on the street. Please be courteous to the homeowners and the land surrounding their property.
Rated: Easy to Moderate ++ (due to the hills)
Sunday, Jan. 12 – Day hike in Red Rock Cyn State Park to Nightmare Gulch
Meet at the trailhead at 8:30am. This hike will be approx. 9 miles with gain/loss of approx 1,100ft mostly during the first half of the hike. We will climb up to top of the first of three separate ridges and follow along the top of each ridge for stunning views into Nightmare Gulch to the south, and the Sierra Nevada mtns in the north. After the 3rd ridge, we will descend to the eastern end of Nightmare Gulch, then walk through the Gulch to the west end.
We’ll then climb out of the Gulch area to complete the 9 mile loop to reach our cars. While beautiful rock formations will tower above you as you walk through the Gulch, partway through, we’ll take an additional short detour to see the amazing rock formations within the area known as the Magic City.
Bring lots of water, snacks and lunch. A jacket and layered clothing are recommended, and don’t forget your camera.
From Santa Clarita, allow at least 1 hr 30 mins to reach the trailhead. Follow Hwy 14 North to the Ricardo campground turnoff at Abbot Drive (apx 60 miles from Sand Cyn exit). Do not enter the campground. After you pass the turnoff, continue approximately ¾ mile further north on Hwy 14 to the small dirt parking lot on the east side of the highway. The hike will begin there at 8:30AM. If hikers would like to organize their own carpools from Towsley Cyn, they should meet at 6:45AM and plan to leave there prior to 7AM. Any hikers who would like to carpool with the leader, should FIRST confirm on the meet up page. You can then plan to meet the leader at the Denny’s parking lot off of the Sand Cyn Rd exit by 6:50AM for a 7AM departure.
Rating: Moderate ++ due to elevation gain and distance
Saturday, Jan. 18 – This is a two-for-one hike. Dianne will first lead you to the waterfall in Whitney Canyon. Along the way you are apt to see deer grazing near the beautiful stream. This first portion of the hike is 5 easy miles RT. It is an easy and delightful trail. This hike is great for the whole family. You can finish up the hike when you return to the parking area from this hike, or you can continue on to historic Elsmere Canyon where you can view some of the remnants of the late 1800’s oil industry in the SCV. This leg will add another 5 miles to your adventure, giving you a RT of 10 miles. There is virtually no gain on the Whitney hike, and about 500’ of gain on the Elsmere hike, which is all at the beginning. Bring lots of water, snacks if you’re only going on the Whitney Hike, and lunch if you’re going on the Elsmere hike. Wear shoes with good tread, and you will find that poles will be helpful on the steeper areas of Elsmere.
Meet at the trail head at 8:15 for an 8:30 departure down the trail.
Directions to trailhead: From Valencia, go south on I-5, then north on SR-14. Exit at Newhall Avenue, and take the first RIGHT on the offramp. Turn right. Park in the Park and Ride at the End of the street for free or park in the MRCA lot (to the left at the end of the Park and Ride) for $7.00. We will meet at the 2nd MRCA Green Gate at the end and to the far left of the Park and Ride. (This is the same meeting spot for Elsmere Canyon, but we are doing a different trail. Note: We are meeting and the SECOND green gate)
Leader: Angela Myers Rated: Easy (Whitney) Easy to Moderate (Whitney and Elsmere)
Rated: Easy for the first part, Moderate for the 2nd part
Sunday, Jan. 19 – Plight of the California Condor
The Community Hiking Club and the Placerita Nature Center Association present:
The Plight of California Condors
In the Classroom at Placerita Nature Center
These remarkable birds are the largest birds in North America.
They are native to California and are the subject of myths, songs, and real life stories. As the poster child of a successful captive breeding program, Condors are now flying free and wild again in the mountains of Southern California.
But their plight and fight for survival is far from over.
Condors have no natural enemies, and yet, they have become endangered, hitting a low of 10 individuals before they were captured and placed into monitored breeding facilities in Los Angeles, San Diego, Central and Northern California.
What caused the decline of the condors? Are they still considered critically endangered? Where are the condors in Santa Clarita? How BIG are they, really? What the HECK is Condor School??
Here’s your chance to ask all the questions!
Dianne Erskine, of The Community Hiking Club, will share the condor story and her passion for condors in this month’s Nature Series. This program is great for kids AND adults, so bring the whole family.
See you there! It’s fun, it’s free, and great for the whole family!
Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel is the E.D. of the Community Hiking Club and the President of the Santa Clara River Watershed Conservancy. She has worked with the condors for 8 years, preventing deaths from micro-trash and doing educational presentations for the community to try to keep the condors safe.
Directions: From Valencia, take the I-5 Freeway South to the SR-14 North. Exit at Placerita Canyon Road. Go approximately 2 miles to Placerita Natural Area. You will see a wooden sign and a driveway on the right side. Enter the drive and park close to the building. Meet in the classroom inside the building before 2:00 PM.
Saturday Jan. 25 – Pico Canyon
This is a great 8-mile round trip hike with about 800 ft of gain. The first 2 miles of the hike is on a paved road to California Star Oil #4 Oil well (later to become Standard Oil of California. This part of the route is a gentle, flat 2 miles. Once we see the ruins of California Star Oil #4, we will begin to climb the next 2 miles to the top. At the top will be a table where you can have lunch, snacks, and relax. The views are amazing at this point! On our return, we will take a different, more challenging but shorter trail back to see a mock- up of an oil well, an old bar and a dance and recreation area. From there, we will return to our vehicles.
Meet at the parking area in Mentryville at 8:00 AM, for a 8:15 departure.
Bring lots of water, snacks, camera and wear boots with lots of tread for the return hike where you will be making your way down a small waterfall. Wear a hat, sunscreen and definitely bring poles if you have them.
Directions: Take Lyons Avenue WEST. It will become Pico Canyon. Continue on Pico until it ends. It will end in the town of Mentryville. Go over the bridge and park close to the big pepper tree by the rest room, where Dianne will meet you. You must pay MRCA parking to park here of $5.00. If you wish to avoid this parking fee, you can park outside the green entry gate for free, and walk in, but allow an additional 40 minutes to walk in.