[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Partly sunny
Partly sunny
73°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
September 21
1974 - COC's new Cougar Stadium opens for first game of football season; Harbor beats COC, 26-21 [story]


Take a Hike | Commentary by Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel
| Sunday, Sep 18, 2016
teepee

DianneErskineHellrigelMy parents instilled a love of nature in me from Day 1. We spent as much time as possible in the forests of California – camping, hiking, skiing, fishing, and at night we spent hours staring at the millions of stars above us. The forest was our second home, in a way. For a child like me, there was nothing that could compare to the amazing, continual sights, sounds and smells that the forest can offer. It’s just one eye-opening experience after another.

We would picnic on the Sam Merrill Trail every weekend, staring out over the vast expanse of the forest. The tall trees and gorgeous chaparral seemed endless. My grandparents before me would take the train up Mt. Lowe to the hotel for a weekend getaway. My grandfather would play cards and drink sarsaparilla. Grandma would do her best to try to be a lady of leisure for a couple of days as she gossiped with her girlfriends. My family has a lot of wonderful memories of the Angeles National Forest.

The most outstanding visit was my very first visit to the forest. My dad and mom took me to a then-primitive campground that my dad’s friends used as a base camp when they hunted. I was just an itty-bitty kid, so I don’t know the name of the camp, but I think it must have been Buckhorn Campground, which is now a beautiful, well-established camp on Highway 2, thirty-four miles north of La Canada. It was originally a hunter’s camp and was so named because of an enormous pair of antlers that someone nailed to a tree. The antlers are long gone, but the memory remains.

deh091816iBuckhorn Campground has been improved since the old, primitive days, and it offers large sites that will accommodate multiple tents. Most sites have large apron driveways for a camper, trailer or multiple cars. All sites have a fire ring with a picnic table and a barbecue grill. (Check with the ANF Ranger offices about weather conditions, fire permits and if campfires are currently allowed.) Potable water is available throughout the campground. There are also vault toilets throughout. You cannot make reservations there, so all sites are on a first-come, first-served basis. It is recommended that you get there early if you’re camping during the summer or on weekends.

I visit Buckhorn as often as possible. I go there with the memories of my mother and father and the fun we would have hiking or swimming in the natural pools by the little waterfall and being amazed at the power of Mother Nature at the bigger waterfall, especially in the spring. It’s a way I can be close to my parents, who are both gone, while enjoying being is such a gorgeous place now. It’s a tradition.

deh091816cI just visited Buckhorn this month and brought 50 of my hiking buddies with me. It was their first adventure at Buckhorn but definitely not their last. I have the luxury of a huge teepee as my forest tent, and I’m equipped with lots of wonderful accoutrements that my parents didn’t have.

“Glamping” makes entertaining my friends so much fun. One afternoon we enjoyed a charcuterie party in my tent and breakfast every day in our separate dining tent. My friends can’t wait to go back to beautiful Buckhorn again.

There are many incredible hikes in and around Buckhorn. If you’re a hiker, you pretty much have a week’s worth of hikes right there. Hikes I’ve done from Buckhorn are:

deh091816d* Buckhorn to Mt. Waterman

* Buckhorn Campground to Cooper Canyon Trail Camp to Cloudburst Summit to Buckhorn

* Buckhorn Peak

* Buckhorn Campground to Little Rock Creek

* Buckhorn Campground to Devil’s Punchbowl

* Buckhorn Campground to Burkhart Saddle

* Buckhorn Campground to Buckhorn Falls

* Buckhorn Spring

* Buckhorn Campground to Mt. Waterman to Three Points

* Buckhorn to Pleasant View Ridge (and on to Devil’s Chair and/or the South Fork Campground)

* Buckhorn to the High Desert National Recreation Trail to multiple destinations

deh091816fThe Pacific Crest Trail runs through Cooper Canyon, so you can go north or south and hit all kinds of wonderful spots from there. If you have a lot of time, you can even travel to Mexico or Canada directly on the Pacific Crest Trail. Now, wouldn’t that make a good story to tell your friends?

If you are lucky enough to spend time in Buckhorn, you might also want to try your luck fishing in Little Rock Creek. There are beautiful, nice-sized, wild rainbow trout in there. But don’t tell anyone.

In winter, the access gates on Highway 2 are usually closed due to snow. But you can still park the car near Mt. Waterman or a little below the closed gate and snowshoe in to Buckhorn. Snowshoeing the trails in winter is extra special. Mt. Waterman also has ski lifts that operate periodically.

According to experts, campsites 7, 8, 15, 18, 22, 23 and 27 are the best. My personal favorite is 18, but I could be happy at any of the sites. They are all beautiful, and each has something special to offer.

The typical season begins in April or May and usually extends through October. Check with any of the ANF ranger stations on weather and gate closures. If you visit, please remember to clean your campsite thoroughly before you leave. The next guest will appreciate that.

deh091816eIf you’re a birder, you can find a never-ending supply of birds to watch and photograph. In spring the wildflowers are abundant, and the Burkhart trail is one of the only areas I know where the gorgeous, wild, endangered lemon lily grows. May is the usual blooming time, but this will depend on the weather each season.

You can also bike nearby, although Buckhorn is surrounded by the Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness and the San Gabriel Wilderness, so no mountain biking is allowed on those trails.

Wildlife is abundant, and you are likely to see deer, a bear, badgers, squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons, opossums and lots of birds. The area around Buckhorn is heavily forested with Jeffrey pines and incense cedar. Both trees are highly aromatic and beautiful. This is what I remember most about the camp as a child – those amazing, huge trees. The bark of the Jeffrey pine smells like vanilla. It was the original “scratch ‘n sniff” toy for kids. And the bark of incense cedar trees look like redwoods. To a kid, they are just as big.

deh091816gThe forest is a “healthy candy store” for kids. Every rock, every lizard, every tree and cloud are new and wonderful experiences. If you have children, take them into the forest. And the new San Gabriel National Monument is the best of the forest to visit. President Obama made this proclamation Oct. 10, 2014. It is truly the gem of Los Angeles County.

The forest has taught me to love and respect nature. There is nowhere I’d rather be than among the trees and animals, breathing in the clean, fresh air, being close to a stream or waterfall, and admiring my serene surroundings. The forest brings me back to center when I need it most. It nourishes my soul. The forest and the National Monument are secrets that too few hold dear. This is why I lobby to protect the forest in wilderness, conservation areas and wild and scenic rivers. I want them to be available for future generations, just as pristine in the future as they were for me as a child.

If you haven’t been to Buckhorn, you absolutely must visit. It is but one of the many treasures to see in the San Gabriel National Monument.

Perhaps you can start some family traditions of your own and begin to collect some beautiful memories. Buckhorn is definitely a good place to start. Maybe I’ll see you there.

 

Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel is executive director of the Community Hiking Club and president of the Santa Clara River Watershed Conservancy. Contact Dianne through communityhikingclub.org or at zuliebear@aol.com.

 

deh091816adeh091816j

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Thursday, Sep 21, 2017
Hans' family did not know too much about his childhood or the country he had grown up in. About all the family knew was that Hans and his wife were born in Germany but had lived in this small Minnesota town for the last 60 years or more.
Thursday, Sep 21, 2017
There is a common insect that most people are not aware of because you never see it. It is mostly active underground. However, if you know what you are looking for, its traps are in many places and are very obvious.
Saturday, Sep 16, 2017
While not perfect, SB 54 kept intact our ability to maintain partnerships with federal law enforcement officials who help us in the fight against gangs, drugs and human trafficking. It also retains the controlled access that the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement has to our jails.
Thursday, Sep 7, 2017
Local residents have the right to record things their congressional leaders and legislative staff members say to residents of the 25th District and any of Rep. Knight's town hall meetings and legislative decisions.
Tuesday, Sep 5, 2017
Speaking with one of our Santa Clarita sheriff’s deputies recently, he was telling me about the hardest part of his job.
Friday, Sep 1, 2017
Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth invites residents to join him for the Santa Clara River Rally cleanup on Saturday, September 23.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
The city of Santa Clarita is inviting our younger residents to take part in the 30th anniversary celebration.
City Launches, “30 Things for 30 Years” Contest, Students Invited to Take Part
California State University, Northridge’s Friends of the Oviatt Library welcomes members of the community to nominate their favorite stories about the San Fernando Valley for consideration of the San Fernando Valley Award for Non-Fiction.
CSUN Library Group Invites Community to Nominate Favorite San Fernando Valley Story
The Los Angeles Dodgers today announced sellouts for all seven potential postseason home games in the Division Series and League Championship Series just hours after tickets went on sale to the public at 10:00 a.m. It’s believed to be the quickest that the club has sold out of postseason tickets in Dodger Stadium history.
Dodgers NLDS, NLCS Tickets Already Sold Out
Sales of existing single-family homes increased 7.4 percent throughout Santa Clarita during August while the median price of homes that changed owners rose 6.6 percent, the Southland Regional Association of REALTORS® reported today.
Increase in SCV August Home Sales, Prices
Mountainview Elementary School parents were greeted with a voicemail Thursday morning informing them of a break-in on campus believed to have occurred the night before.
Break-In at Mountainview Elementary, Thousands of Dollars in Damage
Hans' family did not know too much about his childhood or the country he had grown up in. About all the family knew was that Hans and his wife were born in Germany but had lived in this small Minnesota town for the last 60 years or more.
Lesson from History | Commentary by John Windsor
A gang sweep targeting Newhall 13, a well known Santa Clarita criminal organization, netted three arrests Thursday.
Three Arrests Made in Newhall 13 Gang Sweep
Autumn Gratitude, Santa Clarita Artists Association's new show will be open on Sept 28th and run to November 4th, with a free artists’ reception on Friday October 6th, 5 to 9 pm.
SCAA’s Newest Show, “Autumn Gratitude,” Opens
September is for seniors. Businesses around Santa Clarita are taking part in the following SCV Senior Center New Building Campaign events and asking the community to show support.
SCV Businesses Holding End-of-Month Events to Support New Senior Center
The College of the Canyons Athletics department is inviting all staff and students associated with a Santa Clarita Valley school district or campus to attend Saturday's Cougar football game free of charge.
Sept. 23: COC Football Game Free to SCV School District Staff, Students
There is a common insect that most people are not aware of because you never see it. It is mostly active underground. However, if you know what you are looking for, its traps are in many places and are very obvious.
You Won’t See Them | Commentary by Evelyne Vandersande
1974 - COC's new Cougar Stadium opens for first game of football season; Harbor beats COC, 26-21 [story]
A “fabulist” coming-of-age novel about a queer mixed-race boy in the bayous of Louisiana, written by California State University, Northridge English professor Martin Pousson, has won the 2017 PEN Center USA Fiction Award.
CSUN’s Martin Pousson Wins PEN’s Literary Award for Fiction
Public notification that the Santa Clarita Community College District (College of the Canyons) Early Childhood Education Center on the Valencia campus is participating in the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program.
COC Valencia Participates in USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program
Public notification that the Santa Clarita Community College District (College of the Canyons) Early Childhood Education Centers are participating in the United States Department of Agriculture’s Child and Adult Care Food Program.
COC Canyon Country Participates in USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program
The Santa Clarita Valley Service Center has moved from its previous location in Newhall to a new location in the Santa Clarita Plaza, and will host a grand opening celebration Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sept. 21: SCV Service Center Grand Opening, Resource Fair
The Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Urban Search and Rescue Team, known internationally as USA-2, has been deployed to Mexico to assist with the aftermath of a 7.1 magnitude earthquake near Mexico City.
L.A. County Fire Sends Search and Rescue Team to Mexico
The city of Santa Clarita invites nonprofit organizations interested in learning more about the city's 2018 Community Services and Arts Grants Program to a meeting on Wednesday, September 27 at 12 p.m.
Sept. 27: Info Session for Nonprofits Seeking City Grants
The Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation has published an ebook free to entrepreneurs titled '10 Characteristics of a Successful Startup.'
SCVEDC’s 10 Characteristics of a Successful Startup
A Lebec woman charged with murder and kidnapping the children of her half-sister was sentenced 13 years in state prison on Tuesday.
Murder, Kidnapping Suspect Pleads Guilty, Gets 13-Year Sentence
Crime Prevention Unit deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station conducted probation searches in several locations Wednesday, and arrested two people for outstanding warrants.
SCV Deputies Arrest 2 in Neenach Probation Search
Deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station wrote 48 citations during Tuesday's bicycle and pedestrian safety operation in Newhall.
SCV Deputies Write 48 Citations in Bike-Pedestrian Operation
California Governor Jerry Brown has until October 15 to sign bills passed at the end of the just-concluded legislative session, including measures authored by Assemblyman Dante Acosta (R-Santa Clarita).
Brown Signs Acosta Motorcycle License Law; Other Bills Await Action
Santa Clarita-based Princess Cruises has presented its first donation from the Princess Animal Welfare Sponsor to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in the amount of $25,000.
Princess Cruises Donates $25K to Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
Habitat for Humanity San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valleys has become one with its sister organization Homes 4 Families, and the new organization continues its mission to build affordable housing for veterans.
Habitat SFV-SCV Changes Name to Homes 4 Families
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced today that Patricia Espinosa, Michael Bloomberg and Anand Mahindra will co-chair the Global Climate Action Summit from September 12-14, 2018 in San Francisco.
Brown Names Co-Chairs of 2018 California Global Climate Action Summit
The Master’s University men’s golf team finished tied for sixth out of 12 teams overall with a 3-over 579 at the CA State Intercollegiate in Ventura Monday.
Master’s Men’s Golfers Middle at Cal State Intercollegiate Match
After dropping the night’s opening set, the Master’s volleyball team slammed down the pedal and refused to let up, beating the University of Antelope Valley 3-1 Tuesday night.
TMU Volleyball Team Sends UAV Pioneers Packing
California’s largest irrigation district on Tuesday rejected funding a contentious $17-billion water project that would replumb the West Coast’s largest estuary.
Major Water District Throws Wrench Into California’s Water Tunnels Plan
California State University, Northridge’s College of Engineering and Computer Science and the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics will co-host the fifth annual Art of Innovation Conference on Friday, Oct. 13 from 8:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Oct. 13: CSUN ‘Art of Innovation’ Conference Peers Into Future
Tickets are now on sale for James Hand with the Carolyn Sills Combo on Saturday, September 30 and INCENDIO in Concert! on Saturday, October 7, both groups appearing at The MAIN in Old Town Newhall.
Tickets on Sale for Upcoming Shows at The Main
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today filed suit against the Trump Administration over its plan to begin construction of border wall projects in San Diego and Imperial Counties.
California AG Sues Feds Over Proposed Border Wall
State schools chief Tom Torlakson, AG Xavier Becerra and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg will lead a 'Beyond Safe Havens' panel discussion on Friday on how to help students and parents fearful about federal immigration policies.
Sept. 22: ‘Beyond Safe Havens’ Conference on Schools and Immigration
1954 - C-46 cargo plane crashes at Saugus Drunk Farm; Civil Air Patrol chaplains parachute to safety [story]
On the heels of releasing its draft environmental impact report (EIR) for the Lyons Avenue and Dockweiler Drive extension, the city of Santa Clarita is setting its sights on an alternative that would leave Lyons Avenue alone and filter traffic to Railroad Avenue via 13th Street.
City Eyeing Alternative to Lyons Extension