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Found on internet: Etiwanda Canyon Day Hike

East Etiwanda canyon explore, Published by Justin Williams
On Wednesday (12/23) I returned to the Etiwanda Preserve with the intention to push my way further up the canyon to the Big Tree Truck Trail/1N34. It also goes by the names Cucamonga Truck Trail, and San Sevaine Road and follows the crest of the mountain from Lytle Creek Rd. I have followed this truck trail on foot several times and it covers 11 miles to a campground, Joe Elliot Tree Memorial. From here you can hook up with a trail that ascends the face of Etiwanda and Cucamonga Peak. My journey to Valyermo (the word being a contraction of the Spanish words ‘valle’ and ‘yermo’) is contingent on finding the best path from Etiwanda to the Big Tree Truck Trail. Once I make it to Cucamonga Peak the rest of the trails are well established and frequently traveled, with the exception perhaps of the less traveled High Desert National Recreational Trail, which is composed of the Burhhart Trail, Devil's Punchbowl Trail, and Manzanita Trail.

I prefer the canyon to the Etiwanda Crest Trail (which also is sketchy at times) because there is a lot of water and shade in the canyon. The drawback is that there are a lot of obstacles in the way for both. The canyon is densely overgrown with trees, whitethorn ceanothus and other chapparal. In some sections there is also annoying blackberry vines growing along the ground and from tree to tree and it’s a pain when you get stuck in it. I thought buying a machete might help, and went to Wal-mart after work to get one. While I was there I also bought some rope, an emergency reflective blanket, and another fold-out saw. I brought my other fold-out saw and found that I still preferred this one above all the others and even the machete which was not as useful as I had hoped. Sometimes less is more, but I will save these supplies for my camping gear.

By the time I reached the parking lot at the Etiwanda Preserve it was about 6:50 and it took me about thirty minutes to forty minutes to reach Etiwanda Falls. From the water fall the canyon forks to the right and left. If you take the canyon to the left it will only bring you to the Etiwanda Crest Trail, and beyond that I have never been able to locate the rest of that trail to 1N34/Big Tree Truck Trail. So I don’t go up this canyon much anymore other than to see the waterfalls there which are now covered in graffiti. To my dismay, I was greeted by more graffiti, much if it new as I made my way up the canyon to the right. Our “artists” even had the audacity to put their names, “So and so was here” and the date “8/15/2015.” Others wrote such odd words like “Ebola” or some such other nonsense. As I pushed further up, I was worried that these hooligans would have spread their “art” into my sacred space and desecrated one of my favorite waterfalls as before. But with each step I took further into the wilderness fewer and fewer traces of civilization, of trash left behind, were to be found. I was entering my wild sanctuary, and having not been cleared so thoroughly for easy traffic, few people have the nerve or patience to move forward. And this is why I cherish this place, because it is still so wild and open only to people like me who intend to leave nothing behind but their footprints. At about this time, I realized that I had left my 64 oz. bottle of water in the car. Despite all recommendations against drinking unfiltered water, I saw no other choice but to do so. Those pools that moved slowly and were perhaps stagnate were avoided. I have had bottled water that says “mountain spring” on it and almost wanted to spit it back out it tasted so badly. This water however was clear, crisp, and completely refreshing. In several locations I stopped for a drink, I sat nearly mesmerized as the water trickled down the side of the canyon wall through the soil and across the moss growing there. I had never walked up the canyon on a rainy day like this day, and it had been raining for the past few days, bringing more water into the canyon than I had seen before.

Moving further up the canyon I passed by familiar landmarks, most notably a large bolder followed about a mile later by another large bolder with a soft sand bar under its overhanging ledge. I might have felt compelled to stay for awhile and rest in the sand were it not for the bugs that also seemed to be attracted to this particular spot. It was also evident that small animals liked this sand bar as well, having left behind their prints. Further up the canyon I reached a second fork, the canyon to the left having no water, unlike the canyon the right. Before proceeding to the right, I decided to clean up the scenic pool of fallen tree limbs and branches before moving on two a two tiered waterfall just above. This section of the canyon can be challenging because the second of the two-tiered water fall is about 20 feet high. The first time I hiked to this waterfall I climbed up the face of the rocks and held onto a tree growing out of the rocks, which had for unknown reasons falling down now. I had found a way to hike up the side of the canyon however, and bypass this challenge. After this landmark I expected to reach an area where there was a landslide that had brought down the side of the mountain and an oak tree. I kept expecting it to be around the next bend, or just further up the trail, but the canyon just seemed to go on and on, and on. I began to wonder if I would ever reach it until I approached an area with a landslide even bigger than what I had seen before. Apparently more of the mountain side had come down into the canyon and in this section the creek all but disappeared as it was all absorbed by the rubble, rocks, and sand. This was the last landmark I was familiar with and I hoped that the truck trail would be just over the next waterfall or turn. As it approached 11:00, I considered that I should turn back soon and said to myself that I would turn around at 12:00, and no later. But 12:00 came and passed and I was reluctant to turn around without having reached my goal. It seemed that every step forward brought me no closer than the one before. The walls of the canyon seemed to be narrowing and the obstacles and challenges in my path increasing. It was no longer a matter of rock hopping, but actually climbing up rock faces and cutting through an increasing mass of dense forest. Some would consider it maddening, and while I didn’t lose my cool, it was making frustrated, as I kept thinking, “Where is that truck trail?” “Have I gone completely in the wrong direction?” “What am I doing here?” Another thirty minutes passed, followed by another, until I eventually came to another fork in the canyon, one to the right and one to the left. This time I followed to the left where there was no water. I thought perhaps I could move faster with no water in the way. After thirty more minutes of cutting low limbs, and pushing through blackberry vines, I was about ready to give up and turn around. And I would have turned around, but I thought I had heard voices and reasoned that perhaps someone was on the truck trail and I was hearing them off in the distance. Just a short distance further up the canyon I also saw a cardboard cigarette box and a smashed iron drainage pipe. Usually these drainage pipes are placed on the side of truck trails, and for a moment I was filled with new energy to push forward. Perhaps the truck trail was just ahead a short distance. I pushed forward and broke through the dreariness of the lower canyon and above with the conifers and evergreens. For a moment I paused to look at the blue sky as lazy clouds drifted by. I climbed up the side of the canyon to get a better view near a huge oak tree and took notice of bright green, star-shaped moss growing on its shaded side. By its roots a pointed, rose-shaped, succulent burst forth from the ground in all its splendor. I was able to see the tops of rolling mountain hills, but no sign of a trail.

By 1:30, I realized that I could not put off the inevitable any longer, I had to give up and try again some other time. I had hiked up the canyon for over six hours and would have to move quickly down the canyon to make it home before dark, which was approaching now near the end of December around 4:30. Going down is always easier than going up, but there are also some disadvantages. Climbing up is always easier than climbing down, and therein lies the trade-off. Fortunately, some of the waterfalls are not that high and one can resort to jumping. And when one jumps, eventually a fall or slip is bound to happen if you are not careful. And it was just my luck that I took a nice fall to the shins and fell down. It was nothing too serious, but it reminds you that you are human and that bad things happen to even the smartest people in the woods. Brushing myself off, I got up and noticed that the machete that was on my belt had ripped off. I suppose I didn’t expect a $7 machete to make it through my kind of hike for too long unscathed, or in this case the sheath. So I stuck it in my pack, along with my camera that I had tucked in my jacket, and spent the next three hours making my way back down to the car. There is something about returning to civilization when one has been away from it for even a day. As you approach your car it’s almost like seeing a long lost friend. You worry for a moment, did I lose my keys, or did I leave my lights on and drain the battery (which I did do on one hike). You reach into your pocket, pull out the key, stick it into the door and sit down on a cushioned chair for the first time in what feels like forever. All your muscles suddenly react to the change in environment, sometimes even seizing up and clinching uncontrollably in a painful way. On this particular day I just felt my muscles suddenly becoming sore as I sat down. Putting the key in the ignition I was filled with joy and happiness as the car turned on and the heater came on. My clothes were damp and dirty and I took a moment to look at myself in the mirror, my hair all out of place. Then I noticed that I had three calls on my phone and a voice mail. I had been out all day and expected my wife to be somewhat upset. I had told her I was going hiking. I told her where, and this time I made sure I hadn’t told her when I would come home, because I am always later than I say. But it’s only reasonable that she worries every time I go hiking. After telling her that I was on my way home, she hung up on me. I expected that, probably deserved it. Got home, apologized and promised to take her out shopping as we had planned. So I  jumped in the shower and off we went to our local Chinese market, the 99 Ranch Market. Although I was too tired having not slept yet and drifted off into sleep with my daughters playing and crawling all over me while mommy was shopping inside

Thanks, I want to explore this Canyon too. Probably in early spring, and try to find Dustin Spring. Forum Index -> San Gabriels
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