Thursday, February 18, 2010

Canyon Depths

I think you should click to enlarge this picture.

The other day, Bellis (who often comments here) and I walked from Chantry Flat to Sturtevant Falls and back. (The road up from Sierra Madre is open during the day.) Our trusty pooches came along, too. The water is flowing clear and clean in Big Santa Anita Canyon alongside the Gabrielino Trail.

Bellis also showed me the trail that goes above the falls. High! Steep! Narrow! Wonderful. There's everything to love about a hike like this one--tall trees, a flowing stream and a waterfall, forceful now after the rain.

This place is extra special, perhaps because of 81 historic, privately-owned cabins, some of which you'll stroll by as you walk along the canyon floor. The cabins are what remain of the original 350 that were built from the 1890's to the 1920's.

I found myself envying the cabin residents but I have to be realistic. It takes a special kind of person to live there. Few of the cabins have central heat, plumbing or electricity (though we did notice some solar panels), and phone service is limited. Not only that, but unless you're a mountain biker with the thighs (and knees) of an Olympic athlete, your home is accessible only by hiking into and out of the canyon.

It's so beautiful there, for a minute I thought I could get used to it if I could heat with solar panels. Later in the summer this stream will be dry, or close to it. But right now it's heaven.

Then I thought about carrying the groceries.

26 comments:

Desiree said...

Supah! Let the help haul the groceries--

J+P said...

Great shades of Alberich! Where are the Rhinemaidens when their gold is so unattended!?

Shell Sherree said...

Dappled and serene! I'd have that fantasy too, Petrea, though I'm a sook for at least a few mod cons, so I think it would remain a fetching fantasy.

Shanna said...

I don't know that it was the same area exactly, but I did look at a cabin that was for sale. Climb over the rocks-by a stream-kind of place. Soooo romantic.
So we opened the doors to hear the stream and the owner quickly closed them. "Mosquitoes", he said.

So I did finally buy a cabin at Lake Arrowhead. It had central heat, snow plowing, trash pick-up. You know - the things we take for granted. It was Heaven!!!

Eleonora said...

Makes me want to take a dip!
Carrying the groceries... I hate that.

mark said...

A fabulous photo. I really like this one. Llamas with saddlebags could carry the groceries. Problem solved.

altadenahiker said...

Such lush colors. Really beautiful.

I had a friend with a cabin. We went to visit a neighbor once. He had laid green astroturf in the front yard.

Dina said...

The gold is alluring.

The cabins too. Can't you just get a donkey?

Lori Lynn said...

When I see a house that I like over here in San Pedro on a hill, with a great view, I also think about carrying groceries, I call it the "schlep factor." And then I appreciate mine even more. Three steps to the front door.
LL
P.S. Love the photo! The movement and the colors especially.

Petrea said...

Maybe llamas or donkeys as "the help?" At Chantry Flat (some say Flats, I'm not sure which is correct) they have donkeys to haul supplies to the most remote cabins. I don't know how the system works. Rent? And how do the donkeys feel about "the schlep factor?" Do they like schlepping? Dogs like having a job. Are donkeys the same?

Mosquitoes and astroturf take the romance out of it, don't they? Or if you have a beer-drinking neighbor who stinks up the canyon barbequeing bratwurst.

Actually, that would be okay if he invites me over.

The Rhinemaidens were nowhere to be foundm but we heard water nymphs. A loud chorus of male ones, chanting like monks.

Bellis said...

Congrats, your camera caught the dappled sunlight on the water almost as well as David Hockney during his LA swimming pool period.

It's amusing to read Caltech astronomer and Pluto killer Mike Brown's blog on the challenges of living in a cabin in Millard.

http://www.mikebrownsplanets.com/2009/08/millard-canyon-memories.html

Ming the Merciless said...

Looks like a great place for a swim or dip during the warm summer months.

As for groceries, you can always hire donkeys to carry the stuff up. :-)

Trish said...

I LOVE that hike around the falls. On a really hot day it was great to stand in the falls to cool off. Spent a few spring breaks hiking the Gabrielino, occasionally with some snow!

If you want a similar experience, but without the donkeys, go out the 210, head up 38 and stop about 1/2 hour from Big Bear. A little place called Barton Flats, that originally was flattened out by prisoners. Same cabin styles as you looked at, but almost all have electricity now. Except for 2 (unless something changed in the last few years). You can drive up to most of the front doors, have running water as long as there is water in the streams and have that peaceful feeling by just walking out the front door. Usually, and esp in this economy, a few cabins are for sale. But remember to respect the land and area and don't party too hearty...there's a lot of history in those hills.

thanks for the memories & trust me, the schlep factor gets to huge as we get older!

Kim said...

I love this watery shot! So peaceful to look at. I cracked up at the groceries thought! I used to hike in the SGMs a lot and love it when you take us with you on these walks.
-Kim

Cafe Pasadena said...

It's supposed to bee, FLAT.
My fav part of our foothill mtns. It's been almost 2 yrs since I hiked at Santa Anita Canyon.

Indeed, the people of the canyon are a special breed to live there. Probably just a brunch of ex-Altadeners, character actors, recluses, past doo dah parade queens, independent voters, writers, recycled Greens, raw food eaters, etc.

I hope you took more Pics, P!

TheChieftess said...

I'm still chuckling about green astroturf...

Petrea said...

My neighbor has a Millard cabin, Bellis. I keep trying to wangle an invitation.

Yes, Ming, but what am I going to feed the donkey, astroturf?

I took a few more pictures, Cafe. Maybe ya'll wanna see a cabin or two tomorrow?

mark said...

I love cabins. Minnesota has a rich history of lake cabin living.

Ms M said...

Wonderful shot -- I love water photos.
I agree, the schlep factor would have to be considered if one were to live in a cabin in that area. I only have a cat and she would refuse any kind of schlepping :)

altadenahiker said...

Oh yes, love to see the cabins.

Petrea said...

Ha! Ms. M, no saddlebags on Boz, that's for sure.

All right. I already created tomorrow's post but for Saturday we'll have a cabin.

Latino Heritage said...

I can almost hear the water waltzing through the rocks.

Margaret said...

I swear, I thought I was look at sunken treasure.

Dina said...

If you have a proper way of keeping the packs safely on their back, donkeys love to pack. Let them shlep, they need a purpose in life.

(I trained the donkeys at Heifer Ranch and started a cut and carry forage system with the workcampers, so trust me.)
Donkeys are great friends. You'll love them.

Petrea said...

LH, go there and listen. It's a phenomenal chorus.

Me too, Margaret.

Dina, some day I want to hear all your stories about working at Heifer International. It's one of my favorite charities.

AmyR said...

I think you could hire a sherpa for the groceries. Internet connection might be tough though. :)