With the opening of the new access trail to Fish Canyon in June, I’m still getting used to the idea that I can hike to Fish Canyon Falls any day I want. Since June, however, there has been no compelling reason to actually want to visit Fish Canyon with its bone dry creek and parched vegetation. It’s about minding the seasons. But I’ve not been hiking in a month and needed to log something for October. As I laid in bed on Friday night, I pondered the local scrappy hikes that might be possible, but none really appealed to me and Fish Canyon didn’t cross my mind. When I awoke at 6 a.m., Fish Canyon popped into my thinking. So I got up and looked through my hike log. I figured if I’d never hiked it in October, that would be my hike. I saw that I’ve visited Fish Canyon Falls in every month except October and December! Bingo! I guess it’s off to hike rather than back to bed.
The sun, slipping underneath the clouds, begins to alight on Van Tassel Ridge.
I was hoping to experience some fall colors, but the hues are muted. Many of the deciduous trees and poison oak have already lost most of their leaves. The tree of heaven jungle is starting to turn yellow. Evergreen trees and shrubs—like bay, oak, toyon, laurel sumac, sugar bush—provide an array of green. There is virtually nothing in bloom.
It’s peaceful here. The clouds still provide welcome cover. As I approach the falls, the only sound is the voices of the two guys.
8:25 - Fish Canyon Falls. The falls and pool are completely dry. The lower pool still has some water. Soon the two guys leave and I have the falls all to myself. It’s an unusual scene for here: no water, no people...just an eerie silence. But I’m enjoying the solitude. I have so many memories of this place.
3-22-14 - Fish Canyon Falls
10-25-14 - Fish Canyon Falls
After crossing the creek, I encounter my first direct sun. I’m snapping pictures along the way trying to capture the nuances of the canyon, from sweeping mountainsides to the spines on dried wild cucumber fruit. Even in drought conditions, chaparral and riparian plant communities demonstrate resilient beauty. A hiker passes me heading to the falls, and shortly later, three more pass. The sun illuminates the yellowing tree of heaven leaves.
As I get near the end of the trail, I remind myself that there is no shuttle waiting to drive me through the quarry…I’ll have to walk the 0.7 mile back to the parking lot.
10:50 - End hike. It’s 75 degrees and there are four cars in the lot (including mine).
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