Don originally showed us a shorter version of this hike but the bushwhack was quite the challenge last year. The new plan is to continue on the (eventually fading) fireroad until it meets the water. We will be walking in the creek for a couple of miles so make sure to wear comfortable, durable shoes that you CAN get wet. There will be (minimal?) bushwacking in the creek. I don’t have a track for this so we may have to put our route-finding skills to the test. Please read the write up, including details on directions and start time.
Elevation gain: 1900 ft.
Trail: Looped, fire road, creek crossing and possible bushwhacking
Rating: 7/10 -Less
Duration: ~7 hours
Not for beginners!
Pacoima Canyon drains the northwest corner of the San Gabriel mountains, flowing west between two substantial ridges before slicing south through precipitous terrain to emerge into the San Fernando Valley. In its gentler upper reaches it is a broad and gradual canyon but with quite precipitous walls created by Mendenhall Ridge on the south and Santa Clara Divide ridge to the north. Both ridges can be accessed using dirt roads called, unsurprisingly, the Mendenhall Ridge Road and the Santa Clara Divide Road. These allow access to a series of steep lateral canyons some of which make for good off-trail adventures. In this hike we drop into Laurel Canyon where it crosses Mendenhall Ridge Road and descend into Pacoima Canyon. Laurel is an easy, north-facing wooded canyon that is mostly brush-free and has just a few down climbing challenges.
Dutch Louie?? or a tired VHC Hiker after descending Laurel Canyon.
HERMIT DIGS OWN GRAVE.
Then Goes Home to Die, Leaving Pathetic Note to Coroner.
Los Angeles Dispatch to New York Sun.
“Dutch Louie,” known throughout the Southwest as the hermit of the Pacoima, a few days ago walked slowly from his hut, which is 5 miles from Pacoima, and selecting a spot on the hillside, dug himself a narrow grave.
Then he returned to his home, dressed himself in his best clothing and lay down to die. All that he told in a letter he wrote to the coroner just before he lay down for the last time.
The note, a pitiful chronicle of hope that never died, asked the coroner to bury him without ceremony in the grave he had dug and to mark it only with a scant inscription, “Dutch Louie.”
“I don’t fear death,” wrote the hermit. “It is the inevitable wages of life — and I have lived. For scores of years I have lived in the hope of finding the bonanza I had dreamed of and prayed for. I never found it, but I was cheered to the end by the star of hope.”
The body was found by hunters.
The 8:30 am start time is when we will meet at the trailhead. There is limited parking at the trailhead so we will consolidate cars at the 7-11 off of Osborne at 8:00.
Take the 210 freeway and exit at Osborne. Exit and go north. Take a left at the first light, Osborne, and we can meet at the 7-11. There is parking on the street that the 7-11 is on.
For the actual trail head, Osborne becomes Little Tujunga Canyon Road. The trail head is just past mile marker 13.01 (the numbers will be decreasing) where you will find gates on both side of the road. Be sure not to block the gates. If you have a parking pass, bring it, but I don’t think they’re required here. Also, this is just down the road from the Wildlife Waystation which is at mile marker 14.92.
The Fine Print
PLEASE – Know your limits and abilities. Bring snacks and drink plenty of liquids when hiking. Check weather conditions and dress accordingly and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Watching out for poison oak, snakes, ticks, uneven footing, spectacular views, beautiful fauna all while interacting with awesome (usually) fellow hikers can be extremely hazardous, rewarding and fun.
The Farzan Rule: Posted hike times are the time the hike starts or we leave from a posted shuttle location. I’m aware other Meetup groups offer a grace period for late arrivals; we don’t. It’s your responsibility to know the location of the meeting spot and be there and ready to participate at the posted time. If you have any concerns about the directions feel free to contact the organizer of the event, preferably in advance of the event and not at the start time. I’m of the opinion that it’s not fair to delay an event when the majority of attendees have arrived on-time. (so named after a conversation I had with a certain un-named member)
RSVP’s: If you RSVP for an event be responsible and update your RSVP if your plans change. If your plans change at the last second and you’re not able to update your RSVP also let us know. In my opinion a no-show is someone who has no regard for following the guidelines we request from our members and will risk being removed from future events that have a limit.
VHC HIKE RATING SCALE
Rating a hike is subjective, meaning the difficulty of a hike will be in direct relation to how often you hike and the type of hike you prefer. Keep in mind that any hike can have the following: un-even hiking surfaces, various obstructions, water and/or water crossings or bouldering and/or rock hopping. A great hike will have all of these!
1 – A long walk
2 – 4 mile hike w/little elevation gain
3 – 5 mile hike w/up to1000 ft. elevation gain
4 – 5+ mile hike w/up to1500 ft. elevation gain (heart rate increases at times)
5 – 7+ mile hike w/over 1500 ft. elevation gain (heart rate increasing even more at times)
6 – 7+ mile hike w/over 2000 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be trying to remember how to perform CPR)
7 – 5+ mile hike w/over 2000 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be muttering expletives to yourself)
8 – 10+ mile hike w/over 3500 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be angry with the hike leader)
9 – 10+ mile hike w/over 5000 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be thinking of reporting the hike leader to the authorities)
10 – Use your imagination
Class 3 Scrambling: Scrambling or un-roped climbing. You must use your hands at times to hold the terrain or find your route. This may be caused by a combination of boulders, steepness and extreme terrain. Some Class 3 routes have ropes in place for assistance.
DISCLAIMER / RELEASE OF LIABILITY
IMPORTANT, PLEASE READ BELOW IN ITS ENTIRETY:
I am a volunteer (i.e. not liable for the group). Safety is a priority for everyone in the group. Think of this as hiking with a group of friends.
Outdoor sports and other events we plan can be inherently dangerous and accidents may happen. By participating in any posted event, you’re taking responsibility for your own safety and well-being. The Valencia Hiking Crew Meetup Group and its organizers are not trained leaders and we do not confirm the qualifications of any of its members to lead or participate in trips. All participants take full responsibility for their own actions. If you choose to sign up for any Valencia Hiking Crew Meetup events, you are releasing the Valencia Hiking Crew Meetup Group and it’s organizers from all liability in case of possible injuries as stated in paragraph 6.2 of the Meetup “Terms of Service” located on the bottom of the Meetup website. Your personal safety depends on your own judgment and experience.