Thursday, June 1, 2006

Hiking on June 1 was all on the Santa Clara Divide Road, an unpaved fire access road. Whitney Canyon trailhead (1,400 ft) - 4.1 mi - Wilson Canyon Saddle (3,150 ft) - 1.6 mi - May Canyon Saddle (3,550 ft) - 1.6 mi - County Fire Camp #9 (3,800 ft). Total distance = 7.3 miles. General elevation gain = 2,400 feet.

Geology included Plio-Pleistocene nonmarine Saugus Fm., Pliocene marine Towsley Fm., Whitney fault, Whitney Canyon oil field, Mesozoic Placerita Fm. gneiss roof pendants, intruded by Mesozoic Rubio Fm. hornblende diorite-gabbro (amphibolite), intruded by Cretaceous Wilson Fm. (~122 Ma) quartz diorite.

If you wish to see an enlarged version of any of the pictures below, click inside the small version.


Here are Gene and Sue at the Whitney Canyon trailhead in Whitney Canyon Park, just northeast of Newhall Pass, ready to begin the GeoTrek. The elevation here is about 1,400 feet and the vegetation is mostly live oak trees and grassland.

Along the Trail

The trail for the day was along the Santa Clara Divide fire access road. Because the exact distances along this part of our hike were not available, we rolled a measuring wheel along the road. A fairly recent fire had burned all the chaparral along the first part of the route and the lack of shade made the going hot. The Santa Clara River Valley is in the background.

Cool Spot

After climbing in the heat for a couple of hours we came to a cool little creek cascading over a wall below a tank that had been built in the canyon. We refreshed ourselves in the shade and washed off in the cool water.

Lunch Time

By noon we had climbed to Wilson Canyon Saddle where we had lunch. We had left the burned area behind us, and from here on there were occasional groves of live oak trees that provided some shade along the route. The elevation here is 3,150 feet and there is even a pit toilet available. Accompanying us for the day was John Alderson, a CSUN alumnus, consultant paleontologist, and guitar and autoharp teacher. It was enjoyable having him with us.

Santa Clara Divide Road

Most of the climbing for the day was behind us after lunch and we enjoyed the hiking along the shady patches of the Santa Clara Divide Road.

Santa Clara Valley

Except for the haze, you can see a long distance to the north from the crest of the San Gabriel Mountains along Santa Clara Divide Road. Shown here in the middle distance is the Santa Clara Valley in the suburban area where the Antelope Valley Freeway (Highway 14) crosses the Santa Clara River. Note the vegetation difference between the chaparral-covered, unburned hillside in the foreground and the burned area in the middle distance.

San Fernando Valley

From Los Angeles County Fire Camp 9 at the end of the hike for the day, you can see down into the San Fernando and Sylmar areas of the San Fernando Valley over 2,000 feet below. Unfortunately by this time of the afternoon the haze completely obscured the Santa Monica Mountains in the background.

Go to the route description for the second day of the hike.

Return to the CSUN hike index.

Return to the Coast Geological Society hike index.

Return to the First United Methodist Church, Reseda hike index.


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