Vacation 2009 - Part 5

May 2, 2009

This is part 5 of my 2009 vacation. On Friday May 1st I traveled from Williams, AZ to my mom's home in Whittier, CA. On Saturday May 2nd I participated in the Skyline Trail hike. This is organized by BSA Troop 546. Participants meet at Rio Hondo College, then buses take hikers about 2 miles to the trailhead. It's eleven miles from there to the Powder Canyon trailhead which is just south of the intersection of Fullerton and Harbor roads. Troops need to arrange their own transportation from Powder Canyon back to Rio Hondo or home. I wanted a bigger challenge, so I decided to walk back. I thought there would be plenty of people who would do the round trip (afterall, you need a 20 mile hike for the hiking merit badge), but I think I was the only person who did the round trip. When I got back to where we started the hike, there of course would be no bus so I had to walk to the college, so I ended up walking 24 miles. For more information on the Skyline Trail hike, send an email to For reports of other hikes I have taken in this area go here and here.

Event coordinators from troop 546. [01]

The guy in the center has been "sacked". Not sure what that means, but it's all in good humor. [02]

On the bus. Last minute reminders about trail courtesy and safety. [03]

At the end of the very steep two mile bus ride to the trailhead. [04]

Ready to hike. [05]

Bus turnaround. [06]

Four wheeling bus. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it! [07]

Skyline Trail sign. These are few and far between. There are not enough of these signs for you to find the route. Troop 546 sets out red flags along the trail for the hike. The flags are removed by trail sweeps at the end of the day. [08]

Yeech. This is, after all, an urban trail. [09]

Members of troop 476 from Montebello. [10]


Me. [12]

I think this is a type of monkey flower, but I'm not sure. [Post script: One of the members of the Hoodlums forum, who goes by Hooda Thunkit, commented on this picture as follows: "You are correct... photos 13 and 14 are of the Bush Monkeyflower, also called "Sticky" Monkeyflower. A little bit of coolness about this flower... next time you see one, poke the stigma with a straw. It'll close. What happens is, upon entering the flower, a bee will brush pollen on the stigma; it closes and is pollinated. When the bee backs out, it doesn't deposit the plant's own pollen, thereby insuring cross pollination."] [13]


One of many beautiful homes along Skyline Road. [15]

Just east of Turnbull Canyon Road. [16]










Approaching Colima Road. [26]

Me at the pedestrian underpass at Colima Road. [27]


Buddhist temple just off Hacienda Blvd. [29]

Adjacent to Hacienda Blvd. Lots of poison oak. [30]

Cactus and Eucalyptus, shortly after leaving Hacienda Blvd. [31]

I have traveled from well beyond the last power tower you can see in the distance. [32]




I met this guy who was out for a walk. Gary is also a member of the LDS (Mormon) church. We walked together for a couple of miles and had a pleasant conversation about the gospel. [36]




Gary and I. [40]





Imagine my surprise when I saw this bobcat! First time I have ever seen one! I was so thrilled that at first it didn't even occur to me to get a picture. [45]

We just stared at each other for what had to have been at least a full minute. Then he got bored with me, turned, and walked away. [63]

Approaching Powder Canyon trailhead. [46]

Approaching Powder Canyon trailhead. [47]

I drank three quarts of water at the trailhead, then refilled my bottles, beginning my return trip with four quarts of water. I drank it all by the time I got back to my car. [48]

These guys are pleased to find out that they have about one more mile to go, and it's all downhill. These young men are thought to be the first Tiger Cubs to finish the eleven mile hike. Look at that smile! Way to go guys (and dads)! [49]

Just one small part of Troop 54. This was an active troop when I was a young man, and now troop 54 is 54 years old and going strong! [50]



Hacienda Blvd. underpass. [53]

Hacienda Blvd. underpass. Decorations courtesy of boys who could have used good fathers and good scouting. [54]


I was lucky with the weather. It was cloudy/overcast most of the day, but never did rain. This made for comfortable hiking. I am told that the temperature was in the 100s the previous week. Here you can see the Los Angeles skyline in the distance. [56]

Approaching Turnbull Canyon Road and Skyline Road again. Almost done. [57]

Turnbull Canyon Road. [58]

Turnbull Canyon Road. [59]


Now I have a very steep downhill to get back to my car. Having already walked 22 miles, this was quite unpleasant on my feet. [61]

I got to Workman Mill Road, only to find that the gate had been locked. So I had to climb over this eight foot brick wall to get out. Too bad no one got a picture of that! Then I walked back to my car at Rio Hondo college. On the way, I found another trailhead for the Skyline trail. Had I known about this, I wouldn't have had to scale the fence. But then I wouldn't have had this story to tell...! [62]

Copyright © 2009 by Bill Qualls. Last updated May 6, 2009.
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