Saturday, December 05, 2009

Palos Verdes - Portuguese Bend Park

Back in CA - went hiking in the Portuguese Bend Park near Palos Verdes. It's an easy 30 minute drive from the hotel. Went over early - still overcast, about 60 degrees (it's snowing in Maryland right now, heh).

My plan was to head down the main trail (Burma Road Trail) to the Landslide Scarp Trail and then come back on side trails, so I wouldn't be retracing my steps too much. Guestimating 3 or 4 miles? Maybe less.

The park is kinda cool. Trailhead is in a residential neighborhood and the beautiful wild area is just plopped down there - neat! But it meant lots more hikers than I saw at Topanga over the summer.

Remember that I am an outta shape flatlander from the East Coast! Unlike Topanga, this trailhead starts at the TOP of a loooonnnngggg downhill trail that winds down and down and down. Even before I started walking, I was thinking of the up and up and up return trip! LOL

As I started down the most amazing thing was all the folks were were RUNNING up the daggone hill (mountain). Holy moly! My calves were already starting to fuss about the downhill walk.

The scenery there is spectacular. The park had a fire in August and some of the trails are closed and parts of the landscape are very blasted and lunar looking, but you look straight out to the ocean - just gorgeous. There was a brisk breeze from the water - a little chilly at first, but before long I was really glad of it!

You can see one of the burned out areas in the pic. I was lucky that the weather held for the weekend - they will close the park if it's too rainy and it's easy to see why. Foot traffic in wet weather would really tear things up.

After a while, I decided to abort the original plan, because I knew I had to get back up that mountain, so I took one of the side trails that I had scoped out. Water Tank trail goes STRAIGHT down for a couple hundred feet. I went down sidewise, slipping and sliding, then turned right onto Kubota trail which leveled off and headed back towards the main drag. It wound among pasture and scrub, opening up from time to time into beautiful views. It was much more peaceful than the main drag. I was headed back up that big hill in the distance in the photo. Yikes!

After a long steady pull, I made it back to the top (ok - I did take a couple of rest breaks. That trail is STEEP!) Part of the reason they have been able to establish the parkland is because the ground is so unstable in the area that houses are at risk of sliding down the hillsides so there is a building moratorium in the area. A couple of homes perched on the hills. You can't really see it in the picture, but the fences around the yards, were tipping down the hillside. Beautiful view, but kinda scary!

And last, but not least, a rose from my stroll along the beach this am. I must say that walking on the strand (like the boardwalk on the east coast, only paved) does not prepare one for hiking in the CA hills!

Pics are all from the iPhone.

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