September 29, 2008

Gabrieliño Trail

As far as scenery is concerned, it wasn't a spectacular hike. No grand vistas. No waterfalls. Even the stream was dry, as most California streams are at the end of a hot, dry summer.

Above us was Mt. Wilson, home to numerous radio & TV towers, and an astronomical observatory. On the other side of Mt. Wilson, the sprawling L.A. basin. But in that canyon, L.A. seemed far away. Even the towers atop Mt. Wilson were hidden most of the day by a canopy of oak, sycamore and pine.

On a rock next to a sandy patch, butterfly wings fluttered. Dozens of pairs of wings, moving slowly, taking flight, and landing again. A butterfly convocation.

In a few sunny spots, yucca plants burst forth. Yuccas always remind me of fireworks. They also remind me, when I'm away, of southern California. Even more than palm trees (nearly all of which are not native to California), yuccas seem such the California plant.

Pausing for a rest in the shady canyon, there was an overwhelming silence. Where were the birds? Searching for water, perhaps. I grabbed a handful of raw almonds and put them in my mouth. The sound of my own chewing was deafening.

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