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Eaton Canyon to Henninger Flats – June 10, 2012

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 by

This winter is still a bust, more or less, though it looks like we might be getting a hair of a promise of winter on the horizon later this week? Who knows. Anyway, life proceeds apace. Doing various work here and there, not getting out anything like at the level I’d like, but…oh well. People visiting, putting the house together, and just getting stuff done one day at a time! Not too bad. So…instead, perhaps I can do a bit more of the things I used to do, back when I lived near mountains and good weather. In June 2012 Nathan, Joe, Gretchen and I did a 7 mile hike with 1300′ of gain (to 2550′) from Eaton Canyon to Henninger Flats and back again. Mostly on fireroad, but nice for all that, and the exceedingly pleasant forested bit at the type made a nice change up.

We made a plan to try and do a Sunday hike, but had time restrictions. Then Joe suggested doing an easy hike, namely, Henninger Flats, because he was a bit worried about his foot injury. Gretchen initially suggested some farther away things, but at the end, we compromised and did this one, easy, closer hike, which ended up fulfilling everyone’s needs quite well!

Nathan and I drove to Eaton Nature Center at the agreed upon time of 8.30 AM, and saw Joe just two cars ahead of us…and the parking lot already a total disaster of an area. Alas. However! Gretchen, in her amazing brilliance, had managed to snag two last minute parking spots for us and was just hanging out in them with her bike. Being right next to a speed bump I guess saved her from having other drivers try and run her over in their effort to get a spot, since I guess it looked less like Real Parking or something.

Once we managed to get ourselves all sorted out, we headed on out. This is the basic trail that gets you to Eaton Canyon waterfall, so first is goes through some scrubby zone, then across a creek bed that was mostly dry at this point, and then you walk on a wide dirt path by the riverbed, partially in some oak shade, and partially just by the hill. This is generally a popular area, and there were a lot of people out, as usual, whole families, people with dogs, people with kids, all sorts of stuff.

Other people out walking

As we continued, instead of taking the left hand, downwards fork that would have let us go down the creekbed and eventually to the waterfall, we instead headed to the right, which led us to a bridge. We also skipped the Walnut Canyon option that would have taken us even more steeply up to the
toll road. The bridge is where another trailhead meets up to this area, and is also where we made a quick switchback to start the trail up to Henninger Flats. It was a warm, very humid morning, but was generally overcast, so we were saved the wrath of the direct sun. However, the humidity was bad enough, since I’m really not used to hiking in humid conditions, and feeling all gross and sticky really doesn’t make me very happy. However, I generally persevered, and we followed the fire road as it switchbacked it’s way up and around the hills, from one side to the other, slowly revealing farther , if hazy, views over the city.

But why take photos of the city when you can instead take photos of tall plants near your friends against a clear blue sky?

I guess you can sort of see the city peeking out from behind the tree. I prefer the tree though.

We continued on up, and started to get our first views of the nicely treed area that we were heading to. (I didn’t actually end up with any photos up there, so look here if you’re simply that duly curious) There are several benches on the trail on the way up, and we did stop at a couple of them, but not too much, since we were all fairly eager to get to the flats. Finally, rounding one last bend, we made it up, and to the very desired coolness of the nice shady area. We wandered over to one of the picnic tables, and sat down and relaxed for a bit. We snacked, and checked out the visitor’s center, and took a look at the fire tower up there, and just generally had a pleasant time thinking about how we could totally go camping up there. It really does seem perfect, since it is only a ten minute drive and a couple hour walk up the hill.

Eventually, though, it did come time to leave, and we packed up and shouldered our bags and headed back down. The haze had burned off by this time, so we were in much more direct sun, but at least it was less humid, and downhill is always easier for me than up. The trip down was pretty entirely uneventful, just chatting and walking and having a pleasant time. Since it is fireroad + the flat area back to the car, it went really quite quickly, and we were back at the vehicles by 12.30 or 1 PM or so, which was honestly pretty cool for what is a 7 mile hike the way we did it!

The colors were so pleasingly vivid

all of us in full sweaty glory at the sign, which clearly didn’t need to be in the shot

We are smaller than trees

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