Sunday, August 21, 2011

Day 279: Oak of the Golden Dream (The California Gold Rush!)

The Wise Old Owl!

Day 279: Saturday August 20, 2011
Oak of the Golden Dream (The California Gold Rush!)
Placerita Canyon Natural Area
Botany, Ecology & Heritage Trails
Where: Santa Clarita, California
Distance: 2.5 miles +225 feet
Time: 1.5 Hours 

Congratulations to Ayden for placing 2nd in the Dive Tourney!

How the Gold Rush began:

 Oak of the Golden Dream

From Ventura, take the 126 all the way to the 5 South.  From LA, take the 5 North.  Take the 5 to the 14 North.  Exit on Placerita Canyon Road and turn right.  Drive about 2 miles and then turn right into the Placerita Canyon Natural Area.

There are a ton of trails here!  Since this was my first visit, we parked in the back by the visitor center/museum.  A volunteer was there greeting people with her pet owl:

The Owl at the top of this post is caged in the back next to this Hawk:

Today they were having a show with a number of live animals.  We stopped here after Ayden's dive meet, which was in Santa Clarita, and before our trip to Ikea.  Therefore, we could not make the show but before our hiking adventure, we toured the museum:

 Mountain Lion

Bob Cat

Wow, the real like stuffed Mountain Lion brought back memories from my encounter.  Of course, the one I saw was even larger than this replica.  There were a number of other stuffed animals but time was of the essence so we journeyed off on the easy trails:

Botany Trailhead

Just to the left of the building you'll find the easy trailhead.  The Botany trail is only about a quarter mile but it leads to the longer Ecology Trail.  These simple trails are perfect for a whiny kid and frustrated wife :)

It wasn't very hot and the trail was partially shaded but you the family would swear it was 100 degrees and torture.  --This really is a simple hike.  We completed the entire loop in about thirty minutes and then walked to the other side of the parking lot:

 The Cabin

After the cabin, we raced up the stairs, which led to an .... overflow parkingarea...  we race back down and crossed the street:

The bridge leads to a large camping area.  There are also trails back here but we turned around to hike the very short Heritage Trail...

 Ayden was relieved!

 Murals in the tunnel
Oak of the Golden Dream: Pictures seen near the top of this blog post.  The tunnel leads to the historic area.  I took a rest underneath a nearby oak tree and opened my eyes to some, poison oak...  Not really, but hoping to find gold, it looks like the forty-niners beat me to it.  Awesome history lesson though, right in my new backyard.  Before we left the area, I snapped a picture for a future hike:

I read up and discovered that there are some pretty awesome trails back here.  I will be back, but for now, a short road trip to Burbank to shop at Ikea.  This adventure took 2+ hours, 2+ miles of walking amongst thousands of annoying people.  The wife was hippity-hop  in the store while I dragged my feet.  It's funny how that works; and no I did not add the Ikea hiking total to my mileage count but I did add the $100+ bill to my next credit card statement :)  

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