"Cortisol Levels" (Monrovia Canyon Falls - November 13, 2016)

The familiar view towards the LA Basin from the Monrovia Canyon Falls trailheadThe familiar view towards the LA Basin from the Monrovia Canyon Falls trailhead


13-November 2016: We stared and watched as one guy was squared off against another with a third guy nearby either going to join in or just watch. But one of the guys looked like he wanted to get something from the other guy he was squaring off against. Whatever it was (drugs? money?), he wanted it so bad that they got into a fight over it.

In fact, one guy kept saying, "Kill me! Kill me! Come on! Kill me!" while he was reaching for something that one of his buddies wouldn't let him have. I recalled the third guy kind of ganged up on him too. But two of the three guys were wrestling on the ground looking like they were intent on hurting each other.

Julie pulled Tahia close to her and hastily made their way back up to the car park...





It was 12:05pm when we left the house. It was a pretty hot day, but the thinking behind today's late start was we were going to try to avoid the morning crowd. Normally, we do these kinds of weekend hikes as early in the morning as possible, but with Julie needing to make her own breakfast to tend to some health issues, it simply wasn't feasible for the early starts anymore.

That said, Julie was wondering if it was cortisol levels from stress that started the whole chain reaction to gut issues. It seemed like a plausible explanation but at the same time it seemed far-fetched for she dealt with stressful situations a lot of the time, and her gut never had this much of a reaction until this year.

Whatever the case was, I guess we were due for a hike as a family and it certainly couldn't hurt her cause. We certainly couldn't wait until more rains would come to replenish some of the falls because there's no telling when we might see a real series of storms ever again (as the climate change-induced drought seemed to be getting more and more permanent). But tempering our patience or antsiness with local waterfalling was the fact that I was getting pretty tired of doing the same waterfalls over and over again, which the drought wasn't helping as only a handful of them would be reliable enough to be worth doing.

Nevertheless, knowing we could only go to the waterfalls that we knew would be flowing, the first thing that came up in our minds was the Monrovia Canyon Falls mostly because it was a relatively short drive and that it was an easy hike. I was also a little weary of driving long distances for a local waterfall (particularly since we were getting a late start) as it had just been barely a week since I came back from a three-week trip to Japan and Taiwan with the parents.

So given our relatively late start, the drive up the I-605 north then the I-210 west was pretty uneventful. But instead of heading straight to the waterfall first, Julie wanted us to go all the way west to Pasadena first to have a "clean" lunch at Tender Greens. That had been our de facto place to go ever since she had gut issues, and so we'd get to the familiar small lot where we knew they validated or at least had a free hour of parking, and then we'd have our familiar mains of "backyard steak" and some kind of "salt and pepper chicken", which were mainstays of our diet ever since we found out about this place.

By about 1:45pm, we were finally done with Tender Greens, and now we could drive back east on the 210 towards the trailhead. It wouldn't be until about 2:15pm when we finally arrived at the Monrovia Canyon Car Park. No one manned the entrance gate, but we did the right thing and paid the $5 vehicle fee in the self-help envelope. But when we finally got to the car park, Tahia said, "Finally!" as if she was bored from sitting in the car both on the way to Tender Greens and on the way to the trailhead. I guess she was antsy about getting moving as she was looking forward to the hike ever since we got out the door around noon.



So with the already-fading afternoon light, Tahia and I were busy taking photos of the view back towards the LA basin. This seemed like an obligatory thing to do now that we had been taking such photos every time we've come to Monrovia Canyon Falls, which had to have been at least a half-dozen times or more since she was born.



Regardless, we finally started the hike. It felt strange to get such a late start to a hike on a Sunday afternoon, but the flip side to this was that there were parking spaces avaiable and that the trail didn't seem to be crowded at all. That said, there were still quite a few families picnicking at the lawn area behind the visitor center and there were others still out and about either engaging on a hike or doing some other shenanigans (as one large group of African Americans were doing who knows what as they were yelling to their peers in a drill-sargeant-like manner. We wondered if they were some part of a camp or something.



Anyways, the familiar hike went as usual. We passed by some man-made dams and then walked up the familiar ledges. The late afternoon sun was piercing through some of the foliage above us, but by and large, this hike was pretty much in the shade.

As we got closer to the falls, we noticed one large group of college-aged folks engaging in some kind of filming. Julie didn't want to walk into their shoot so she waited until they said it was ok to pass through.



Eventually at about 2:55pm, we made it to the familiar Monrovia Canyon Falls, which still had a fairly consistent flow that was more on the order of a late Summer flow. But the fact that this falls was flowing as well as it did on an otherwise dry Autumn day spoke volumes about the claim that this was a year-round waterfall. So far, our observations have proven this to be true.

Tahia was busy trying to build a dam like the beavers would, but we knew that it was a futile effort since you would need a lot of rocks and twigs to make such a dam. It looked like she made a friend here as there was someone else a year or two younger than her who wanted to do as she was doing. So they were happily playing in the light-flowing stream while Julie and I were relaxing and watching the kids interact.

Eventually at around 3:15pm, we started to leave. The hike back was mostly uneventful, but on the final climb up the ledge back up to the lawn area, there appeared to be a trio of guys (probably from that same African American group we saw at the parking lot) engaged in some kind of horseplay. We stared and watched as one guy was squared off against another with a third guy nearby either going to join in or just watch. But one of the guys looked like he wanted to get something from the other guy he was squaring off against. Whatever it was (drugs? money?), he wanted it so bad that they got into a fight over it.

In fact, one guy kept saying, "Kill me! Kill me! Come on! Kill me!" while he was reaching for something that one of his buddies wouldn't let him have. I recalled the third guy kind of ganged up on him too. But two of the three guys were wrestling on the ground looking like they were intent on hurting each other.

Julie pulled Tahia close to her and hastily made their way back up to the car park wanting no part of the drama that was down there. This was definitely a first in terms of all the things we've seen over the years while waterfalling.

We got back to the car at around 3:35pm where the rest of the African American group sounded like they were urging whoever was left back at the trail to hurry up. We still had no clue what this group was up to, and we wondered if the dudes engaged in their own fight back at the trail might have also spooked other hikers who were on the trail the same time as we were.

I wasn't sure if such an incident might have raised Julie's cortisol levels, but in any case, we left the car park at 3:40pm. And we headeds straight for home, where we finally got there at around 4:20pm. There was still some errands to run and stuff to do before the work week began. And yet I was sleepy on the drive home as everyone else in the car was out as well. I guess with my body clock still getting re-adjusted to our local time and still probably in a bit of a sleep deficit, it was a good thing we were back home in one piece.

And now, we'll see what the work week throws at us tomorrow...




[Back to top]

RELATED PAGES



Have a waterfall travel story you'd like to share?



[Back to top]

[Go to the California Travel Blog Page]

[Go to the California Page]


[Return from "Cortisol Levels" (Monrovia Canyon Falls - November 13, 2016) to the World of Waterfalls Home Page]