Easter Surprises

Tahia checking out the view of the Los Angeles Basin from the Monrovia Canyon Park


20-April 2014: Ultimately, we would go on the familiar winding road up to Monrovia Canyon Park. We were worried about the parking situation here given the past troubles the last time we were here. At first we thought about parking near the fee collection kiosk seeing that there were three or four open spots down there. However, we thought if there were going to be that many spots down here, why not go up and see what's up there before coming back down and prolonging our hike as a last resort?...





It was Easter Sunday when the family got up at around 8am, but with Julie intent on doing a hike today, she was busy getting things ready for the upcoming hike including waking Tahia up. In the mean time, I was busy finishing off the overhaul of the website not totally sure if we were seriously going to do a hike today knowing that today was part of a long weekend for a lot of people. Plus, I had a feeling we would be getting a pretty late start, which meant traffic and trouble finding parking.

I totally wasn't looking forward with that, especially since we were contemplating doing Sturtevant Falls, where we knew it was not an easy hike for Tahia plus the parking situation there was almost always horrendous without an early start before 9am.

Still, it took time for Tahia to eat her breakfast and drink her milk, and it would be until around 10:50am when we finally were out the door.

At the very last minute, we decided to do Monrovia Canyon Falls since we knew Sturtevant Falls would take a lot more time to do. We hadn't done this hike in a couple of years, plus it was pretty easy so we didn't bother bringing the child carrier.

So off we went.

The traffic going north on the I-605 then on the I-210 was actually not bad at all. Julie's GPS app on her phone told us to get off at Mountain Ave instead of Myrtle Ave. The route didn't seem familiar, but I rolled with it. Eventually, Mountain Ave went north to Foothill Blvd, then Foothill Blvd went west to Canyon Ave. We turned right onto Canyon Ave, which promptly led us up the residential area before we started to see Fountain to the Falls signs.

It seemed like the Mountain Ave-Foothill Blvd-Canyon Ave route was more straightforward and easier than the Myrtle Ave route we had been going on in the past. It was something to remember for next time.

Ultimately, we would go on the familiar winding road up to Monrovia Canyon Park. We were worried about the parking situation here given the past troubles the last time we were here. At first we thought about parking near the fee collection kiosk seeing that there were three or four open spots down there. However, we thought if there were going to be that many spots down here, why not go up and see what's up there before coming back down and prolonging our hike as a last resort?

Looking at the surprisingly partially full parking lot at Monrovia Canyon Park Eventually by 11:25am, we showed up to the familiar Monrovia Canyon Park car park at the very top. Sure enough, there were a handful of spots though none of the shady ones were available. But that was ok. The parking situation for our late arrival seemed rather unusual, and it was a pleasant Easter surprise.

With all the available parking, I wondered what the waterflow would be like. Maybe a lot of people didn't show up because they knew something we didn't?

At first we hung out at the overlook of the LA Basin where Tahia was checking out the view as well as noticing a lizard that really caught her attention. When Julie showed up, we took some photos with our little girl trying to capture more of those Kodak moments that we knew would be priceless when we look back in our archives.

Tahia checking out the view of the LA Basin at Monrovia Canyon Park A closer look at a lizard at the overlook Context of Tahia and the lizard

After Julie took Tahia to go potty, that gave me a chance to read some of the signs. Apparently, there were some local newspaper clippings about California's water crisis with this being the third straight year of drought. That wasn't encouraging news, but we kind of knew all along that there would be really slim pickings locally. Plus, with Global Warming, we knew that the weather was pretty much going to be all or nothing year after year. If it wasn't going to be a very wet year, it was going to be a very dry year. It seemed like there was no in between these days.

Going past a sign board with some clippings talking about California's water crisis with some suggestions about tapping into the underground aquifers Anyways, we promptly walked through the picnic area where Julie took the lead hoping that Tahia would follow on her own. I stayed in back taking photos of the experience while also trying to make sure that Tahia wouldn't stray too close to the drop offs as the trail immediately narrowed and went along a ledge as we went past the signs beyond the picnic area boundary.

Tahia going through the picnic area trying to catch up to Julie Soon thereafter, we crossed a short creek then proceeded along the pretty obvious trail. The hiking was mostly a gently uphill grade, but Tahia was able to handle it without too much difficulty. If anything, the real trouble with Tahia doing the hike on her own was her tendency to trip on an unseen root or rock that would cause her to trip and fall. It happened a couple of times each yielding a short reaction of surprise then a brief cry, but no dramas otherwise.

With us encouraging Tahia to do the hike on her own, we paid a lot more attention to the dropoffs that we kind of took for granted in our past hikes here. Even with our insistence on holding Tahia's hand to ensure she wouldn't stray to the drop offs, her strong will often would cause her to jerk her arm away from us to make it harder for us to grasp her hand.

Julie shielding Tahia from the dropoffs at the start of the hike Tahia and Julie approaching a man-made dam Julie once again shielding Tahia from the dropoffs along the short 3/4-mile hike

Stubborn little girl!

Still, we shielded her from the dropoffs as much as we could. Many of the other hikers were gracious enough to wait for us to let us pass in some of the more narrower parts of the trail. Many of them smiled as they watched Tahia do the trail on her own. Some even interacted with her by asking her questions that Tahia nodded with a yes or shook her head no to the yes/no questions.

One brief moment where we let Tahia walk on her own while flanked by a short dropoff Tahia and Julie approaching the crowd at the end of the trail where Monrovia Canyon Falls was Back at Monrovia Canyon Falls in decent flow for such a dry year

Eventually at 12:20pm, we arrived at Monrovia Canyon Falls, which was still flowing like its usual self. It definitely attested to its year-round flow claims as it was fed by springs collected higher up within the San Gabriel Mountains.

Looking up at Monrovia Canyon Falls from near its base Another Easter Surprise was that there were far fewer people here than there were the last couple of times we were here. I mean there were still quite a few people here, but it wasn't anywhere as crushing as it was on our last couple of visits. I wonder what other Easter Surprises were in store for us given these developments.

Tahia was enjoying herself at the falls throwing small pebbles and rocks into the stream. That seemed to occupy her to no end.

Tahia and Julie making their way back to the trailhead By about 12:30pm, we left the falls as Julie received a text requiring us to get back to the vicinity of home to tend to some errands before 3pm. We didn't have lunch yet, and at first we were discussing what local place we might want to try out since we were all the way out here in the first place.

Once again, Julie was shielding Tahia from the dropoffs But when it became clear that eating first before going home would be cutting it too close to 3pm, we ultimately decided we should just fill up on a little gas before heading straight for home then find a place to eat around home.

While Julie was shielding Tahia from the dropoffs, apparently they were holding up another hiker that couldn't wait to get by them At 1pm, we were finally back at the car. Tahia made it through without too much trouble, and again, she drew more interaction from others who were going the other way.

When we got back to the car park, I was approached by a lady who asked if we were leaving. I told her we were but we had to wait for Julie to get Tahia cleaned up since she did trip and fall a couple of times while also playing with dirt as well. That didn't matter as the lady sounded relieved. I guess the parking situation got worse at this time.

I didn't know how to explain it considering it was kind of starting to get late in the day, but I guess maybe many of these folks were getting tomorrow off or something. Whatever the case, we were leaving by 1:10pm and we were headed home.

The drive home was pretty uneventful with small pockets of slowing, but for all intents and purposes, it was a pretty smooth drive. Indeed, the drama and hassle-free day was quite the Easter Surprise. If only other local excursions could be like this...




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