Summer Recharge

Tahia and Joshua checking out the view of the LA BasinTahia and Joshua checking out the view of the LA Basin


26-July 2015: As we were driving the road out of Monrovia Canyon Park, we had to wait for a ranger to move as his/her truck was blocking the road. It was at that time that we had noticed that they had half-closed the gate on the way in. We weren't sure why they were closing the park since there was ample parking space.

It seemed like no matter how we tried to justify this closure, we kept coming up short. Well, whatever the case may be with this apparently mid-day closure, we were sure glad that we got our visit in before this happened. Again, it was like Mom would always say, "Early bird gets the worm...





Julie had been itching to do a local hike over this weekend, but since we weren't really feeling up to it on Saturday, we decided on doing it on Sunday. So she woke up early at 6am to get breakfast on-the-go prepared for Tahia. Eventually by 7am, we woke her up by essentially promising her that she'd get to see her cousin Joshua (knowing that she'd really look forward to it). Usually things like that would get her to do things that she otherwise wouldn't feel like doing, such as waking up early in the morning.

Eventually by 7:50am, we left home and headed to my parents place, where we had already pre-arranged to meet up with them there. They'd also pick up Joshua and bring him along.

By 8:15am, we showed up at the parents, where a couple of minutes later, mom and dad showed up with Joshua. It took a little more time for them to get ready, but by 8:35am, we left their place and headed for Monrovia Canyon.

We figured that it had been a few years since we had last gone there, and it would be Joshua's first time for this waterfall. His first waterfalling with us to Etiwanda Falls might have been a little on the difficult side, but this excursion we knew would be much easier. On top of that, we also knew that the waterfall should be flowing as it was one of the few reliable waterfalls that seemed to be resilient to Summer, but we were wondering whether it might also be resilient to the exceptional drought that we'd been having.

It would only be my mom and Joshua coming with Julie, Tahia, and I. Dad was going to hang out with Uncle. And so we went about on our pretty uneventful drive up towards Monrovia. We were concerned that we might have a hard time parking once we were up there, but when we finally paid our $6 parking fee and got into the park, we ultimately parked at the top in that familiar lot, and to our surprise, it had been quite empty!

We thought it was rather strange considering this was a pretty popular park, and we had seen it much busier here during Spring. But I guess in this instance, maybe the drought lowered peoples' expectations of this excursion or something. Or perhaps, people parked lower down the hill to extend their hike while avoiding the $6 parking fee.

The fairly empty car park for Monrovia Canyon Lots of vacant parking spots on this side of the lot Tahia and Joshua enjoying the view of the LA Basin from the car park at Monrovia Canyon Park

Whatever the case, Tahia and Joshua were hyper as they were enjoying being in each others' company. They even checked out the LA basin, which provided Julie and Mom with some photo ops.

Tahia and Joshua leading the way through the picnic area at Monrovia Canyon Park Shortly thereafter, we started hiking at about 9:10am as we passed through the familiar picnic area, then hiked along a ledge that descended down to the main trail near a creek crossing. There was still water in the crossing, which was a good sign that the waterfall should be flowing.

Mom and Julie each holding a child's hand to ensure they don't get too close to the dropoffs The hike was pretty uneventful as we let Tahia and Joshua hold hands while hiking on their own. But when it got to the narrow parts of the trail, that was when Mom took Joshua's hand while Julie took Tahia's hand, and they'd get through those spots while minimizing the risk of them falling over the small dropoffs.

Letting Tahia and Joshua walk on their own in this open part of the trail It was a good opportunity to catch up with Mom, who we haven't seen since we first got back from Morocco and Spain and attended cousin Diana's wedding (a span of at least three weeks). I'm sure Mom didn't mind doing one of these things even though it was later than our typical Winter or early Spring waterfalling adventures.

Back to holding hands as the trail narrowed again Julie was also feeling rejuvenated as she felt that need to just get out there even though we had probably done this like a million times already. I guess there's something to be said about just being out and about in Nature, especially as we were exposing Tahia and Joshua to the local treasures that were out here.

Letting Joshua and Tahia hold each others' hands and walk freely in this open part of the trail By about 9:45am, we were back at the familiar Monrovia Canyon Falls. And the waterfall seemed to have a pretty satisfying flow even though it had been this late in the Summer during yet another drought year. I guess that just speaks to how resilient this waterfall was - one of the few year-round waterfalls in the Southland.

Playing at Monrovia Canyon Falls We spent quite a bit of time here as Tahia enjoying being barefoot in the creek. Joshua would join her, and they'd be busy throwing rocks or picking up twigs, or just collecting rocks in the creek and showing them off to us. Other kids were joining in the action so it was one of those priceless moments where we let the kids be kids while us adults were merely chilling out and watching the play time unfold.

Tahia and Joshua making friends at Monrovia Canyon Falls There were many other people here so we had to watch that their play activities didn't hurt the other kids and vice versa. But all in all, it was a satisfying experience, and by 10:10am, we had left the Monrovia Canyon Falls.

Descending the trail as we left Monrovia Canyon Falls Now, we were making a little bit of haste on the way back because Julie's master plan was to do this hike early, then show up to Din Tai Fung (or DTF for short) in time for early lunch in the hopes that we wouldn't have to wait a ridiculously long time for their soup dumplings. I figured that we probably wouldn't get there until about 11am so we'll see whether that would be early enough or not to avoid the unreasonably long wait times there.

A lizard blending in very well with the dry foliage by the trail The walk back again was pretty uneventful, and once again, we made sure that the kids were looked after on the narrow parts of the trail. We even spotted a well-camouflaged lizard during this stretch of the trail, which I'd imagine kind of affirmed how dry it had been locally (since you typically find them in dry climates).

Back to holding hands in the narrow parts of the trail on the return Eventually, we'd get back to the car park at 10:40am. Aside from someone doing a really crappy parking job and nearly boxing us in, we managed to get out and immediately head over to DTF.

Back at the picnic area as our hike ended As we were driving the road out of Monrovia Canyon Park, we had to wait for a ranger to move as his/her truck was blocking the road. It was at that time that we had noticed that they had half-closed the gate on the way in. We weren't sure why they were closing the park since there was ample parking space.

It seemed like no matter how we tried to justify this closure, we kept coming up short. Well, whatever the case may be with this apparently mid-day closure, we were sure glad that we got our visit in before this happened. Again, it was like Mom would always say, "Early bird gets the worm."

By 11:05am, we made it to DTF where we managed to find parking as well as stomach a moderate wait of 20 minutes before we were seated. The lunch was a bit on the pricey side for a Chinese restaurant, but I guess Julie got her xiao long bao fix, and Mom didn't mind having this stuff either. The kids also enjoyed their food.

After the lunch, we spoiled ourselves for a Beard Papa's, which was something we hadn't had in what seemed like years. Part of the reason why was that it seemed like they were closing a lot of these (or at least moving them further away from home). Whatever the case may be, we had our guilty pleasure, and then finally fought traffic on the way home.

Eventually at 2pm, we were back at home, and by then, we were pretty much out for a part of the afternoon as we were overcome by food coma.

A lazy (but satisfying) Sunday, indeed...




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