Sierra Club Hikes Fir Canyon
By Robert Bernstein
Alejandro Andreatta has been leading some of the most interesting Sierra Club hikes for many years. He is also an excellent photographer who taught me some key strategies that I use often.
This past weekend I joined Alejandro's Fir Canyon hike which starts at the Davy Brown Campground. It is a very steep climb in places, totalling 1700 feet. The hike goes for about three miles and ends at Figueroa Mountain Road. Most of the time it follows the creek.
Campers were making breakfast at Davy Brown Campground when we arrived. We were a bit surprised that we had to pay a ten dollar day use fee just to hike the trail. This was half of the twenty dollar fee paid by the campers.
We had a pretty big group of thirteen hikers. Alejandro was very attentive to our needs. A good thing, because the rains have swollen the creek. There were five rather challenging stream crossings at the start (and a few more easy ones further up.)
Here Alejandro made sure people were able to cross OK. In my case, this involved giving me a hand and/or lending me one of his hiking poles. On the way down I found a stick that served me well at the crossings.
Most of the time we were hiking on one side of the creek or the other
About halfway on the hike we saw this lone glove at the foot of a tree
The rains have brought out plenty of moss to carpet the rocks
Quite a change after so many years of drought. The drought probably also helped cause a lot of fallen trees that we encountered
The first time I did this hike was in June 2003. The highlight of that hike was this swarm of lady bugs along the creek near the junction with the Munch Canyon Trail
I am sorry to say that this time there were just a few straggler lady bugs in that area.
As we climbed out of the canyon toward Figueroa Mountain Road we came to a meadow on a hillside with these oak trees with no leaves
We also saw some of these shooting star flowers in the nearby meadow areas
After all that hiking and climbing it was a bit jarring to come to Figueroa Mountain Road! You mean we could have just driven there?
One of the hikers kindly took this photo of me with the spectacular backdrop behind
We then started back down the way we came. Here Alejandro led us along a somewhat precarious stretch past some beautiful crumbling rock
Down in the creek were some pools with fish. Can you see the fish distorted by the ripples of water?
Here we passed under a fallen tree that seemed arranged for our passage
On the return we saw a beautiful vista that was at our backs on our ascent. That ridge of bare areas in the distance is Hurricane Deck
We posed for this group photo nearby
This baby Blue Belly fence lizard looked up at us as we finished the hike
On our drive out we saw this oddly abandoned vehicle with its airbags deployed. Campers at the campground said it had been there for weeks. By coincidence a ranger was tending to it as we passed by
We were very grateful to those who drove us out there as the road is quite rough and unpaved in places!