Millard Canyon -The Birds & Bees…& Amphibians

In anticipation of the arrival of the giant generous-spirited, diabetes promoting, long eared mammal, an appetite promoting ramble was called for this weekend.

So organic cherry tomatoes, Persian cucumbers along with packets of sarnies (sandwiches), were packed, reuseable water bottles filled  and we headed off for our first trip of the year up to Millard Canyon.

Located less than 15 minutes from Pasadena, hiking Millard  is a huge favorite with our family. The trail along the stream is both shady and fairly flat with the added bonus that it is teaming with amphibian life that seems largely unconcerned by the curious eyes and inquisitive fingers of our children.

There  are some more challenging hikes that can be reached from Sunset Ridge  going to the old mine entrance and the waterfalls. Unfortunately neither has been reachable from the lower hike since mudslides, which were the result of the horrendous 2009 fires.

A (not so) quick trip to Sport Chalet in La Canada for our annual ‘Adventure Pass” which is $30 for a year or $5 per day.

It’s well worth getting the annual as we will not only use it more than 6 times but it saves a huge amount of time and the risk of expensive shopping at one of the sports outlets that supplies them! Given that we take full advantage of so many of our amazing state parks, and the enormous cost of maintaining roads,  bathroom facilities, rescue and fire prevention/fighting it’s one of the few fees I encounter that I not only don’t mind but actually feel good about paying!

Take the Lincoln exit from the 210, follow Lincoln for 3 miles, right on Alta vista then left at the wall with the wagon wheel!

Follow the road a couple of miles to the car park.

To the right of the car park is only a short trail to the camp site beyond which is fenced off due to rock fall.

To the left, we follow the stream we criss cross, hopping rock to rock through the  cool shady canyon.  A large number of trees have been felled since last summer, probably as a result of the high winds last autumn, revealing masses of knotty roots. A series of cabins nestle in the woods provoking envy that the fortunate inhabitants enjoy the shady solitude coupled with the soothing babble from the stream.

Not only is this not an arduous hike but before long an obliging colony of amphibian life reveal themselves to the delight of the squealing children.

Red salamanders get into the procreational spirit of the season which provokes an unexpected request for an explanation of the “birds and the bees….with a twist!”

The conversation threatens to take on an added dimension when it becomes clear that these frisky amphibians have the stamina of Russell Brand. Fortunately I’m spared having to explain “when a daddy newt loves a mummy newt, oh and several of her friends” by the catching of a frog. It does make me wonder if perhaps Charlie Sheen has a little newt DNA!

Several frogs are caught and released, some no bigger than my thumb nail. These make odd croaks that sound much more like a ducks quack than the more common and much deeper “ribbit” of the bull frog.

One in particular,   takes such a shine to my son it willing rides parrot style on his arm!

2 hours later we are back on the road and home to await the impending delivery of blood sugar destabilizing confectionary, but I think we’ve earned it

Note, Rocky pathway wear shoes with a good grip. Poison Ivy alert

ADVENTURE PASS – What many people do not realize is that their recreation activities in the National Forests are highly subsidized by American taxpayers. The Recreation Fee Demonstration Program is testing the willingness of those individuals who derive direct benefit from the forest to invest in their chosen activity, rather than asking all taxpayers–even those who would never visit a National Forest–to pay more.

The Adventure Pass part of the fee program asks individuals to play a direct and supportive role in caring for the lands they use and enjoy; to make a small investment to help ensure a bright future for the National Forests of coastal and southern California 

W Loma Alta Dr & Chaney Trl
Altadena, CA 91001
Neighborhood: Pasadena

About sunnysleevez

I'm a freckly red head, originally from London now living in LA with 2 pale children. Frankly with our coloring we have no business being such an outdoorsy family and living in southern California. I grew up in a time when factor 8 sun milk was considered the best protection available to combat the hot rays of a holiday in southern Spain, that lead to 3rd degree burns and the rest of the vacation spent in the shade of our apartment. As a family we love to be outside, going to the beach, camping, swimming & hiking. We can't completely avoid the sun (nor should we) but taking sensible measures to avoid unnecessary UV damage is a priority. How do we do that? By staying in the shade in the middle of the day, wearing sun protective clothing (that's why I created Sunny Sleevez), a broad brimmed hat, UV rated sunglasses, using chemical-free broad spectrum sun screen on exposed areas & eating a healthy diet with as few chemicals as possible & lots of antioxidants.
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10 Responses to Millard Canyon -The Birds & Bees…& Amphibians

  1. A Nature Mom says:

    Looks fun! I’d like to check this out next time we visit family in Sierra Madre.

  2. looks like you all had a lot of fun! makes me wanna get out more with my little ones and i was laughing so hard at the diabetes rabbit

  3. Great post! Sounds like a lot of fun, especially the lizard!

  4. puppy1952 says:

    Just love reading about the fun you and your family had in what sounds like a pristine reserve. Hope you all enjoyed your indulgence of the mammal laid eggs:-)

  5. says:

    Wish we lived nearby. My son (now 20) was once the champion frog catcher of his summer camp. I wonder if he still has his mojo!

  6. Looks like a cool little place!

  7. This was fun to read! I love hiking with my guys, too.

  8. judyjudygirl says:

    What a great idea !! I have spent some time living in London and can’t say it ws my favorite weather, but living in the Southwest now , I may have to get a few of these for my sun intolerant husband as well as myself ! 😉
    Thanks for stopping by !

  9. Lots of fun throughout, but I loved your hilarious commentary on birds, bees and Charlie Sheen. 🙂

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