Just a few miles away from here, at the foot of a canyon that cuts through the Los Padres National Forrest and into Pasadena, a cold mountain-water creek snakes through a wide scramble of river rocks. It’s a scene from nature in action, which is not often on display here in Los Angeles where miles of our rivers have been lined with concrete.
This place is called Eaton Canyon, and it’s conveniently located off a main street in the suburban LA community of Altadena. Go down the long drive way past the wooden park entrance sign and through the parking lot, and you find yourself steeped in nature at every turn. It’s easy to forget that the bustling urban landscape starts just on the other side of the tree line – until you hear a burst of police sirens or snarled traffic.
As we hiked along the sandy trail that hugs the creek’s edge, another thing was not immediatly apparent to us on our first visit here. That creek we were wading through and skipping across by way of conveniently placed stones and fallen-logs, was actually a river, or had the potential to be one anyway by the looks of the rock wash that extended 100 feet to the left and right of us.
Who knows when the last time Eaton Canyon held that much water. It seldom rains here, and on this unseasonably warm January day the idea of a torrent of rushing water filling the river to its banks seemed so unimaginable.
So we continued to dip our feet in the fridged water until it stopped feeling so cold. We ate our snacks sitting on rocks. And we hung our wet socks to dry on tree branches while we lazed away the day examining rocks and splashing about.
Cross your fingers for more warm weather; we’re planning to go back this weekend.