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Get your feet wet at Eaton Canyon, a great trek for new hiker.

Get your feet wet at Eaton Canyon, a great trek for new hiker.

A Great Trek for The New Hiker

Hiking is defined as the activity of going for long walks, especially in the country or woods. Oftentimes people equate hiking only with hills and mountains. That can be a deterrent for many who are either afraid of heights or feel like their legs are not strong enough for anything higher than one foot. This is why Eaton Canyon is an amazing hike for the beginner. You get a taste of hiking elevations and you can feel fit and fabulous afterward. Not only will you get the experience of being in nature’s bliss, the trees and the water, but you get to finish the first leg of your hike at a waterfall. Depending on rainfall for the year, that waterfall can appear to be a flirty trickle or a wondrous roar.

Strategically Plan Crossings

Located in the city of Pasadena, Eaton Canyon is about a 1 mile stretch of wide, mostly flat and dirt trail. The elevation change goes up to 375 feet and is very doable. There are just a few spots that would appear challenging if climbing is out of the question for the hike. The stream can keep your company as it leads you to the waterfall. Early 2019 brought so much rain to California that getting to the waterfall without “getting your feet wet” was virtually impossible. The water can get up to thigh high depending on your height. The current can be pretty strong and there are areas where you have to strategically plan out your crossings.

The Trek is Not a Straight Path

My son and I recently visited Eaton Canyon and we challenged ourselves to get to the waterfall without getting wet. We didn’t make it pass the first stream, haha. He stands about 6′ 2″ and there were parts of the water that passed his knees as we crossed. 

What I enjoy most about this hike is having to navigate how to get from one side of the stream to the next. The trek is not a straight path. Doesn’t life feel like that sometimes? It sure does to me. Anything that helps me to shift my focus in a positive direction is such a treasure. Crossing rocks and logs over fairly fast moving water is a sure way to redirect my thoughts.

Like headstands, my entire being goes completely to holding my balance and in this case also finding the best ways to get to my destination. Mind, body and spirit become engulfed in one single moment – navigating. Even if the moment is fleeting as you put one foot in front of the other, at least for that moment, nothing else exists.

Some Info To Consider

Eaton Canyon can be very busy and patience will be needed as you traverse among a myriad of people. Keep in mind that everyone is seeking the same joy you will likely find if you immerse yourself in the moment.

Some helpful info you might to consider is:

If you enter the destination (1750 N Altadena Dr, Pasadena, CA 91107) on Google maps, it usually gives you an idea of what kind of traffic to expect. During daylight saving time (DST), you can get away with arriving at Eaton Canyon by 3pm. It takes about an hour to get to the waterfalls and about the same to get back out. Arriving at 3pm during DST gives you about 4 hours before the sun sets which is usually when the park closes.

The parking lot closes at 5p but I have seen a 7p sign during DST. There’s also parking on the street but always try your luck in the parking area.

If you want to hike without having to feel restricted to time, park on the street. Pay attention to the signs around.

Some Hiking Tips

The initial part of the trek may feel like a bit of a trek as it’s the main part of the elevation. Be prepared for it.

If the sun is hot, take your time… once you get closer to the entrance of the canyon, it’s mostly traversing dirt paths, rocks, logs and a few tiny climbs here and there. There are also more shaded areas to enjoy.

Never assume a log or rock is firmly in place. This is not “Rock Steady” with Bob Marley… give it a feel first if you’re unsure.

If you choose to play music, remember not everyone wants to hear it… take your ear plugs or headphones.

If you can manage, try a hike without any music and just fall in tune with nature.

Have patience, especially on weekends. There are people of all ages seeking a taste of the divine in nature.

Be open to dogs… most of them are actually funny to watch as they play in the water, run for sticks or cause a ruckus amongst everyone.

If all else fails and you get tired of waiting your turn to cross or you feel unsure of the rocks and logs, just get your feet wet at Eaton Canyon. The water is refreshing, unless it’s winter… in which case it’s practically freezing cold 🙂

Scale Through Life

There are also a couple other trails nearby that take you up to much higher elevations. For the beginner though, just stick to the path that leads you to the waterfall. If you’re lucky, you might be there when a professional hikers come scaling down the waterfall on a rope. I’ve seen them on a few occasions and it’s always a thrill to watch how they slide down with almost zero effort. If only I could scale through many things the same way, even a waterfall! 

If you enjoy people watching, this is also a great spot to just sit and enjoy the energies or close your eyes and connect fully to your own energy. Keep an open mind and notice all the trees, the way the light hits the canyon floor and how water flows. It’s a sweet reminder about life – that things are always changing. How boring it would be if it always stayed the same.

God is the Greatest.

Add Eagle Rock, California to Your “Places to Hike” List

Add Eagle Rock, California to Your “Places to Hike” List

Add Eagle Rock, California to Your “Places to Hike” List

It’s usually three of us who go hiking. My cousin, whom I endearingly call my sister, gurl, cousin, friend (actual name is Melanie) and my friend since days of high school a few (very few) years ago. We mostly call her boo. Hiking and my girls – among the sweetest things that Nourish Me Sweetly. Located in Topanga Canyon, California, Eagle Rock lovingly made its way into our lives. We were pleased and I urge you to add Eagle Rock, California to your “Places to Hike” list.

Photo by Melanie Weir

We decided months ago that we’d take turns choosing a site to hike although as I write this I realise Melanie has never been faced with that decision. Hmm. My libra vibe craves balance and does not like to make decisions. I avoid them as often as I can unless it concerns my make up, jewelry and OOTD (outfit for the day). These are easy for me – mostly. I have visions of what will honor my temple best and since watching The Devil Wears Prada, I developed a whole new appreciation for fashion.

I digress…

So thankfully, I escaped another hiking decision. “I’m stressed boo, please choose” I said to my friend. Why isn’t she used to this by now? I’m hoping to make it through to the end of January without having to choose a hike but my intuition says it will not work.

“I’m stressed boo”…
“Look!”, she’ll say.
FINE!
But for last weekend, she did choose! Yeay!

Eagle Rock it is…

Photo by Jeannie Shaw

We met up at a central location and headed out on our one hour drive toward Topanga Canyon. The weather was perfect – good enough to look cute in long sleeves and cool enough to minimize sweat which will torment my make up.
YES! MAKE UP!
Wait. What?

As we turned off PCH, we felt like we were somewhere different… winding, hilly roads that elevated altitude and spirits and we were searching for the perfect spot to start from. I can hear Siri repeatedly saying Entrada Road. That’s as much help as I can offer to the perfect spot to start from. It should be 4.2 mile loop to Eagle Rock. In the past I would play my beloved Afrobeats to full volume so I can get my natural high from the music, much to my brother’s dismay. He’s always concerned I won’t hear animals, predators (perhaps of the human kind) or anything else I need to be aware of since I’m mostly at the mercy of nature. I agree, but hello… have you heard Pana by Tekno?
YO! You need some Afrobeats in your life baybeh!

I digress.

Hiking as a meditation…

Truth be told, the last few hikes I just wanted silence. I was focusing on the crackling of the leaves beneath my feet, being fully immersed in the way the light hits the leaves, the chatter of fellow hikers, the breath of the runners, the views, the ground, me and occasional inventory of my two partners in hike. This last hike gave life to a prayer a friend of mine wrote for me. I said it three times as I walked alone uphill making my way to this “Eagle Rock.”

The hike up is moderate with wide open trails or maybe better to say dirt roads. As we trekked onward and upward, I wondered how close the destination was only because I hadn’t worked out in three weeks and at this point my legs were starting to tell on me. “Not too far now” a passerby shares with me. I look to the right and I saw her – Eagle Rock. She looked pretty intimidating from the vantage point I had but I could see that people were walking up and down this magnificent rock with ease.

“Did you climb the rock?” I asked another passerby. “Yes,” she said.
“Is it scary?” I asked. “Just don’t get too close to the edge, and you’ll be fine.”
Wait. What?

Ok, fine whatever.

Photo by Jeannie Shaw

Nourish Me Sweetly with views from the top!

Once  I got there though, it made a lot of sense what she said. It was pretty easy but there are the edges and you definitely don’t want to get too close. These are words of advice that get lost in the cerebral domain of my sister, girl, cousin, friend.

Besides the view, there were these cozy little caves that you could go inside and escape a little. Take a sharpie pen with you when you go. Leave your mark on the world and write www.nourishmesweetly.com beside it.
Please, and thanks.

There was a heart shaped cave (shown as featured image) that I could not fit into even if I tried and there was a perfect dome shaped one that two guys seemingly took as their permanent abode. Took them forever to leave it. GET. OUT.

Three friends and sisters sitting inside a cave at Eagle Rock.

Among kindred sprits who love nature as much as I do. The only difference is that I will talk to the birds and they won’t. 🙂

Eagle Rock mini caves. Photo by Jeannie Shaw

Hiking trails that offer one way in and another way out are the best.

All I wanted was to have time alone in there. Nature brings me so much calm. I’ve enjoyed all my hikes but Switzer Falls and this one added an extra flutter to my heart. I just wanted to breathe and take it all in. I wanted more time but I had other obligations or wants I should say and fulfilling them would require my leaving.

We headed back down but took the Musch Trail back toward the parking lot. One wrong turn and we were in someone else’s backyard or at least that’s how it felt. My cousin who is almost always skipping ahead turned back to inform us.
“Girl, we lost”.
Wait. What?

This can be a bit unnerving. We had gotten lost once before and it was a bit worrisome. Another time we took a hike that we thought was under 5 miles and it turned out to be 8 miles. My friend’s brief synopsis of that hike: “I almost died.”

And she thinks I can be dramatic. OK!

Advice from a local resident told us to head back on our trail and make a left at the T in the road. She was wrong. It was a right but almost 20 minutes later, we were back on track. Word of advice: If you take the Musch Trail back to the parking lot, keep following signs that say “Trail”. (insert rolling eye emoticon)

Musch Trail will nurture your need to feel like you’re basking in nature.

The Musch Trail takes you through more vegetation, slightly overgrown paths, some stairs and a long paved road at the end. I can be such a “moon and stars” kind of person as my friend describes me. Closing the hike with the perfectly paved road and the sun shining right on me, I took it a sign for cleared paths.

DIRECTION.
Oh. The. Bliss.

Nature will be your best medicine if you only just give her a chance.
Add Eagle Rock, California to Your “Places to Hike” List.
We finished our hike with much gratitude as always – for friendship, for sisterhood, for nature… for Eagle Rock.

The view from my new summer home (mini cave) at Eagle Rock. Photo by Jeannie Shaw

 

Inside one of the mini caves at Eagle Rock

Be Present. Words to live by… I have yet to learn.

 

Cleared road on the ending of the Musch Trail leading to parking lot.

The cleared path I needed to see. Photo by Jeannie Shaw

 

Be Present. Breathe. Some fine day, I’ll get it right. Photo by Jeannie Shaw

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