Fortunately, we had a period of cooler, if slightly more humid than usual, weather, so the mid-morning hike was pretty comfortable, even accounting for the steep climb up the dirt road from the top of the neighborhood to the ridge separating Carbon Canyon from Soquel Canyon. Grazing cattle were everywhere on the ridgetop areas and vehicles were parked to the west--these being used by the lessees of the land for supervising the movement of the animals.
The name Hidden Oaks is more than ironic, because a predecessor project years ago involved the removal of some two thousand (yep, 2000) oak trees before the developer went belly-up (leading to a too-obvious question, as my neighbor asked, concerning why a developer can remove anything from a building site before a building permit is issued.) Some of the photos here show the cleared landscape where those trees, now protected, once stood.
If the project is constructed, hopefully there will be trail access from Sleepy Hollow to Chino Hills State Park, which is beyond Soquel Canyon to the south, as well as protection for important drainages such as Rock Creek and Rock Canyon at the east end of the Hidden Oaks project site, these having three spectacular sandstone waterfalls that are targeted for project runoff access.
Yet, it was pointed out by my neighbor that there were areas that were cleared by work crews that were beyond the designated break locations. One of these was, as shown in another photo here, in a drainage in which almost all plant material was leveled.
Another question: why was this landscape removal, clearly beyond the scope of the project, done and who was tasked with inspecting the work?
|Another view of open table lands, stripped of their oak trees years ago, that will be covered with streets, houses and other elements of the Hidden Oaks development, if approved and built.|
Before the canyon changes too much and homes take over the ridgetop areas that provide oak and walnut woodland habitat, such spectacular vistas and a sense of openness, more hikes like this will, hopefully, happen, so that a fuller appreciation of the beauty of the canyon can be had before the transformations, whenever they happen, do occur.