25 March 2016

A Ramble Through the Chino Hills North of Carbon Canyon

A nice shaded section of the route on this afternoon's trek.  Click on any photo to see them in enlarged views in separate windows.
This being a few days into spring and a beautiful one, a jaunt into the Chino Hills about 1 1/2 miles or so north of Carbon Canyon seemed like a great idea and it was a nice ramble along access roads parallelling the TRTP towers recently installed along a west-to-east corridor.

Looking south towards Carbon Canyon, with a bit of the graded Hillcrest housing project just left of center.
This was a walk that was taken along the same route some months ago, but with a significant difference.

One of the behemoth 198-foot TRTP towers striding across the hills from west to east.
The massive 198-foot towers did not yet have the several strands of wire strung from one to the next, but now they, and the multicolored balls that alert aircraft of their presence, are now a very conspicuous presence.  Some of the fine views obtained along the way are now compromised by having the wires in the line of sight.

A spray of purple wildflowers along the route.
Still, depending on where you are on the trek, the towers and wires may be on one side or the other, so there are still plenty of excellent vantage points looking in all directions.

Sunflowers also sprouting along the trail's edge.
For example, a glance to the north or the west can take in Tres Hermanos Ranch, Tonner Canyon, and the Boy Scouts of America camp, recently purchased by the City of Industry.

Looking towards the southeast and to Carbon Canyon and beyond.
Beyond are the towering peaks of the San Gabriel Mountains, the San Jose Hills from Pomona and San Dimas to Walnut and West Covina and the Puente Hills from Rowland Heights over towards Whittier.

This view looks southwest towards Brea and Orange County.
To the south and the east are more of the Chino Hills, large areas bordering Carbon Canyon from the summit in Chino Hills out toward Olinda Village in Brea.

To the northwest and Diamond Bar, the Puente Hills and the San Gabriel Valley.
In the distance are the Santa Ana Mountains and further out can be seen the San Joaquin Hills near Irvine and Newport Beach and, on clearer days than this, the Pacific Ocean.

Looking out to Tres Hermanos Ranch in Tonner Canyon and the San Gabriel range in the distance.
A clear view can be seen from points along the hike of the St. Joseph's Hill of Hope religious community in Lion's Canyon just above Carbon Canyon to the south of the trail, while to the north and west are camp sites, shooting ranges and other facilities from the Boy Scouts reservation.

Another view to the south and towards Carbon Canyon.
Given that some of these latter facilities are not in Tonner Canyon but are in adjacent canyons and locations, it may be that, although Industry has purchased more of the Scouts property, some of the sites may still be used by the scouting organization.

It is said that Industry is looking to convert much of Tonner Canyon to water storage for city needs, but how much of an impact that could have on other uses of the reservation is not known.

A lengthy section of the winding trail is captured here.
As to the still-abundant swaths of oak and walnut woodland habitat, it is nice to see some amount of greenery, even though this winter has brought only a fraction (about 5 inches) of the deluges predicted because of the El Niño storm system.

It looks like there is a chance for some showers from Tuesday to Thursday in the coming week, but how much greener our hills will get is certainly not clear.

Just one of many old, spreading and majestic oaks in our local hills.
Of course, with the Hillcrest housing development of 76 units in process just north of Carbon Canyon east of Sleepy Hollow and with the specter of other projects looking including the Stonecrest property of 28 approved units near the summit in the Chino Hills portion, the pending hearings for the 107-unit Hidden Oaks south of the Canyon, and the appeal of the 162-unit Madrona project north of the canyon between Sleepy Hollow and Olinda Village, the long-term prognosis for the area is still very much in dispute.

An outstanding example of a grove of oaks along the trail.
For the time being, we should enjoy the beauty of what remains in Carbon Canyon while we still have what is still here.

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