Hot, Windy Winter Weather

20 01 2011

Winter weather in Los Angeles is wildly variable. When the coastal breezes or offshore storms are in play, it’s decidedly cold and we get our much needed rain for the year. It’s not freezing, but it’s the kind of cold that gets in your bones. As those conditions fade, the sun brings the temperatures in to the comfortable 60s and 70s, and we have our days of perfection. When the Santa Ana winds blow from the deserts in the east, however, the resulting hot weather is weird and sudden. In the span of a day this week, we went from our chilled rain in the 40s and 50s to the wild Santa Ana conditions in the 80s. That kind of switch does a number on one’s psyche.

The heat feels surreal. The air gets extra dry, and winds whip and gust at annoying, even destructive speed. A few trees blow over, palm fronds litter the roads (and those things can cost you a tire), and everyone’s sinuses get a workout from the dust and allergens that get stirred up.

The rain on the one end the the wind on the other also serve to clean the air, and this is the season to enjoy the spectacular views that are typically obscured by fog and haze. The hills turn emerald green with new grasses and budding foliage, and the sky is perfect shades of blue.

For my hike of the week, I chose Las Llajas Canyon in Simi Valley, just west of the San Fernando Valley. This area was originally bought many years ago to be developed, but that project failed, and it ended up as open space. The trail wanders gently through the narrow canyon, eventually joining up with the Rocky Peak Trail to the east.

I did a handful of caches on a modest 3-mile round trip, with a particularly challenging one as my piéce de resistance.

Touch My Monkey
This one was surprisingly difficult to spot, even though it was hanging right in front of my nose. The rest of them along the way were much easier, and I happily and handily found them all:
The Return Of Marrgate
A Simple Las Llajas Cache
Keep Going…
Along the Way to As Far As I Wanted to Go
WRONG WAY to go to As Far As I Wanted to Go.
Some View

The last on the list was the first I found, and it afforded this great view of the dam at the bottom of the canyon:

… and of the canyon itself:

A couple of the caches were up this secluded side trail:

… and I enjoyed a few moments by the bubbling brook, active with the water from the recent rains:

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