Talk about false advertising. Raquel says "I wanna go for a hike. Oh don't worry it's an easy hike to 'Chantry Flats'". Chantry Flats, hmm I'm thinking, it's either a large highrise block of public housing in the Georgian style and of great architectural and social significance, or it's some nice park somewhere in LA with gently meandering paths and an ornamental lake and swans.
It's in the Angeles National Park, which is in the mountains to the north of greater LA. And I'm using the international definition of 'mountain' here, not 'mountain'* that Australia term we apply to any slight rise in the ground - I challenge you to scale the near-insurmountable summit of Mt Duneed in Melbourne's west and then you'll know what I'm all about http://goo.gl/maps/KzAr. (*mountain in Australia means something completely different to the USA...kind like the name 'Randy' and the word 'rooting').
So anyways, we hop in John's truck (aka giant ute), spend 45 minutes on some freeways, purchase the worlds hottest hot coffee/chocolate (literally still steaming about 20 mins after purchase - I think they broke 3 laws of physics heating that milk without burning the gosh darn golly out of it). I digress. (A lot).
So we turn north and start climbing this mountain...a friendly deer on the road says "Hiya"** and the road twists and turns and keeps on climbing up and up. OK I'm thinking, so maybe its like a high plain...yeah I saw Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter, we're heading up to the high, FLAT plains of the enchantingly named Chantry FLATS.....we keep winding our way up...hmmm I thinks....maybe its a Mesa...those cool things that exist mainly for the purpose of providing another option on a multiple choice geography exam. Yes that'll be it, a mesa!!! (** Deer may not have actually spoken)
Oh no. How wrong I was my friends. How sadly, sadly mistaken. Chantry Flats is pretty much just the river bed at the bottom of a fairly significant CANYON in the MOUNTAINS. http://goo.gl/maps/qa8n
My pics of the terrain don't really do it justice, but I'm pretty sure it's deeper than the Grand Canyon....you can wikipedia that one peoples. And just like the said (fairly) Grand Canyon, you start at the top and leave the exhausting climb until the end of your hike...genius.
At least I got a few decent snaps...the river is broken up by a series of man made dams, which creates some beautiful little waterfalls - the scenery reminded me very much of Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water - see what you think. We hiked along the reasonably flat canyon floor to a large natural waterfall. Along the way there are numerous cabins that have been there for years. There is no electricity, only a telegraph wire and supplies are carried in by people or pack mules, still to this day apparently.
Enjoy the scenery and note we were still in Los Angeles. (Click to enlarge pics).