I read a bunch on-line about the George’s Canyon Hike before we headed out and I was almost too discouraged to go. People were talking about galloping horses, horse manure, poison oak, and a “too-easy trail.” I saw enough to encourage me however, so away we went. It was a Monday and Mondays appear to be a very good day to hike this trail if our experience was typical.
We only passed two other people on this trail. No galloping horses. We did see some horse manure but it didn’t discourage us. We did find a few things worth talking about though! Just look at the beautiful native plants in all my pictures.
When we first arrived at the trailhead, I had discovered that my good Nikon camera was out of battery. That’s why you will not see a picture of the perfectly formed spider web we found on a tree. It was beautiful and not something you see every day either! Sadly, I couldn’t see where my iPhone was aimed because of glare and I didn’t even realize the iPhone could take a picture of the spider web — so I only got half a picture.
We came upon a tree filled with bees. We could hear the whirring of the bees from at least 100 feet away and as it got louder my oldest son wanted to turn around and head back. Apparently he has a bee phobia! I thought the bee tree was amazing. Then again, I tend to think anything God created is amazing. We kept pressing on. My youngest son stepped on a dead and very flat rat. It was quite exciting to see everybody jump! We all laughed, and he cried because he thought we were laughing at him. We were. He said, “Well at least it didn’t come back alive.”
We saw at least one beautiful blue bird. I wasn’t sure if we saw the same one twice or two different birds. We heard at least 25 different bird songs before I lost count. We considered a dry stream bed and possible causes. We jumped over and skipped around horse manure. We saw at least three lizards and a couple lazy hawks. We examined horse shoe prints in the dried mud.
We sat under an Elderberry Tree to rest. We studied the trail guides and the one at marker ten talked about the fact that we might see a bobcat print. We didn’t! After that every time we heard a noise the twins were convinced it was a bobcat. One of the loudest sounds we heard turned out to be a little lizard in the brush. I had no idea they could make so much noise!
The trail rises 400 feet in elevation and I would guess that 80% of that happens between trail markers 10 and 12. Since this is a 3/4 mile trail divided into twelve sections, that means the last two little sections of the trail were very steep! I had to take a few breaks and the older twin chose that opportunity to pee his pants. We were so close to the top we convinced him to keep going in wet pants! At that point we were hot, sweaty, and thirsty. I was reminded why I always tell people to take water bottles when they hike with kids.
It took us about an hour to get to the top. We sat at the top for fifteen minutes or so, enjoying the view, the birds overhead, the bees and precious trees like the Elderberry. The kids were impatient to go back down and freaked out about the bee. I told them we had worked so hard to get that far, I was not going to rush our reward at the top. When you go hiking, the peak of the trail always has a reward — a waterfall, a beautiful pond, or as in this case an amazing vista. We could see Los Angeles in the distance in spite of a thin layer of yellow smog.
Finally, we headed back down at a controlled pace to keep from tumbling down the steep section. We noticed different things on the way down. My boys were fascinated with this entry hole into the brush and were very curious about who must live inside. The funny thing was this — I didn’t even realize my son was in that picture until we got home. Still, it only took us 20 minutes to get back down even though a few children decided to sit down in the middle of the trail for a rest.
Hiking with children is a great way to build family unity, teamwork, and an appreciation for God’s creation. You can do it!