Mon, Jan 28, 2019
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I didn't get out of the SPS banquet in Alhambra until almost 10p and I hardly felt like driving through the night to get home to San Jose where I was due the next day. Instead, I drove about an hour north to the Newhall Pass area on Interstate 5 where I spent the night in the parking lot of the newly-created Newhall Pass Open Space Preserve. The park has the feel of a small bit of neglected terrain amidst the suburban sprawl that is the San Fernando Valley to the south and Santa Clarita to the north. My sleeping spot was located only yards from The Old Rd and I-5 and the traffic noise was pretty constant all night which allowed me to sleep relatively well. My bigger concern was that I would be rousted from the spot by bored law enforcement, but happily none came by to check on me. East BM is the highpoint of the park, reached via the partially paved Edison Rd that winds its way steeply up through the park to the highpoint. As recently as 2016, this was all SCE property, signed for no trespassing but ungated, allowing folks to drive part-way up the road. Now, a gate has been installed at the parking area to allow foot and bike traffic only. The peak lies above the SR14/I-5 Interchange, parts of which were damaged in the 1971 Sylmar earthquake and again in the 1994 Northridge quake. It is an impressive span of concrete overpasses, bypasses and onramps, nestled in the hills just south of Newhall Pass. I hiked the pavement up to the top of the ridgeline along which a transmission line runs. I then hiked the dirt road portion west along the crest to reach the highpoint about 30min from the parking lot. The rains over the past month have greened up the area nicely and brought new vigor to the oaks that pepper the slopes. At the open top a bearded young man in his 20s was sitting upright in a sleeping bag, looking like he was meditating with the rising sun. I greeted him as I approached but got no response, so I simply walked by him to get a photo of the benchmark on the far side. I returned back via the same route - there aren't any real alternatives since there are no trails and the steep cross country is booby-trapped with poison oak. It was nice having the park (nearly) to myself, save for the homeless guy camped at the summit. With more rain in the forecast, it was time to head home...
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