South Hills P300

Thu, Apr 19, 2018
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My son had come to California with the Marquette Track Team to run a couple of races in Azusa on Thursday and Friday. Mom and I drove down from San Jose to meet up with him, having lunch in the early afternoon before his race scheduled for later in the evening. After lunch, I took him and a carload of his teammates to the meet, then headed off to do a short hike until it was race time. South Hills is a small collection of nearby hills, separated from the main body of the San Gabriel Mtns that rise far more dramatically to the north. About half of the South Hills have been left undeveloped, with a network of public trails that conveniently include several routes to the highpoint. I parked on the north side at Centential Heritage Park, where a collection of rusting farm machinery is scattered about old orchard lands that include a number of maintained, historic farm buildings, courtesy of the Glendora Preservation Society. Some of the slopes above the park are used for homeless encampments, with narrow use trails leading to the various sites which were mostly disheveled clearings with excessive trash and discarded clothing. I found these by trying to shortcut one of the park trails and ended up retreating back down before I became a source of concern for the denizens. The hills were remarkably green at this time with trees, grasses and all sorts of shrubs (including a good deal of poison oak) about as vibrant as they will get before the rainy season concludes shortly. I took one set of trails up and another down in a figure-eight type of loop, covering about 2mi with a little over 300ft of gain. The summit is open to views which mostly take in the urban/suburban sprawl that surrounds the hills, though there are some nice views of the San Gabriels to the north, particularly the ridge between Azusa Peak and Glendora Mtn. The sky was heavily overcast, threatening to sprinkle a few drops of rain which it did only after I had finished the short hike. I needed to get back before my wife began to worry we'd be late for the race, so I hightailed it out of there when I was done. Time to go watch grown boys run until they feel like puking...


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