Sunday, January 15, 2012
So far I've done the longer loop twice: once in the morning and once around noon, both in the month of January. Noon was a real bear with the sun beating down on us the whole time. The morning hike was perfect in comparison. The cool temps in the early hours were a little rough until we got going. But once the fog banks hugging the lower regions burned off a little as the sun came up, we were good to go. This is a great network of trails if you're looking for something not too strenuous, but with some decent distance.
The trails winding through Hollenbeck Canyon Wildlife Area and the neighboring grasslands offer the option of several different routes that will take you on either a few miles of hiking, to six or more. Some hug the base of a small range of mountains, others take you down paths shaded by canopies of trees, and others lead up, down and around rocky rises.
Once the site of a working ranch, there are still remains of the corrals and even the foundation of a brick building:
You'll thank me for this tidbit: bring binoculars! Between the natural features of the land and the wildlife -- more specifically the hawks coasting on the winds and perching on craggy peaks -- there are plenty of sights you'll want to get a closer look at.
Winter streambeds are dry washes or they barely trickle along, which in some places can be a blessing as there are a few points where you'll be picking your way across them one stone at a time or detouring around altogether. The multi-use trails are shared by mountain bikers, horses, dogs and, during certain times of the year (and to the dismay of my hopelessly bleeding heart), hunters.