A rare look at water carving teacups out of a desert landscape.

In the desert gateway region of the Los Angeles basin lies a 68 million year old mountain of sandstone where Chumash natives lived.  Hummingbird Creek, at one time, cut a canyon and flowed reliably until this past decade of drought.  People resided, at least temporarily, in deep shelters with wide sandstone awnings and dry sandy floors.

In recent years the Humming Bird Trail and the whole Rocky Peak area has been a hot, dry desert landscape.  My hiking group thinks of it as one of the hottest trails we hike.  It is all uphill and totally exposed to the sun in a place where the sun seems to be constantly turned up full blast.  Ironically, however, evidence of water is everywhere on this this terrain.  The hillside is comprised of smooth boulders pocked with salad bowl sized “teacups” and deep gutters.  Its mysterious and incongruous to experience a landscape that looks like a seaside sand sculpture on what is now a searing, austere desert.

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Naturally, when heavy rains came to Los Angeles, I headed over there to see what’s up.  Nevermind that I’d been sick in bed for three days and really wasn’t physically up to hiking the hill I typically call a “butt blaster”.  Mother Nature doesn’t care if you feel bad or good.  She makes her own schedule. So I met nature on her terms, threw on my rain coat, gave my son an umbrella and together we went out to see erosion in action.

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