After dropping my parents off at LAX I headed to David’s place at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains. We’d first met nearly two years ago on a canyoning trip around Las Vegas and then met up again for some backpacking in Death Valley. It was nice to catch up, meet his dog and check out all his woodwork builds.
Tomorrow was Christmas, and I’d also been in contact with Edwin who had contacted me through the canyoning Meetup group. We’d all decided to run a canyon or two…
David and I where a little late arriving at the TH (despite it being not far from David’s home), but Edwin was waiting by his motorcycle and we were soon on our way. David had visited Rubio a few times in the past but never the Leontine variation we’d planned to run. Following the well established trail along the creek we soon left it to continue (following a pipeline) to the bottom of the final pitch. Here we took a gulley to the right which led to a web of interlocking trails. In general going was quite straight forward: simply take the most obvious route, but we did take the wrong fork once and had to push through some scrub (to David’s frustration) to avoid backtracking.
Soon we dropped back into the creek just above the first pitch. Not having canyoned with each other extensively I was happy it was relatively short with an easy start so we could all keep an eye on each other.
The pitches where all quite straight forward especially since everything was bolted – despite numerous options for natural anchors. This took the fun out of it a little.
Continuing down past Thalehaha falls, we encountered some deeper pools but with some effort you could keep your feet dry. Several of the pitches could also be down-climbed. It wasn’t long before we were at the end of the canyon. I stayed down in the creek whilst the others took the same trail we walked in. I found what looked like an entrance to a mine, but I didn’t have time to verify as there was a pile of vegetation partially blocking the steel door and David didn’t like that I was hiking below them.
Soon I scrambled up the bank to rejoin the trail. Back at the TH I tried talking the others into running another canyon, but no-one was keen. I decided to visit Little Santa Anita myself but returned to David’s for lunch – and my car!
I soon headed off happy it was only 15mins to the TH. I set a really good pace up the hill saying Merry Christmas to he numerous others out hiking. I put my harness on at the junction before following the flowing creek downwards. I tried avoiding the water at first, but soon gave into walking through the ankle deep water. I was surprised how warm the water was!
The first few raps were my favourite: pretty with greenery and waterfalls – something I haven’t seen in the Utah canyons I’ve visited recently. Some of the pitches ended in thigh deep pools but it was rather pleasant.
At the end of the route, I had to climb over a gate at the dam wall to exit. I noted the “No Trespassing” signs after crossing – maybe I’ll have to read the beta and see if I went the right way!
Overall it was a fun trip. The canyons certainly weren’t slot canyons and never really get very narrow. But it was nice nice to do something different.