Tuesday, July 27, 2010

6th and Upas Gateway; Balboa Park Trails (#26)

July 27, 2010 - Upas Street has been a destination on my "To Hike" list ever since a dog-walker tipped me off to it while trekking around the Florida Canyon Trails (#13).

Upas Street runs along the northern border of Balboa Park and seemingly dead-ending by the two Scouts Camps (Boys & Girls) at Vermont Street. Here at the trailhead I found the Balboa Park Trails signs telling me I must be in the right place.

Right at the beginning the trail dips downward as it flanks a portion of the Boyscout Camp where camouflaged canopies try to conceal whatever it is that they are up to.

A zoomed-in view from my camera told me I might want to speed past this portion of the trail.

I quickly came to a footbridge that crosses Highway 163. Cool!

On the other side I found a nice winding sidewalk that led up to...

...the Marston House at the northwest end of Balboa Park one block shy of 6th Ave.

The Marston House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1905 for prominent businessman and community leader, George W. Marston, and his family. The home is surrounded by rolling lawns, manicured gardens, and canyon pathways.

Wilson and I cut through a garden or two and found earthen stairs leading downward out of the back yard.

We were a bit surprised to encounter these two powerful and potentially dangerous K-9's. Turning and running was not an option cause they might just chase us down; besides, Wilson looked at me calmly and said that he "had my back."

So we ran past them instead and didn't stop until...

...we were stopped by this fence.

Wilson, glaring at my triple-x sized rear-end, instructed me to just throw him over the fence and then fend for myself.

I'm not sure why Beaver Cleaver came to mind as I was half-way through, on my hands and knees, trying to squeeze myself through the gap. Score one for the big guy though, cause I made it!

Ultimately, we escaped back over to the footbridge and found our way back to a side-trail we had spied earlier.

And to make a long story short, the rest of the trail was a series of intersecting loops that seemed to crisscross one another occasionally leading to a stairway where we popped our heads out into a neighborhood just like a groundhog.

So we looped...

...and crisscrossed...

...and looped...

...and popped our heads out...

...only to turn back down and...

...crisscross some more until...

...we pretty much walked all of the trail that there was to possibly walk on in this corner of the woods.

I've come to discover that the "Upas and 6th Gateway" is just one corner (the northwest corner) of a whole system of number/shape/color-coded trails that extend throughout Balboa Park. Five trails to be exact, ranging form 1.5 miles and easy to 6.6 miles and difficult. In fact, Florida Canyon, a quarter-mile down the road, is actually part of the Balboa Park Trails system.

More importantly:

What in the heck "IS" a Upas?


upas (yo̵̅o̅pəs)
  1. a tall Javanese tree of the mulberry family, whose whitish bark yields a poisonous, milky juice used as an arrow poison
  2. the juice of this tree
  3. something harmful or deadly in its influence

Hmmm..., I wonder if the nearby Boyscouts knew that? Come to think of it, I did see a bow and arrow range along the way.

Hikers beware!

Anyway, after about only an hour and a half, we popped back up out of the canyon to find this nice home on Myrtle way.

With the slightest bit of meandering (like simply walking down this pretty little sidewalk) we made our way back to Upas where we parked.

Another Great Hike!

No comments:

Post a Comment