Dad and I had an adventure in May 2006…
- Travel to Burbank (LAX Airport to LA Union Station "FlyAway Bus" Service, Layover in Union Station, Connecting with Adele, and then Union Station to Downtown Burbank commuter rail service via Metrolink)
- Camping and Hiking Plans
- Getting back to LAX after the hike
- Trip Photos on Flickr
Travel to Burbank
LAX Airport to LA Union Station "FlyAway Bus" Service
The FlyAway buses pick up at every LAX terminal on the Arrival/Lower level under the green signs indicating "FlyAway, Buses and Long-Distance Vans." They depart LAX every 30 minutes on the hour and half-hour during the time Dad’s flight should be arriving.
According to the FlyAway website, "Passengers traveling from LAX to Union Station, and who did not previously purchase roundtrip tickets, must pay bus fare upon arrival at the ticket kiosk adjacent to LAX FlyAway stop at Berth 9 at Patsaouras Transit Plaza. Payment for tickets is with cash only."
When in doubt, just ask the driver how to pay for your ticket, and be sure to have cash on hand to pay for the $6 roundtrip ticket to Union Station.
Layover in Union Station
This is the advice I gave to Dad…
The FyAway bus will drop you off at berth 9 (the little beige circle 9 on the map) in the open-air bus plaza. You’ll want to go down the ramp, stairs, elevator or escalator to get one level down from the ground level of the bus plaza down into Union Station itself, and you can do that in the center of the gray oval of the bus plaza, or in the half-circular dome in the building across the street from berth 3.
Once you’re in the half-circular dome, make sure you take time to enjoy both the dome overhead and the tiled floor beneath your feet; they’re really neat. Visible from the center of the domed lobby, looking north, east and south, there’s an aquarium, snack counter, and neat fountains if you’ve got a layover. There’s also a big mural to the west, up above the entrance of the tunnel hallway that goes to the trains and the historic part of the station.
The escalator and stairs to the southwest from the domed lobby go down another level to the Metro Red Line subway but unless you’re actually taking the Red Line to go somewhere, you don’t need to go down there, and there’s not much to see aside from the wall-mounted neon art piece near the escalator, which is best observed from the top-of-the-escalator level:
If you’re traveling by Metrolink commuter train, you’ll want to buy your ticket either from a machine on the north wall of the tunnel-hallway that goes westward from the half-circular dome. If you have trouble with the machine, you can get help at the Metro Information Center counter where there are also MetroLink personnel along the north wall of the half-circular dome. Be sure you’re buying a Metrolink ticket if that is your intent; Metro is not the same thing as Metrolink.
Once you’ve got your ticket and can enjoy the rest of your layover, you’ll want to walk down the sloping tunnel hallway westward from the half-circular dome past tracks 1 through 12 into the historical part of Union Station, which has really lovely architecture. That’s the gray hallway and the black-circled 1-12 on the map above.
At the other end of the sloping tunnel is the big lobby with comfy chairs, a newsstand, coffeeshop and a restaurant that’s usually open for lunch and dinner (though the lunch service was really, really slow the day we were there; we would have needed two hours for lunch at least).
There’s also an outdoor garden waiting area just south of the newsstand and main lobby.
More information about Union Station architecture and history:
If your layover is really long, you may want to explore historic Olvera Street which is outside and across the intersection to the west of the historic side of Union Station a bit, but it’s very urban; if you have lots of gear, it’ll be impractical.
Connecting with Adele
The morning of Dad’s arrival, I worked a half-day and took the USC shuttle bus back to Union Station at mid-day. We met up easily in the center of the bus plaza.
Union Station to Downtown Burbank commuter rail service via Metrolink
The Downtown Burbank stop is the one closest tomy home. For the schedule we used, this direct link might work:
http://www.metrolinktrains.com/dds/index.php?schedule_id=10002 Or there’s
http://www.metrolinktrains.com/lines/schedules/ and select the schedule for "Burbank Airport".
The we stopped at home briefly, finished the meal we started at Union Station, finished loading the car, and drove to our campsite for the evening.
Camping and Hiking Plans
We had been hoping to car-camp overnight at a trailhead and test the stove(s) Friday night. Saturday morning we were hoping to pack up the backpacks and hike in somewhere between 5 and 10 miles, and then trail-camp Saturday night. Then on Sunday morning we would hike back out and return to Burbank.
If all is ideal, then we planned to head for the Chumash Wilderness in the Los Padres National Forest. We’d drive up the 5 freeway ~60 miles to the Frazier Mountain Park Road exit, take that westward for ~7 miles, and turn left at Lake of the Woods onto Lockwood Valley Road. The Chuchupate ranger station is ~1 mile along Lockwood Valley Road, on the left. We could chat with the ranger there if we got there by 4:30pm.
If we didn’t want to talk to the ranger or got there after the office closed, we’d go back to the Lockwood Valley Road turn and instead go west on Mil Potrero Highway through the town of Pine Mountain Club, to Apache Saddle. There we’d turn left onto Noroeste Road toward the Campo Alto campground, which is in the 8000s elevation.
So, where is this campground? Near the town of Pine Mountain Club, CA…
Yahoo! Map of Pine Mountain Club, CA
Google Map of Pine Mountain Club, CA
There’s a fairly detailed map of this area online at http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/lospadres/maps/rec/recmap_south_4.htm that includes the trails we’d be hiking.
There’s a wider-scale map of the whole southern portion of the Los Padres Natonal Forest at http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/lospadres/maps/rec/recmap_south.htm. I had detailed printed foldy maps of the area for us and for my roommate who knew our trip plans.
When I visited Campo Alto on 5/13/06, there were still a few small drifts of melting snow tucked in some corners of the campground area, and very few campers. The daytime temperatures were quite warm especially in the sunshine, but the shaded areas were nicer, and as sunset fell there was a chill in the shade.
There is a webcam pointed at Apache Saddle: Eric Mack’s Pine Mountain Club/Apache Saddle WeatherCam. That pages has lots of weather information as well as archived time-lapse movies of the past six days of webcam images.
And about where we’d be on Saturday night… we could hike over to the Sheep Camp trail-camp for the night, or if we’re feeling good on the trail, we might go to Lily Meadows trail-camp. If we decide to stay at Sheep Camp, we might do a little side trip over to the Mt. Pinos Condor Observation Site if we have binoculars with us.
If we don’t want to do that trail but do stay at Campo Alto, there’s another trail to out of Campo Alto to the Mesa Spring trail-camp instead.
Contingency Plan 1
Our first backup plan was to camp Friday night at Reyes Creek, southwest of the Chuchupate ranger station along Lockwood Valley Road some miles. The campground has a lovely creek flowing through it, but there were lots of campers there in the late afternoon of 5/13/06 when I visited. If we camp at Reyes Creek, we could hike the Gene Marshall Piedra Blanca trail to Upper Reyes or Beartrap trail-camps. Reyes Creek is in the 6000s elevation. This plan bridges the edges of these two maps:
Contingency Plan 2
Our second backup plan if for some reason one or both of us aren’t feeling well is to hike in Angeles National Forest, likely entering north of La Canada/ Altadena at Gould Mesa and then going to Oakwilde, Commodore Switzer, Bear Canyon and/or Millard. That’s on the Trail Map of the Angeles Front Country that we both have copies of.
Getting back to LAX after the hike
The Downtown Burbank stop is the one closest to home. For the schedule we used, this direct link might work:
Or there’s http://www.metrolinktrains.com/lines/schedules/ and select the schedule for "Burbank Airport".
If I’m headed to USC I usually catch one of the trains that departs Downtown Burbank between 6:40am and 7:55am depending on what my day’s schedule looks like, but we could take an earlier one or a later one depending on what time Dad needs to be at LAX. (Trains with "L" may depart up to five minutes early.) We bought Dad’s one-way ticket from Downtown Burbank to Union Station at the machine-kiosk at the Downtown Burbank station that morning.
I saw Dad to his FlyAway bus at Union Station before I hopped on my USC bus. Dad took the FlyAway bus from Union Station to LAX; they depart from berth 9 in the bus plaza every 30 minutes on the hour and half-hour from Union Station. Since Dad bought a roundtrip ticket for that bus before our hike, he could simply use the other half of it to get back to LAX.
More information abou LAX:
We ended up camping Friday night at Campo Alto as a storm blew through with a smattering of rain and tiny hail, leaving an amazing sunset just visible through the trees as we turned in for the night. We hiked in to Sheep Camp with beautiful weather on Saturday and set up camp there, and then hiked without weighty packs down to Lilly Meadows Camp and back up to Sheep Camp by evening, when the wind began to grow stronger. On Sunday we hiked under overcast skies through truly amazing wind back to the trailhead with a detour up near Sawmill Mountain, where it was sleeting a bit.
Feel free to browse my Flickr set of photos of this trip.