Saturday, June 22, 2013

Box Canyon

1950s Cowboy TV shows often used the Box Canyon area as a backdrop. The dry brush and boulders were so much like the descriptions given by Zane Grey or Louis L'Amour, it was the perfect location, just an hour from Hollywood. These are the boulders seen on Gunsmoke and Bonanza.

The topography hasn't changed much despite the fire that clears the canyon once every ten years or so. Old trees wear the scars of past fires, tell the tale of survival.

Hardly barren, the area is full of life including mice, snakes, birds, squirrels and coyotes. The common trait of all these creatures, they are survivors.

This was one of the places my friends and I visited in our teen years. The stories of the haunted caves drew us from a few towns away. The caves were near the location of a plane crash that killed more than 30 people. They were also the home to members of the Manson family during the late 1960s. These caves were a source of youthful anxiety and many a 'dare you' statements.

Years after leaving the area, an occasion brought me back. It was nice to see our goat trials turned into wide hiking trails. Signs warn hikers not to play with the snakes. Small parking lots along the road provide safe places to park and serve as base to zealous hikers.

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