Week 217: Sepulveda Golf Complex

September 27, 2020

 Encino/Balboa Golf Course/Juan Bautista de Anzo National Historic Trail, 3.2 mile roundabout. 

This hike blended serendipity with a touch of history, inspired by Barbara's idea to explore the paths around the golf courses west of the Sepulveda Basin. We knew the golf courses encompassed an area west of the Basin, east of Balboa Blvd, and north to Victory, at least 6 miles around with multiple routes, but had no route to follow and no idea how to create our own shortened version. We parked in the Encino/Balboa Golf Courses parking lot and then...clueless, asked a woman for advice. Our ad hoc trail master sent us off on a solid, clockwise, 3.2 mile roundabout. Mile #1 followed the Balboa Golf Course fence west, a cement path busy with bikers, hikers, joggers, and dog walkers on our side of the fence, and golfers and geese on the other. Just before the LA River bridge on Balboa Blvd., the path bends right to a dirt trail marked "Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail." There's something intriguing about following 230-year-old footsteps, and knowing that made mile #2 along the LA River more interesting. Juan Bautista de Anza (1736–1788) was one of the founding fathers of Spanish California, and took 230 people with him on an expedition from Tubac (Tucson) to establish a mission and Presidio on the unexplored San Francisco Bay. The mile trail we followed today is a tiny portion of their successful 1,210 mile journey to the Bay, but it's still historic and it's lovely. Thanks to the US National Park Service, the trail is well-kept with lush riparian growth edging the section of the river on our left; on our right, the towering trees and smooth greens of the golf course. No bikes allowed along this part of trail, but there were plenty of hikers, some with deliriously happy dogs for company, so of course we stopped to say hello. Mile #3 began at a bend where we followed the fence and re-entered the "golf course" path. Here, two paths parallel: the outside path for bikes, the inside path for people. A few hundred feet before we reached the parking lot, we stopped to test some of the exercise equipment (God, I miss the gym) before we ended the hike at the car, so happy we decided to explore this area. This one goes on our "quick and easy" list—it's a fast, good workout whether you hike it, jog it, or wear out Rover on it. We'll be back.






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