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Franklin Canyon Series #1

Geographical Information

State - California
Region - Southern
County - Los Angeles
Nearest City - Beverly Hills

Box Information

Placed by - Gnosis 4-H Club 
Placed On - July 17th, 2003
Books Replaced On - October 16, 2004
Number of Boxes - 3
Contact the Placer

This is the original Lower Franklin Canyon Series, at least, the three boxes that survived for 18 months in the park. The Upper series has been retired and will not be replaced due to the number of times boxes went missing - one averaged once per month. The lower areas of the canyon, however, receive much less foot traffic and plans are already underway to expand the series down to the ranch and discovery trail areas, as well as the challenging overlook point.
If you had already claimed the stamps from the lower series, these are the same ones you have in your log.

Accessibility Information

General Rating - Moderate
Open to strong walkers or babies in carriers. Distance can be covered at a walking pace of 1 to 1.5 miles per hour with no inclines of greater than 400 feet. Trail may not be suitable for wheeled transportation or the visually impaired. Box is accessible to children. Boxes located less than two miles from parking area.

Specific Details
This series takes you on a loop of just over one mile. The "moderate" rating is because there are two steep stairways with no railings and the path is narrow in parts. The final box, Knotty Oak, can be accessed on its own from a fully paved road and is fully accessible to all, including those in wheel chairs or strollers.

Directions and Location Information

Franklin Canyon Park is part of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, charged with saving what is left of the only mountain range inside of a major city. The park is open seven days a week, 365 days a year, from sunrise to sunset. As it is a natural area, be aware that there may be snakes, deer, coyotes, foxes, and very pushy waterfowl and squirrels. 

"This park has a history steeped in the forces which created the bustling metropolis of Los Angeles, oil and water. The Department of Water and Power created a reservoir and power system in Franklin Canyon during the turn of the century and the system is still in use today. The Doheny Family, of oil fame, used the canyon as a summer retreat and a place to graze and water their cattle. During the 1970's the canyon was set for development when Sooky Goldman and Congressman Howard Berman encouraged the Department of Water and Power and the National Park Service to make Franklin Canyon a Park for posterity."
From the Santa Monica Mountains Franklin Canyon Park Website

From the West Side, head north on Beverly Drive following signs to Coldwater Canyon. Turn left on Coldwater/Beverly Drive and turn left again on Beverly Drive , at Fire Station No. 2. The third right is Franklin Canyon Dr. continue through residential area to park entrance. At the intersection of Franklin Canyon and Lake Drive turn left to continue towards Franklin Canyon Lake. As you round the lake, you'll be on a one-way road. Ignore the various turn-offs and side roads until you come to a "T" in the road. At the T, you can either turn right to continue on to the Sooky Goldman Nature Center or turn left to remain on the one-way road and follow the lake around the other side. You want to turn left.

Follow the road around the lake until you come to a stop sign at the south-east corner. Turn left and park in the first dirt turnoff on the right. You can then walk back up the short ways to the stop sign and the start of the series.

From the San Fernando Valley, From the Ventura Freeway (101) or Ventura Blvd. take Coldwater Canyon Boulevard south to the intersection of Coldwater Canyon and Mulholland Drive. Make a 90 degree right turn onto Franklin Canyon Dr. There is no street sign "Franklin Canyon." Road signs read "Road Closed 800 Feet" "Sunset to Sunrise"; this is the park entrance. Do NOT make a "U-Turn" for this will bring you onto Mulholland Drive instead of Franklin Canyon. Stay on paved surface and go past the Sooky Goldman Nature Center parking area. Just past the parking area, you'll come to a "Y" in the road where you can go left to proceed the wrong way down a one-way road (bad idea) or bear right to stay going the correct way (good idea). Turn left.

Follow the road around the lake until you come to a stop sign at the south-east corner. Turn left and park in the first dirt turnoff on the right. You can then walk back up the short ways to the stop sign and the start of the series. You could try to park here on your way by the first time, but the road is very narrow and it tends to annoy other drivers if you become stuck.

Clues

At the eastern corner of the upper lake, the vehicle road forms a "T" with the one-way road continuing to the right and around the lake and a second road going left and down further into the canyon. This is an all-way stop for vehicles. 

Across from the lake, you will see a very clear trail with wood step supports winding up the mountain. Head up that trail and enjoy the shade oaks as you follow the road (on your right) and begin the hunt.

#1 - Franklin Canyon Box

At the fork in the trail, take a left and continue up the hill a bit longer. A short time later, you will come to the first real clearing along this path, on your right around an impressive shade tree. Face the tree with your back to the path, looking in the general direction of the road. Follow the far edge of the clearing around to the left and you will spot a large, three trunk tree just beyond the clearing, down the hill slightly. The box is hidden where the trunks come together at the base.

#2 - Natural Archway Box

Head back onto the trail, continuing in the way you were going before. As you crest the hill and enter a sunny area, be sure and look off to your right, above the far mountains to spot the circling red-tailed hawks that inhabit this canyon.

After a short walk along the path (plants sometimes encroach on this little used trail), you will come to an area where a large, bushy tree has grown up and over the trail, forming a natural archway - and the first real shade to be found since leaving the last box.

While standing under this archway, look to your left, where the trunks of the tree have their start. The box is behind the middle trunk, under some growing vines and dead plant matter.

#3 - Knotty Oak Box

Continue back on the trail in the same way you've been going and, just a few feet ahead, you'll come to a point where you must go left, uphill, or right, downhill. Turn right and start down, taking care to use the wood supported steps instead of the water path beside it.

Continue down to where the trail meets the vehicle road again. The left most road leads to more trails of increasing difficulty and will be the home of additional boxes in the near future. The moderate left road leads out of the canyon towards the Beverly Hills side. You want to follow the road to the right, back up the mountain towards the upper lake. 

After a restful stroll along the asphalt - a nice break if the trail was particularly overgrown during your visit - you'll come to a "Y" where the left road is quite closed down by four large boulders and a trashcan. Continuing on the road for only a few yards, you will notice a foot path cutting off and up the mountain to the right. This is the path you ignored earlier on your way to the first box. 

Go up the path 15 paces from the road to where, on the right, a large oak tree is flaunting it's roots by sticking them in the air for one and all to see. The oak has two main trunks and the box is located between them, on the ground just behind. There is no need to climb the hill here, you can reach the box from the front by going to one side or the other of the main root ball.

You can now continue back up the road to where you parked.

 

2004, Gnosis 4-H Club
The 4-H name and 4-H logo are service marks protected under 18 U.S.C. 707.

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