Bicycle Dog Walks

August 21, 2016

Welcome. Here are the adventures of Shaun and his dogs Lama and Maggie.

Lama is a 13 year old male Lhasa Apso. He has been riding mopeds, motorcycles and bicycles for many years, almost daily. Lama rides in the rear basket most of the time.

Maggie is a 6 year old female Whippet-Shepard mix. She is lean and long and built for running, like a Greyhound. Maggie walks or runs alongside the bicycle, on a leash.

Shaun, Lama, and Maggie have been exploring the sidewalks of Buena Park, Anaheim, Fullerton and beyond, for 2 or 3 years.


1. Aug 19 2016 – West Coyote Hills

2. Aug 28 2016 – Puente Hills Oil Field



 1. Aug 19 2016 – West Coyote Hills

Surrounded by the urban cities La Mirada, La Habra, Fullerton, and Buena Park, West Coyote Hills rises a few hundred feet above the coastal floodplain of the Los Angeles basin. It contains a dozen parks, a large regional park (Clark Park), many miles of horse paths, hiking and bicycling trails, and on top a large nature preserve. Separated by a gap, there are also the East Coyote Hills, also with a regional park (Craig Park), and many trails and parks.

2016-08-19 1 Start of ride steep uphill at West Coyote Hills Tree Park

1. Start of this ride was the Rosecrans Trail, here a super steep uphill at Tree Park.

2016-08-19 2 Top of upper trail of Tree Park looking west

2. Top of Tree Park looking west, along Coyote Hills Drive















Since the 1890’s the top of Coyote Hills was an oil field. In the 1970’s it had a hundred oil wells, access roads, tanks, and basins. In the 1980’s oil extraction ceased, and all of the West Coyote Hills oil field was vacated. The top became a nature preserve, while the surrounding slopes became housing developments. Chevron Corporation owns the top of Coyote hills, the largest tract of undeveloped land in north Orange County. The top of West Coyote Hills is a fenced off, vacant, wild area dedicated to preserving the endangered California knatcatcher, the burrowing owl, and other birds and wildlife. 


2016-08-19 3 Top of upper trail of Tree Park looking north

3. Top of upper trail of Tree Park looking north

2016-08-19 4 Connector trail from Tree Park to Grissom Park passes through eucalyptus woods

4. Rosecrans trail from Tree Park to Grissom Park passes through eucalyptus woods















This beautiful bike ride began at the bottom of Tree Park, on Coyote Hills Drive. The Rosecrans trail there has a lower trail along the creek bed, but we took the challenging upper trail. That first steep section is off limits to bicycles. It is so steep that it is difficult to walk up. Dogs are able to walk up steep hills better than us big headed bipeds. Once at the top, hikers are rewarded with a view. The Rosecrans trail then winds around to the northern end of Gus Grissom Park. 


2016-08-19 5 Virgil Gus Grissom Park

5. Virgil “Gus” Grissom Park

2016-08-19 6 Maggie, Lama, Shaun rest at Grissom Park

6. Maggie, Lama, Shaun rest at Grissom Park












The first rest stop was Gus Grissom Park, a long rolling strip of drought-dried grass. Virgil “Gus” Grissom (1926 – 1967) was a fighter pilot, a Mercury, Gemini and Apollo 1 astronaut. The park is long and thin because it follows a creek bed. The west side has a U-shaped concrete drainage ditch, which is extremely fun to ride in. Riding on the sloping concrete sides of the drain is like leaning over while cornering. Too bad Maggie was jerking the leash, preventing the bicycle slalom. It would be fun to weave up and down the sides of the downhill sloping half pipe.


7 Eating at Subway, where the dogs get most of the meat

7. Eating a sub. Dogs get most of the meat.

8 Robert E Ward Nature Preserve

8. Robert E Ward Nature Preserve












Grissom Park ends at Rosecrans Ave, where we turned east to get lunch in the shopping center at Euclid and Rosecrans. There are several fast food and Korean restaurants there. Subway was the dogs choice. They are used to eating out, where they have to wait alone while the food is being ordered and prepared. Here you can see they are relaxed, but alert and watching the unfamiliar parking lot.  

9 Ward Nature Preserve native flora

9. Ward Nature Preserve native flora

10 Ward Nature Preserve top gate

10. Ward Nature Preserve top gate











After lunch the dog pack rode north on Euclid, alongside a large very old concrete drainage channel. In less than a half-mile, they came to the Nora Kuttner Trail. It runs west-east along the southern edge of the Robert E Ward Nature Preserve, climbing up from Euclid Ave in a straight line. Bicycles come zooming down at 40 mph in a cloud of dust, skimming across sand patches. The mountain bikes go so fast there, that they made a separate trail for hikers and horses. 

11 Ward Nature Preserve top view

11. Ward Nature Preserve top view looking northeast

12 Native Prickly Pear cactus and Pepper trees everywhere

12. Native Prickly Pear cactus and Pepper trees everywhere















At the top of the Nora Kuttner trail is a sandstone bluff with a terrific view. The sedimentary layers there are very flat, so there are soft sandy flat areas perfect for camping, if it was allowed. Rounded river rocks are mixed in with the fine grain sand, like the way a stream is. The sandstone there is part of the La Habra Formation from the Pleistocene period. Before the hills rose up, they were under the shallow ocean at times, so there are both marine and land sediments under the Los Angeles Basin, and exposed in places like Coyote Hills. 


13 Top of Nora Kuttner Trail looking east

13. Top of Nora Kuttner Trail looking east

14 Lama pulls, only on the way back

14. Lama pulls, only on the way back

















2. Aug 28 2016 – Puente Hills Oil Field

In eastern Los Angeles County, east of Harbor Blvd, south of Diamond Bar, north of Brea, and west of the 57 Freeway, are miles of mostly empty hills. In the 1960’s the summit there was a military base with nuclear missile silos. It is now a communications antenna site, surrounded by 2-3 miles of cattle pasture.

tumbleweed at Myrons Mopeds back door

Young Kali tragus at Myrons back door

The native plants there are generally not the tender edible ones, since the cows eat the grasses and soft leaves. Instead the dominant shrubs are tumbleweeds (Russian thistle, Kali tragus), with some wild sunflowers and other spiny plants. No native prickly pear is present at all, while it is abundant in the neighboring hills. This area is like what most of Southern California was in the cattle ranch era in the early 1800’s, before agriculture and railroads. But the tumbleweeds were not here until the 1900’s, because their seeds came from a Russian shipment of flaxseed to South Dakota in the 1870’s. The weeds tumbled across all of the western United States in a few decades, occupying any and all areas of disturbed soil. Each mature plant spreads thousands of seeds. Young plants are tender and edible, so it is not such a bad thing for cattle ranching.

What a pleasure it is to escape from the modern city.

By far the most tender plant was the Buffalo gourd, also known as calabazilla, chilicote, coyote gourd, fetid gourd, fetid wild pumpkin, Missouri gourd, prairie gourd, stinking gourd, wild gourd, and wild pumpkin. See Wikipedia, Cucurbita foetidissima for more. It somehow can get water, perhaps from morning dew, when it has not rained for four summer months. And it somehow did not get eaten by cattle, perhaps because they have not been in that area lately.

1. East Puente Hills near summit

1. East Puente Hills near summit, a former nuclear missile launch site
The greenish tumbleweeds are non-native Russian thistle, Kali tragus.

2 Wild watermelon

2. native Buffalo gourd






3 native California Walnuts

3. native California walnut











California black walnuts

California walnuts

The hardly used oil field road passes through a group of native walnut trees. Dozens of one inch California black walnuts are lying on the pavement. Inside the edible meat part is small, and the outer shell is thick, not like modern walnuts. Most animals cannot crack them open. But humans can, using stones (or a hammer). A nut cracker or pliers cannot crack them open. The meat inside tastes good, like normal walnuts. They were a pleasant resource for native Americans, along with fresh water and asphalt tar at nearby Brea Creek, where it crosses the Whittier Fault.