27-May-2001 -- For a confluence so close to so many people (doubtless many GPS owners (users??) among them), it hasn't been visited often enough :). Actually, judging from the different pictures it only has been visited once..., if at all! It doesn't really look like that any 2 visitors have located the confluence in the same spot. This visit was the first one since Selective Availability has been disabled and the first that shows a GPS shot. Reception at the confluence was very good and the GPS showed an EPE of 1.
After a big lunch with family on Memorial Day I found myself in LA only about 6 miles from this confluence with some time on my hands, so I decided to check it out. I offered this exciting outdoor activity to the others present, but the malls, movies and video games prevailed. So I borrowed my brother-in-law's digital camera and went by myself. Not being familiar with the camera I didn't notice the date stamp until I reviewed the pictures at home when it was to late to figure out how to turn that annoying feature off.
When driving south from freeway 60 to the hills/mountains of Whittier a transition from the typical LA landscape, i.e. freeways, concrete, industrial buildings, residential houses to a more rural surrounding occurs. The homes in the canyons around the confluence are far apart and there are a number of very nice (translation: pricey) homes, one of which is shown by one of the other visitors. Driving up the canyon it became apparent why 4 visits could come up with such different pictures. I ended up taking a different set yet. The canyons in the area are quite narrow, with steep walls, almost gorgelike in places.
I parked right at the confluence of two canyons; Athel Drive and Oak Canyon Drive are the respective roads. Picture 2 shows the canyon east of where I parked at Athel Drive, this looks quite similar to picture 1 in visit #1. The confluence is to the right and up; picture 3 shows the hill I scrambled up. The point these pictures were taken from is only about 40m horizontally from the confluence, but unfortunately also some 30m below the confluence. The dirt on the side of the canyon was very loose and since it had rained everything was wet, which made for a messy affair. I found the confluence to be located on the 'nose' of a little ridge; Athel drive to one side, Oak Canyon to the other. There was some evidence that the local kids know this spot well; I saw some toys under a bush and a couple of balloons had been tied to some tree branches. The bushes are fairly dense so it is not easy to take a picture of the confluence itself. Picture 1 is the best I could manage; the confluence is in the very foreground. Picture 4 shows some houses on the other side of the canyon, the grass in the foreground is at the confluence; this gives an idea how narrow the canyon is. Pictures 5-7 are a zoom series towards freeway 60 and they show what it 'really looks like' in the LA area. Picture 8 shows a view to the southwest; the canyon on that side is wider. I believe the house and yard featured in visit #3 are in that canyon. Finally picture 9, the GPS shot, shows that I got all zeros.
So after visiting the confluence and seeing the terrain I believe that all the other visits may well have been within 100m of the spot that I found. Except for the direction up along the ridge I stood on, 100m would have put me down some 30-40m into either canyon.