1. I've got a dentist/therapist/podiatrist appointment.
2. My cat/aunt/neighbor died.
3. My refrigerator/dryer/transmission needs repairs.
4. I have a rash on my back/scalp/down below.
Any of the above excuses work for getting you out of work so you can escape to the West Fork of the San Gabriel River for some hiking, biking or fishing. The paved access road borders the clear-water creek for eight miles from the access gate to Cogswell Dam. The road makes for a great place to jog or ride but I couldn't resist the fishing. About a mile from the gate where the road begins, the creek meets up with Bear Creek. At this confluence I found the trout biting like angry pit bulls. On weekends, the path and the river are clogged with anglers, hikers and bathers so I suggest you check it out on a weekday. Remember: This area is designated for "catch-and-release" fishing with barbless hooks only. Be on the lookout for bear, which hunt for trout without such restrictions.
Direction: From the 210 Freeway, take the Azusa Ave exit (State Route 39) and head up into the mountains. Just as you enter the forest, stop by the ranger station on your right to get you daily pass ($5) to park in the forest. (If you get caught parking without a pass, you will get a citation, requiring you to buy a pass.) Continue for 14 miles and after you pass the Off Road Vehicle access area on your right, look for a parking lot and a gated road on your left. That is the access point for the West Fork path.
(Photo: A trout caught with a barbless hook. Credit: Hugo Martin)