13 April 2017

Channel Islands University Park

Link to map.

This area was formerly Camarillo Regional Park, but was transferred from the county to the state with the provision that the state would take on all the use requirements for the area. One of these requirements is that a publicly accessible park be maintained. Apparently this does not preclude a parking fee because the general $6 per day fee for the university applies here too. Areas outside the gate would allow a bit of free parking, but has been marked "no parking". There is some free parking on Lewis Road, nearly a half mile away. Being with my mother, she chose to pay the fee rather than walk the extra mile. There is no toilet, the only amenity gained for the fee is a dirt parking lot.

grassy bits heading up to low, rocky peaks
But it is a pretty spot.

01 April 2017

Matias Trail

Los Padres National Forest

Link to map.

The trail just wanders through some beautiful country and an approximate plan was hatched quite some time ago to see it. Putting the finishing touches on it, I dropped off my bike at the crest of the road by La Cumbre Peak and parked the car at the top of Arroyo Burro. The bike will take care of most of the paved road walking very well and extraordinarily easily. The Glass Factory is already booming with a large variety of explosions from five or six groups of target shooters. Slow and measured or fast and finishing off a clip, there are all kinds of shooters. About two people notice me as I walk past behind them with my fingers in my ears against the sometimes painful level of noise. Happily, no one is set up on the road or up the hill next to it. There is relative calm past the gate and around the hill as the view quickly opens up. Being up high sure is good for views.

northern mountains
A view dominated by Little Pine Mountain with some taller things behind it. Sage Hill is on the left, but hard to distinguish against Loma Alta behind it.

I start down the fire road somehow not even noticing the trail until it is a cut on the next ridge. This is fine since I am not looking for it. Matias only gets as far as the road. The prickly phlox does not seem to be as abundant as it has been in the past. There are a few blooms of it, bush poppies, and a very crimson paintbrush along the edges. Far down in the valley, I can see the thin track of Matias winding through the bushes and grass. It seems to be most of the way down to the river.

Arroyo Burro Road
Slowly wandering downward on the road.

crimsom paintbrush
A bit of paintbrush dipped in a particularly deep shade of red.

31 March 2017


Waterfalls and mountain peaks and all the flowers along the way seem to have characterized this month.

The long time dry Tangerine Falls has a nice sheet of water.

Also long dry, I went to see the Ventura River. The pond past the preserve has been moist, though.

Celebrating the colors of the mountain at the top.

And celebrating more water from the top of Sage Hill.

28 March 2017

Sage Hill

Los Padres National Forest

Link to map.

Our forest is gaining fees for practically everything. Picnicking and trailhead parking are going to be $10 a day once all the infrastructure is in. Aliso Canyon will be one of these fee areas, but does not quite appear to be yet, although the Sage Hill Group Campground fee station makes no effort to point out the difference between it and the trailhead parking. (And, considering it designed for large groups, the posted fee schedule for "single" and "double" sites makes little sense.) Somehow I am at least four times as annoyed at the idea of paying $10 to a private company to use these public lands as I am to pay $5, with the option of a pretty cheap yearly pass, to the actual stewards of these public lands. (There are some hints about an annual pass, but at least a few of the avenues to obtain it are dead ends.) As such, I already have a plan for free parking in a lovely and very large turnout on the side of the main road that includes a little bit of the trail beside the river. Since there actually is a river to take in today, that is where I parked.

Sage Hill behind bits of river embellishments
Sage Hill from the Santa Ynez River flood plain. The remains of the bridge seem a little substantial for the "footbridge" marked on the map.

There is a bit of old road below the turnout, but this does not go far before dissolving into vegetation choked area with a cliff below. Walking down the road a short way is a much better way down, then cut across the day use area to the river. Exploring along the side, there are no rock hopping opportunities. It really is quite wide at the moment. I just pull off my shoes for the crossing. There are a few deep channels to avoid, but otherwise it is only up to my knees and not particularly swift. The rocks are sharp under my bare feet in a very slow moving section that is more like a shallow pool than river. Tadpoles even line the side of the slow water. The river trail on the far side is easy to find and follow around to the trailhead in the canyon.

Sage Hill
Sage Hill, the main target for today. A few spots of orange for poppies and yellow for invasive mustard.

My objective for today is to climb Sage Hill and I wanted to get to it while the flowers are plentiful, especially poppies. Clearly it is just a matter of picking a slope and walking up. Some slopes are better than others. First, though, I head for the canyon.

Aliso Canyon
Starting up Aliso Canyon late in the morning for lots of light. There is a little water here still.

California poppies
A small patch of California poppies in the canyon. These are the flowers that might be finishing up in a few weeks.