Los Padres National Forest
First, I think I should point out that this hike ended with a law enforcement officer telling me that I could not legally get to the place I was standing. This hike should not be followed unless you have obtained better information from an authoritative source.
A few months back, I noticed a line of geocaches on the geocaching map in a place I did not expect to see any extending from 150. With a bit of excitement, I looked at the descriptions to find someone had chatted with the firefighters at the local station and been told it was fine to hike along the fire road. Firefighters are often knowledgeable sources for such things. These were all about 4 years old and the logs all come in the theme of "I had a delightful little hike". No one is trying to be sneaky and no one had any trouble, so I thought I would have a delightful little hike getting to see Lake Casitas and White Ledge and everything else from a different point of view too.
|Lake Casitas is so low, the boat launch does not even get near to the water.|
|Some local wildlife with beautiful turquoise spots.|
The road climbs a short way up to the ridge, then follows along it, rolling and climbing some more. It was quite an easy walk. I could check out the lake as I could not before. Motorboats raced around it and the island was decidedly not an island. Above me, I could see the area where I was camping a week ago. All as expected.
|Inlets at Chismahoo and Willow Creeks with the dam behind.|
|The fire road undulates in front of White Ledge Peak.|
|More Lake Casitas infrastructure for public recreation.|
|Woolly blue curls are out in abundance all over.|
|Casitas Fire Station from above.|
|The bushes are doing the flowering thing too.|
I came to a remnant of gate and fencing and noticed a tall Forest Reserve boundary post off to my right. That is always exciting to find. A sign next to the fencing states the land I had just been through was Forest Service, but is facing the wrong way around. It had me confused as I did not have my maps along to consult. There was no indication that this was any more than informative, so I continued on.
|The Pine Mountain and Zaca Lake Forest Reserve boundary post, just 110 years young.|
From the boundary post on, I was perfectly fine to be hiking the ridge. The only difficulty, how to get there? The ridge above has more surprises to find in the form of large posts that I suspect were oil wells or some other claim along with the increasing views of the surrounding land.
|Laguna Ridge, the island that is not an island, and Lake Casitas.|
|This post says "Myers W. S. L. well" and notes the range, township, and section.|
|Ranches below and almost a view of an island.|
|Superior Ridge, where there are uranium claims, and Santa Ana Valley. Topatopa Bluffs in the far distance.|
|Another post with a concrete base. This one says "H. O. C. Dunshee No. 2" plus the range, township, and section and a date: 1908.|
Then I heard a car coming up the road and stepped off to the side to let it pass, except it did not pass. I was told that the initial portion of my hike was Bureau of Land Reclamation land and was closed to all. The firefighters have a special permit to use it. It is interesting that the same bureau is quite happy to have crowds of people next to the lake and on the lake spewing oils and gas into the water (but do not dare to touch it with your skin, that would cause pollution), but I cannot walk quietly along a road on the other side of a state highway. I had a nice air conditioned ride back to my car at the gate. I noticed he had straightened the sign at the gate so it could now be read.
©2015 Valerie Norton
Posted 30 April 2015