Los Padres National Forest
DAY 1 | DAY 2
(Day 2 of 2) It is warm enough now that getting up in the dawn light before the sun is easy. The marine layer that held the coast yesterday has been completely cleared out this morning. The gusty winds overnight probably made that happen. Carpinteria is spread out below as I perch on my dinning room rock having breakfast. Oil derricks spot the ocean and the misty forms of Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Island rise where there was piled cloud before.
|The southwesterly view down the canyon beside White Ledge Camp.|
Grabbing my gear, I set out on the return. Like the return from the end of the trail to the camp site, it is harder to follow the trail in this direction. An apparent space in the brush tempts me to a ridge line with no more trail. It does not take long to find the missed turn, but it is disconcerting. My footprints are harder to see after the wind, but still generally give clues as to the correct direction.
|A more southerly canyon shows Casitas Pass and the misty shape of Anacapa Island.|
|A rusted can left in a rock shelter tells of long gone passers by who did not practice "leave no trace".|
|Clouds over the Sespe.|
|Lake Casitas with layers of mainland coastline vanishing into the mist.|
|Back to the dirt slide above the Divide Peak OHV Route.|
Navigation is quite easy when back at the Divide Peak OHV Route. I head off to Divide Peak because it is close to my route and an easy walk. Also, if I go directly back, I will get there soon enough to feel like I did not plan enough and there are some geocaches I can look for. On the way, there is a gentle drone, then the passing stink, of a single motorcycle. After a short wait up on the hill at the end of the effective route, the drone and stink repeat and the motorcycle is gone again.
|Prints from a fellow traveler.|
|The last of the original set of JUNCAL benchmarks on the lower peak of Divide.|
|Looking out toward Noon Peak from Divide Peak.|
I hit both peaks before heading back to Monte Arido Trail. There is no marking for this trail and hikers seem to try to use different routes to meet the OHV route, so again it helps to have just come from there to find it again.
|This horny toad that did not match the rocks and sand so well was much better at posing for the camera.|
|Prickly phlox along the side of the road.|
|Excessive cairns make a nice spot for a lizard.|
Back at the saddle, there are a couple more excursions to get more geocaches. The first gets me to inch down the far side and see what it is like, which is nice since I have only gone as far as the reservoir from the other side on my way to Franklin Trail. I go as far as a nice spot with a few trees before turning back. A little further is another old campground, but much less lost.
|Pleasant spots await the hiker down this way.|
The other excursion is up past Murietta Dam, a small earthen dam presumably placed to give animals another water source. I am wondering if it will have water again and what might be found in it, so happy to take the extra effort to go up and see it. As it turns out, it does still have water.
|The view down Murietta Canyon.|
|Murietta Dam, the water it traps, and the Santa Ynez beyond.|
After the excursions, I head back down along the road. It is odd to not be able to pick out the campground location by the lights of campers at it or see that there must be another little spring above the road below the trail since these are spots I have only traveled in the dark.
|A thistle harbors a couple butterflies for a moment.|
|A marshy spot and the sound of water through a culvert hint at a second spring near the road.|
|Back to Matilija and looking down on the ranch.|
©2015 Valerie Norton
Posted 2 April 2015