Los Padres National ForestClick for map.
I seem to be out to "clean up" my climbed peaks on the Hundred Peaks List by making sure any drive ups actually have a climb. To that end, I plotted a climb up Figueroa Mountain. Sure, I will notice a curious lack of climbers on Peakbagger for the peak as I log it because it is not, in fact, on the list, but let us not get confused by the facts. (This seems to be a lesson I am constantly relearning for nearby Zaca Peak, too. These two peaks that sit so prominently in my mind as a Santa Barbara based person just are not that important to those based in Los Angeles. Besides, they are both too short.) Since I just did Davy Brown Trail, I looked to nearby Munch Canyon. Just have to find it. I know there is an old gate at the start and probably nothing else to mark it.
|One side of a double gate for an old road and a couple stickers to indicate this is a trail. This is the start of Munch Canyon Trail.|
Everything starts off wide and flat, not a canyon at all. Grasses scattered with oak trees and one has dropped a large branch on the trail soon along the way. Some walk around it tightly and some wander all the way to the Sunset Valley Trail as it continues on its gentle path to the left. Another gate, marked with a few trail stickers, blocks the old road. A trail wanders off to the right going who knows where while the one I want heads off along the road some more. It comes to yet another gate set just behind an older gate and now strengthened by a fallen tree. I have never seen so many gates in such a short length. Another unmarked trail heads off to the right through the thick chaparral.
|How many gates are needed? There does seem to be another old road coming in just before this from somewhere.|
Past the gate, it starts to look a lot more like a canyon. The tree behind the gate is not the only one along the trail. There is a nice, big one shortly after it right along the trail and decaying quite a bit. I would say it has been there a while, but the walk around trail in the soft dirt does not seem all that well established. The recent trail work has me thinking about what the state of the trail is, and so noting the huge, decaying tree trunk instead of just walking along the side of it. Past it, I cross a dry stream bed, but soon after, I can hear the music of water in the canyon below. Water is getting to be an elusive critter even in the winter. One bit flowing, the next bit dry and not even showing underground water by the plants that grow.
|Small pools as the water flows through the canyon.|
After a little listening to the music, the trail turns and starts to climb. Withing the canyon, it has very little memory of once being a road, but as it climbs, it becomes obvious again. Although a road, it is still quite steep. Erosion cuts across it at one spot leaving only the smallest dirt bridge to cross. It turns back and there is a bit of a view.
|View is not the expected thing for a canyon trail.|