Davy Brown Trail

It felt like it took forever to get to this hike in Santa Ynez.  Beyond that, the trails were quite tough in their own unique way.  I enjoyed the shade and the solitude and the feeling that I really was out in the middle of nowhere.  However, the trail was really overgrown, especially with poison oak, and is also poorly signed.  This was a fine adventure but again, the almost three hours it took to get there was just a bit too much.

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Middle Sespe Trail

The trailhead is about a 20 mile drive from Ojai and is the same one I used to hike to the Piedra Blanca rock formation a few months ago.  The trail took me through Rose Valley and, while beautiful, the scenery doesn’t change all that much throughout the hike.  I loved the solitude and didn’t see a single person on the trail.  I hated the constant noise of gunfire from the nearby shooting range.  Sad to think that, in such a lovely natural area, one person standing a few miles away can be responsible for a noise that echoes throughout the valley.  It’s not a gun issue with me, it’s a noise issue.

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Mount Islip

Pronounced “Eye-slip”.  Mixed feelings about this hike – the trail itself and my own performance.  As I have stated before I am not a fan of heights, in particular narrow trails with steep drop-offs.  That kind of trail, I am finding, seems to be commonplace in the San Gabriel Mountains.  After walking up three miles with the trail mostly skirting the edge of the mountain, I turned around just before the summit.  That was disappointing to be sure as I looked forward to visiting the ruins of an old lookout tower which sits on top and 360 degree views.  As I headed back down I began to try to turn things around – to learn something from the experience.  I thought of several things I could work on, both physically and mentally, to better my situation.  I’m optimistic that I will return here one day and conquer Mount Islip.

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Mount Hillyer

Last week Southern California was in the grips of a heat wave so I decided not to hike.  Instead I drove up the Angeles Crest Highway and into the San Gabriel Mountains, stopping at various landmarks, campsites and trailheads so I could better familiarize myself with the area.  The first 30 or so photos are from that drive.  I come back this week to Mount Hillyer and a great hike on beautiful day.  The conditions were perfect for me, cool and clear with swirling clouds decorating the sky.  The trails leading to the top of Mount Hillyer are well maintained and, for the most part, easy to follow.  There’s a real mountainous feel to the area with it’s pine trees and clean, crisp air.  This lollipop shaped hike is only moderately difficult.

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