Temps in the low 60’s brought me to the Ojai area this week. The Ventura River Preserve is 1,600 acres with miles of well maintained trails. The area has a very “ranchy” feel – a lot of rolling, grassy land with some easy to moderate climbing. I look forward to coming back someday and finishing off the rest of these trails.
In hiking you just never know. On paper this seemed like a pretty straight forward and easy hike to a trail camp and then a large waterfall. In reality I found this hike to be uniquely difficult, ending the day feeling like I’d just had my rear end kicked. The good thing is that I have already learned from the experience and implemented a few changes for my next hike. My evolution continues.
This week I parked a little farther up CA-2, the same place I parked when I hiked to Vetter Mountain Lookout. This time I traveled in the opposite direction toward Mount Wilson. This is a short but tiring hike – the last couple of miles are uphill and the bottom section is along a rugged creek with many water crossings and downed trees across the trail. My turnaround point was West Fork Camp, which was also my turnaround for my Red Box to West Fork Camp hike. It feels good to connect trails. Another beautiful day in the San Gabriel Mountains.
This week I got it right. Last week I became confused, parked in the wrong lot and hiked the wrong road – Fire Road 2N79 to be precise. This week I found the trailhead and managed to stay on the right trail. While last week was a dirt road, this week was all trail and it was quite lovely. This is one of those upside down hikes. After an initial 1/2 mile climb, it’s all downhill for about another three miles until the trail reaches flat ground. Then it’s another 3/4 of a mile or so to Stonyvale Picnic Area, my turnaround point. The trail was wonderfully deserted. I only spoke to one person all day and that was a biker I met at the picnic area. I had a great time.