Las Llajas Canyon

I hiked in Las Lllajas Canyon once before a few years back. My plan was to start out on that same trail, La Llajas Canyon Road, and then then break off and go find an abandoned mine site and an old excavator that’s been sitting up in the hills for decades. I had to scuttle that idea when I couldn’t find the spur trail. Instead I stuck with the fire road until it connected with Rocky Peak Trail. I was slightly disappointed I never found the turn-off, either coming or going. However, I’ve been yearning for a simple, straightforward hike. Just to get on the dirt, mind vacant of abstract distractions,  and rhythmically put one foot in front of the other.
Hiking Distance: 9 miles

Driving Directions: From the 118 Fwy. in Simi Valley, exit on Yosemite Ave. Head north 1.3 miles to Evening Star Dr. Turn right and drive 0.4 miles to the trailhead on the left. There’s plenty of street parking available.

        The trailhead is very well signed. I took the paved road a few yards to a T-junction, then took a right down into the canyon.  Photo 2 – Healthy yucca growing out of a crack between pavement and concrete.

               

Near the bottom of the hill the paved road turns to dirt.

             A small creek runs beside.  There are roads that break off left and right and lead to private property, some have bee hives.

               

Atop this near vertical hill, a small tree sits in lotus pose. It recognizes the danger it’s in but does not succumb to fear. Calm in the face of chaos is always the best reaction.

               

I love walking on the bottoms of canyons. I can’t help but feel protected being hugged between two massive hillsides.

             Photo 1 – Shirt and pants hung up in a tree. When I last hiked here it was a different get up, brightly-colored shirt and shorts complete with tennis ball “breasts”.  Photos 2 and 3 – More hives, but I didn’t see any honey bees flying around today.

               

Photo 1 – Acute Contrails

   There are two concrete creek crossings less than two miles in. The spur trail that leads up to Coquina Mine was supposed to be right around here. I examined a couple of photographs showing it marked with a rock. I saw nothing like this. On my way back I asked a young woman if she knew where the mine trail was. She took me to a spot and seemed confident. I couldn’t see any trail. She said that it had partially collapsed during the winter rains and it was also very overgrown now. I have to come back one day to find it. Won’t feel right until I do.

               

I continued on the mostly flat fire road.

   Weird Wood

               

   Some of the hills have visible layers of limestone.

             Photo 3 – I spoke to another hiker for a couple of minutes.  When I reached into my front pack her dog thought I was going to give a treat. But I had nothing for her. Sorry, my love.

               

               

The further into the canyon I traveled, the more beautiful the hills became.

               

After about 3 1/2 miles I reached a split in the road. The left fork leads to a private ranch. I took the right fork toward Rocky Peak Trail.

   It’s uphill from here, but the incline isn’t too harsh.

             This little rabbit was curious, I guess. He would hop toward me, take cover for a couple of seconds, and then hop a bit closer. I think animals can sense when a human means no harm.

             The road swung around a turn. Things began to look familiar. When I was on this trail last, green grass covered the hills.

   This lone oak is what I remembered best.

               

Photo 1 – Looking back into Las Llajas Canyon.  Photo 2 – Roads merged ahead.  I had reached Rocky Peak Trail.

               

   On the ridge I had a nice view of Oat Mountain.

   Now totally alone except for my thoughts.

        Rested and fed, I began my return trip.

               

   Kingsnake crossing the trail. He slithered in front of me.  It felt like he was challenging me. We ended our encounter as friends and he slithered into the bushes.

               

A couple other creatures I ran into on the way back – a fat, black bee and a horned lizard.

               

        Finding Peace.  The trail is where I feel most alive and, when it’s my time, where I hope to die.  Can’t think of a better place.

               

   When I reached the T-junction near the trailhead, I kept going up the paved road just to see what I could see.  Just more great views is all.

             Before heading home I took a short detour down Box Canyon Rd. This windy little drive has a few interesting pieces of art sitting just off the road.  Photo 2 – A castle-like house somehow stands above, built on solid rock, it appears.

   The Box Canyon Flying Pig. When I last saw him he was all pink. Now he has been painted a patriotic red, white and blue.

   Near Mesa Rd. there is a sandstone carving of a woman’s face. Stopping right in front of it was kind of dangerous.  I made a quick and sharp turn into an abandoned driveway. I then had to back out into traffic, blind curves in both directions.

I had a fun day.  It was great to be able to hike in Simi Valley this close to Summer.

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