November 25th – Las Llajas Trail to the Shovel

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22 hikers met at the Las Llajas Canyon trailhead on Evening Sky Drive in Simi Valley on a temporarily cool autumn morning. We began our hike under a clear blue sky by descending a short paved section of road into the canyon bottom; from there we followed the wide well-graded dirt road upstream to the north 1.8 miles, crossing the dry stream bed three times.

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We then followed a slightly overgrown “use” trail (the remnants of an old mining road) as we climbed up the eastern slope of the mountain, atop which we enjoyed panoramic views of the surrounding area including parts of Chivo Canyon, Las Llajas Canyon, the Santa Susana Mountains, Simi Valley, and the San Fernando Valley; also today we could see part of Anacapa Island. We took a break when we reached our goal, the site of a coquina (a soft whitish limestone formed of broken shells and corals cemented together and used for road building) mining operation. Various mining equipment artifacts are strewn about near the mining site, most notably a P&H Model 206 “steam” shovel. The day had warmed up noticeably but we enjoyed a mild breeze as we retraced our route and returned to our vehicles having completed a pleasant 6.3-mile hike with 1,100’ of elevation gain/loss.

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November 18th – Work Party – The Hummingbird Trail

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Click here to watch a video of the event.

Great work party with a combination of Trailblazers and local Geocachers. Fourteen people showed up ready to work; basic tools and instructions were given out and off we went. Work was done on the first half a mile of trail, from the trailhead to the creek crossing. Our historian for the day, Cheri captured the pictures for us.

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We removed some rocks, trimmed trees, cleared the trail of brush, widened out some of the trail and even built a bridge going over a drainage pipe on one the little side creek crossings.

Much discussion about a variety things including, of course, solving the world’s problems, while work continued. At the end, we got to rest under some oaks and talk about the next project.

The Geocachers in the group made plans on continuing up the trail to find some of the Geocaches on Hummingbird trail.

A big thanks to all of those who pitched in today, including a foreign exchange student from Spain who chipped in and gave up their Saturday morning to help out the community and give back a comfortable trail to explore.

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November 11th – Devil Canyon to Browns Canyon Road

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23 hikers met at the starting point of the hike on Poema Place in Chatsworth on a cool autumn morning.  Our hike began as we descended into the heavily shaded bottom of Devil Canyon where we followed the remnants of the Devil Canyon Motorway upstream as it frequently crisscrossed the mostly dry creek bed. 

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We spotted chalk dudleya “liveforever” plants and blooming datura (aka jimson weed) as we made our way up to the large dam at the junction with the mouth of Ybarra Canyon.  After a brief rest break we continued upstream(bed) along the trail which from this point on had been transformed a few of years ago from single-track to a “one-lane” dirt road [the reason for this not being apparent though several short dirt “side roads”  and one long one heading north had also been created].  As the canyon widened we passed by grass-covered hillsides dotted with oak trees.  As we reached the upper-canyon Cathedral-like oak woodland, the trail reverted to its natural undisturbed state (including lots of fallen oak trees, presumably killed by wildfire and drought).  Upon reaching Brown’s Canyon Road we turned right (east) and hiked a short distance uphill where we took a break and enjoyed views to the south.  We retraced our route back to our vehicles and returned home having completed a very pleasant 9.8-mile hike in this unique canyon with about 1,200’ of elevation gain/loss.

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November 4th – Johnson Motorway to Rocky Peak

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22 hikers met at the trailhead on Iverson Road just outside the gated southern entrance to Indian Springs Estates in Chatsworth on a cool, clear autumn morning.  After following the easement through the upscale gated community, we reached the beginning of the unpaved Johnson Motorway (once a toll road). 

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The trail (an old dirt and sandstone roadbed) rose westward until it met a short “driveway” leading north to the ruins of the ranch house that was built by Ann and Neils Johnson who were the first English-speaking homesteaders in the San Fernando Valley; they had built their primary home in “Chatsworth Park” in the 1870’s.  Leaving the ruins, we followed the Johnson Motorway as it passed through a landscape of dramatic rock formations, climbing steadily, but not steeply, toward the Rocky Peak Fire Road; the temperature continued to be mild and there was an intermittent cool breeze.  After 3.5 miles we reached the fire road where we took a short break.  We then headed southward along the Rocky Peak Fire Road enjoying views of interesting rock formations and Simi Valley to the west.  A short spur trail led us to an overlook of the San Fernando Valley near Rocky Peak.  Several of the hikers followed a “use” trail northward to the real Rocky Peak and we climbed steeply up to the top (where there is a marker).  We soon retraced our route downhill back to our vehicles and returned home, those of us who “peak-bagged” Rocky Peak having completed a pleasant 9.9-mile hike with about 2,000’ of total elevation gain/loss.

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