July 29th – Alamos Canyon Exploratory Hike
19 hikers gathered in the Simi Valley Sanitation parking lot at 600 W. Los Angeles Avenue (as previously arranged) on a pleasant summer morning cooled by an overcast sky. We began our hike along the nearby Los Alamos Canyon Road which we followed northward, passing under Hwy 118 to the Alamos Canyon Open Space, 326 acres of which were acquired last December by the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District (RSRPD).
July 17, 2017 – July 23, 2017: June Lake: Annual Summer Camping and Hiking Event
Monday – Arrival at Oh! Ridge Campground and Parker Lake Trail (5.0 miles with 700’ of elevation gain/loss)
After arriving at Oh! Ridge Campground (7,705’) on the northeastern shore of June Lake, checking in, and setting up camp, several of the 11 Rancho Simi Trailblazers who participated in the six-day outing in the Eastern Sierra Nevada headed for the Parker Lake (8,320’) hiking trailhead (7,791’) located west of Grant Lake on the June Lake Loop (Hwy 158) at the southwestern end of Parker Lake Road for a late-afternoon hike.
Tuesday –  Bennettville and the Mine Creek Drainage;  Great Sierra Mine Trail to Gaylor Lake; and  a visit to the Tuolumne Meadows area (Total 5.9 miles with 1,501’ of elevation gain/loss)
 The trail (TH 9,750′) followed an abandoned mining road as it made its way gradually down and then up the wooded slope toward Shell Lake (9,858′). Along the way we encountered several snowfields which we had to navigate and Mine Creek which was thundering with snowmelt. When we reached the lake we were unwilling to cross the rapidly flowing outlet stream. As a result we were unable to reach two restored mining-camp buildings on the far side of the creek or to continue on up to Fantail Lake. NOTE: Bennettville, was a town not far from Tioga Pass that “lived” from the late 1870’s until the early 1880’s; it was created by the Great Sierra Consolidated Silver Mining Company to facilitate silver mining. The two of the town’s original fourteen structures that remain are: a large building that served as a bunkhouse (upstairs) and stable and a smaller building that served as an assay office.
 The trailhead (9,965′) is located just west of the Tioga Pass Entrance Station to Yosemite National Park. At first the trail rose steeply through a forest as it gained 600′; it then dropped to Gaylor Lake #1 (10,356′) where we turned around. Beautiful blue-tinged ice covered much of the lake and there were snow-capped peaks in the distance. NOTE: The trail then ascends to Gaylor Lake #2 and then on up to the ruins of a silver mining operation; however, we decided not to proceed due to a large melting snowfield covering the trail.
 Since both of our preceding hikes were truncated due to the heavy winter snowfall we decided to visit Tuolumne Meadows since it was nearby. As it turned out the damage caused by the near-record snowfall in the Sierra Nevada this past winter wreaked a shocking amount of damage to the man-made facilities in the area and virtually no services were available; even the Tuolumne Meadows Campground was closed. However the meadows and the stream running through them were quite pretty.
Wednesday –  Obsidian Dome;  Glass Creek Trail; and  Black Point Fissures (Total 6.5 miles with 1,254’ of elevation gain/loss)
 Heading south from June Lake on Hwy 395 toward Mammoth Lakes, we turned right (west) on signed Obsidian Dome Road after a few miles. We followed this well-graded dirt road to a sign reading “Obsidian Dome Parking”; ignoring the sign we continued driving south on the dirt road (staying left at a junction with a road leading to Hartley Springs Campground) and eventually reached a second fork in the road. We took the left fork a short distance and parked near a dirt road cut into the hill on the left. Hiking up the hill, we were soon atop the southwestern section of the Obsidian Dome (8,281’), a huge collapsed volcanic dome (a mile in diameter) created out of lava which solidified to black glass; it’s made up of giant (car-sized) obsidian boulders and smaller obsidian pieces as well as rhyolite. This relatively small part of the dome is an awe-inspiring otherworldly wonderland of multi-colored rock formations; it stands out uniquely on Google Earth due to its high concentration of obsidian (black glass).
 Leaving the Obsidian Dome, we drove a very short distance back to the fork in the road and turned left; we then drove a short distance to the trailhead parking lot (at a dead-end in the road) for the Glass Creek Trail. As it entered the Owens River Headwaters Wilderness, the pleasant trail climbed gently along Glass Creek which is lightly forested with lodgepole pines, Jeffrey pines, and red firs, but then it rose steeply beside a long series of thundering white water cascades to a relatively level area where it led to a low ridge (8,665’) overlooking Glass Creek Meadow with views of the towering High Sierra peaks to the west. We continued cross-country into the meadow which was filled with blooming wildflowers and served as a beautiful turnaround point.
 Black Point is a low volcanic hill, composed of ash and brownish-yellow conglomerate; it conceals several deep, narrow fissures which resemble small slot canyons. We drove east via Cemetery Road, passed by a dirt 4WD access road, and eventually reached the eastern side of the low volcanic hill where there was a kiosk announcing the unsigned “trail” to the fissures. We elected to hike uphill cross-country to the northwest, eventually reaching Black Point “peak” (6,910′) with excellent views of Mono Lake (6,384’) but we gave up on reaching the fissures due to the extreme heat.
Thursday – Tuolumne Meadows to Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp (12.5 miles with 1,350’ of elevation gain/loss)
We started our hike just east of the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center on Hwy 120 (8,580′). After crossing the meadows on a wide gravel path (and a nice bridge), we reached Parsons Lodge and the nearby Glen Aulin Trail. The first half of the hike down to Glen Aulin was gentle and mostly shaded with occasional views of the Tuolumne River and a large gorgeous meadow. The second half of the trail was rockier and steeper (downhill) as it descended beside a series of magnificent roaring waterfalls and cascades (including Tuolumne Falls and White Cascade) made particularly stunning by the winter’s snowmelt. The Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp was severely damaged this past winter, including knocking the bridge leading directly into the campground off its foundation. We had lunch from a perch looking downstream toward the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River and then reluctantly returned to the trailhead.
Friday – Kayaking the Owens River from Benton Crossing and the northern portion of Crowley Lake – – –
Roger, Effie, Gary, and Les dropped a shuttle vehicle off at the western end of Layton Springs Road and then drove to Brown’s Owens River Campground and parked near the Benton Crossing Road bridge where we “put in” our two inflatable kayaks. We enjoyed a pleasant leisurely trip down the Owens River (passing lots of fishermen along the way) until we reached Crowley Lake (6,781’). We paddled on in the lake until Gary/Les beached and waited for Roger/Effie to bring the shuttle vehicle to pick them up. The kayaking distance was about 5 miles.
Saturday – Break Camp and Return Home – – – We did.
July 15th – The Hummingbird Trail
15 hikers met in the paved parking area just outside the gated entrance to Hummingbird Ranch at the north end of Kuehner Drive in Simi Valley to hike up the Hummingbird Trail. Despite the forecast of extreme heat later in the morning, it was still pleasant at 7 AM since the trail is on the west side of the mountain which was still shaded as we began our eastward climb to the Rocky Peak Fire Road.
July 8th – Mt. San Jacinto via the Palm Springs Tramway
Five hikers arrived at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (with its rotating cabin providing a 360-degree view) around 9:00 a.m. on a very hot desert morning for a scenic 10-minute vertical lift from 2,643’ at the Valley Station to 8,516’ at the Mountain Station where the trail for our hike to the peak of Mt. San Jacinto (10,834’) began in the 14,000-acre San Jacinto Wilderness and State Park.