December 28th – Chivo Canyon Loop

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18 hikers met on a chilly early-winter morning in Simi Valley near the mouth of Chivo Canyon in the Marr Ranch Open Space in northeast Simi Valley. After we “dropped” into Chivo Canyon, we hiked northward along the old Chivo Canyon (dirt) Road, passing a large oil seep along the way. At 0.7 mile we turned left (west) and entered a side canyon where we followed a loop trail as it climbed westward toward an overlook of Tapo Canyon that is now off-limits.

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We enjoyed the green surroundings and occasional blooming plants; before long we removed our heavy outer clothing as the morning began warming thanks to the clear sunny sky. As we completed the loop, we passed through a pleasant oak woodland that has largely survived wildfires.

Returning to Chivo Canyon we continued north to the beginning/end of the abandoned Marr Ranch Road and followed the “Buckhorn Trail” portion of it to the top of the ridge on the east side of Chivo Canyon where we had a sweeping nearly 360-degree view of the entire area including the snow-capped peaks of the Topa Topa Mountains to the northwest. We then continued south along the ridge on the Marr Ranch Road until we reached “Four Points,” where most of us continued south on the Cliff Trail along the cliffs overlooking Chivo Canyon until the trail (an old road) dropped steeply to Cottonwood Drive. We returned a short distance to our vehicles having completed a very pleasant 6.8-mile hike with a total gain/loss of about 1,500′. Those who didn’t continue along the Cliff Trail, “dropped” back down into Chivo Canyon at Four Points and then returned along the canyon bottom.

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December 21st – Malibu Creek State Park

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15 hikers assembled at the starting (and ending) point of our planned loop hike in Malibu Creek State Park on a chilly beginning-of-winter morning. We began hiking northward along the North Grassland Trail as it passed through a landscape covered with bright green grass and dotted with oak trees blackened by last year’s Woolsey Fire. We soon reached the dirt Liberty Canyon Fire Road which we followed through the oak-dotted rolling hills of the Liberty Canyon Natural Preserve to the Phantom Trail’s northern trailhead.

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Soon we began climbing steadily up a still-heavily-wooded slope heading southward until we crested high on a ridge. Continuing southward along the ridge we encountered patches of bright green grass and enjoyed distant views of the surrounding area which was surprisingly green; there were also a few blooming plants of various types as well as lots of blooming cliff asters.

Eventually the trail dropped down to Mulholland Drive which we crossed to the Cistern Trail which led us to the Lookout Trail. As we descended the Lookout Trail we had views of Century Lake and the surrounding craggy mountains. We enjoyed a lunch/rest break along the shady shore of Century Lake and watched a few coots and mallard ducks floating on the water and searching for food. We then followed Crags Road eastward to the picturesque Rock Pool (along Malibu Creek) where quite surprisingly we were the only people there. However, we did pass a group of aspiring mountain climbers practicing rock-climbing as we neared the Rock Pool. Eventually we followed the High Road and the Grasslands Trail northward back to our vehicles parked along Mulholland Highway west of Las Virgenes Road and returned home having completed a scenic 8-mile hike with about 1,400’ of elevation gain/loss on what had become a very pleasant morning.

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December 14th – Work Party: Wild Animal Corridor and Cache In Trash Out Event (CITO)

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It was cool and cloudy, the moring of the eleventh annnual Wildlife Corridor work party event. Fifteen people assembled near the trailhead at Camp Rotary in Corriganville Park. Three Trail Blazers and twelve Geocachers were in attendance. After a slight delay with our supplies, we headed up the trail to the Corridor, gaining 350′ in just 0.3 miles.

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Having done this event for so many years, our well-seasoned workers knew exactly what needed to be done, and finished up just over an hour later. This left plenty of time for good friends to tell their latest tall stories and do some very enjoyable catching up. Everyone agreed we would do it all again next year.

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