May 25th – Spring Wildflower Walk: The Chumash Trail

Fifteen hikers met at 9:00 AM at the Chumash trailhead on a refreshing, partly cloudy spring morning, located at 3200 Flanagan Drive, Simi Valley, CA. Walking a short distance from the start of the trailhead we identified our first flower by the shape of the leaves, a morning glory (1). Then once we hiked further up the trail, where the trail hugged the hillside, flowering plants became more plentiful.  On the north side of the trail, across a ravine, there was a huge fully blooming chaparral yucca (2).  On the downhill side of the trail there was chamise (3 & 16)black sage (4 & 8)lemonade berry (5), and wild cucumber (6).  Then both sides of the trail became infested with blooming plants such as, owl’s clover (7 & 11)purple sage (9)yellow mariposa lily (10)California buckwheat (12)deerweed (13 & 19), and false bindweed (14).  One way to distinguish morning glory from false bindweed is the presence of a pair of small leaf-like bracts on the stem of the bindweed flower.  The hikers passed a lot of golden yarrow (15 & 23) and the ¾ mile mark that led them to a ridgeline.  There the hikers saw woolly blue curls (17, 18 &19)bush mallow (20 & 25) and silver puffs (21).  The prize flower of the walk was butterfly mariposa lily (22) and last but not least was an elegant clarkia (24).The walk was a little over 1.0 miles before the hikers headed back to their vehicles.  With thanks to Mike Kuhn, Jeannie Budfuloski, RSTB and Simi Valley Recreation and Park District, it was a beautiful morning.

May 18th – Work Party: Lower Chumash Trail

Eleven volunteers met at the trailhead for the Lower Chumash Trail at the end of Flanagan Drive in Simi. Once again, the morning was cool and overcast. After reviewing the safety guidelines and picking out our tools, one volunteer choosing a power string trimmer (weed whacker) and one volunteer choosing a gas powered hedge trimmer, we began going uphill. The person with the hedge trimmer went up first, hedging brush on both sides of the trail defining a standard width of about 4 ft. The group went up next using shovels, pick mattocks, loppers and a McLeod. They cleared mustard, California sagebrush, deerweed, and star-thistle. Then the volunteer with the string trimmer (weed whacker) came up next, clearing grasses and smaller plant growth. A couple of late volunteers came up from behind and cleaned the trail with leaf rakes. We made it up to the 1/2 mile mark just before it was time to head back. There is a bench there where we rested a bit, rehydrated and chatted. Going back down was very gratifying when we remembered how overgrown the trail was after the winter rains. Thank you so much; Heidi Kwok, Jake Stewart, Andres Rieder, Curtis Bedford, Parker Bedford, Paul Friedeborn, Mike Kuhn, Stephanie Kennedy, Tamera McIntyre, John McIntyre and Martin DeGoey for an incredible job.

May 11th – Spring Wildflower Walk: Las Llajas Canyon

On a sunny spring morning, six hikers met at 9:00 AM at the Las Llajas trailhead, located at 5715 Evening Sky Dr. Simi Valley, CA. The walk began downhill on a paved service road where we identified our first two flowers, California poppy (1) and a wild sweet pea (2).  Once the pavement ended and the road leveled out we began seeing white sage (3), some narrow-leaved bedstraw (4), a lot of purple sage (5) and a blossoming castor bean (6).  As we continued our walk, there was no shortage of wildflowers; bush sunflowers (7) and blossoming elderberry (8) were everywhere.  In a slightly shadier area there were prickly lettuce (9), purple nightshade (10) and horehound (11).  With friendly conversation we came upon a patch of Fremont cottonwood (12), where the seed fluffs were a fun topic.  Two more hikes joined us as we continued on with a seemingly endless amount of wildflowers to identify.  Other wildflowers photographed were; Indian paintbrush (13), Chinese houses (14), lupine (15), slender sunflower (16 & 17), yellow sweet clover (18), yellow mariposa lily (19 & 20), wild cucumber (21), golden yarrow (22), black sage (23), Santa Barbara locoweed (24), milk thistle (25), tamarisk saltcedar  (26), sugar bush (27), hollyleaf cherry (28), black walnut (29 & 32), chaparral yucca (30), yerba santa (31). After walking about a 1.5 miles we viewed our last wildflower, sticky Phacelia (33) and headed back to our vehicles.  It was a great morning, thanks to Mike Kuhn, RSTB and Simi Valley Recreation and Park District.


April 27th – Spring Wildflower Walk: Oak Canyon Community Park

On a calm sunny spring morning, six hikers met at 9:00 AM at Oak Canyon Community Park.  We started the walk on a paved service path, in a traditional park setting with manicured grass on one side of the path and a mix of native and domestic shrubs on the other side of the path.  Our first flowering shrub identified was Sugar Bush (1 & 3). As we proceeded down the path, in friendly conversation, the next flowering shrubs we saw were Flannel Bush (2 & 7), Black Sage (4), California Bush Sunflower (5) and Greenbark Ceanothus (6).  Along the way, while leaving the traditional park setting behind, where both sides of the path changed to a natural setting, we identified, Owl’s Clover (8) and Purple Nightshade (10) and not to mention a dead tree bearing rocks (9).  There was one rare plant identified, in the wake of the tree bearing rocks, a native plant on the federal endangered species list, Braunton’s Milk-Vetch (11 & 12).  A short stretch of the path we passed through was thick on both sides with Australian Golden Wreath Wattle (13).  Shortly after, we encountered California buckwheat (14 & 17), a small patch of whispering bells (15) and some California Yerba Santa (16).  We left the paved path going west on a narrow dirt road where there were other flowering plants pointed out such as Italian Thistle (18), Scarlet Pimpernel (19 & 20) and Fiddle Neck (20).  Soon we were back to the Community park where there were people enjoying the beautiful California morning.

April 20th – Work Party: Mt. McCoy

Thirteen volunteers met at the western end of Washburn Street at the Mt. McCoy trailhead.  On a perfect overcast morning, we reviewed the safety guidelines and picked out our tools.  One volunteer chose a power string trimmer (weed whacker) and one volunteer used a gas powered hedge trimmer.  The others chose shovels, loppers, a pick mattock and leaf rakes.  We cleared the edges of the trail from heavily sprouting mustard and brush overgrowth.  The volunteers cleared the trail to a good 4 ft. width, more than halfway to the top (.5 miles).  Part of the trail needed shoring up to prevent side sloping due to erosion.  One person, earlier in the week, volunteered to haul a 2”x12”x8’ plank half way up the trail.  We didn’t get around to installing it.  Thank you so much for a super incredible job to;  Ian Nelson, Millie Plisley, Nicole Jordan, Keri Nelson, Tamara McIntyre, Marie-France Bauer,  Norman Liss, Paulette Kawasaki, Raquel Margo, Kurt Kawasaki, Paul Friedeborn, Mike Kuhn and Martin DeGoey.

April 6th – Spring Wildflower Walk: Mt. McCoy Trail

It was an incredibly nice spring morning where six hikers met at 9:00 AM at the Donut Delite, located at the northeast side of the Royal Avenue and Madera Road intersection.  We made our way, walking on the sidewalk, to the trail’s trailhead at the corner of Washburn and Los Amigos Ave.  There a group picture was taken. The first flower we identified at the beginning of the hike was long-beaked stork’s bill.  Then we pasted a grove of prickly pear.  As we continued up the trail’s many switchbacks, we began identifying more and more wildflowers; bush sunflower, golden yarrow, purple nightshade, fuchsia-flowered gooseberry.  Stopping for a moment we saw a western fence lizard.  As we continued up the trail, among the various sages that had not bloomed yet, there was one little caterpillar Phacelia, a lot of golden leaf mountain mahogany, some soap plant, (long slender leaves, no flower).  Once we hiked to the more arid upper portion of the trail we saw a lot of goldfields, deer weed, Catalina mariposa lilies and California buckwheat.  Then nearly at the top, there was wild onion, California poppy and owl’s clover.  On the way down there was some blue-eyed grass that the flowers had opened as the day grew warmer. We had a wonderful morning just being outside and meeting old and new friends. Thank you Mike Kuhn, RSTB and Rancho Simi Recreation and  Parks District.


March 16th – Work Party: Lower Stagecoach Trail

Nine volunteers gathered near the picnic area at Corriganville Park on a calm and sunny morning.  We reviewed safety guidelines, the tools we would be using, and outlined our objective.  We started at the beginning of the Lower Stagecoach trail, Corriganville Trails (rsrpd.org).  We used Pick Mattocks, shovels and McLeods, for filling in ruts, clearing and creating water bars (drain dips).  The soil conditions were perfect.  Thanks and appreciation goes to Boy Scout Troop 605 Jim Ratto, Nathin Ratto, R Wietney, Parler Bedford, Aarron Wietney, Mike Kuhn, and Martin DeGoey.


February 17th – Work Party: Hummingbird Creek Trail

There were six volunteers participating in the February work party, at the Hummingbird Creek Trail.  It was a very productive morning, filling in ruts, clearing and creating water bars (drain dips).  One volunteer used a Weed Wacker and loppers to clear overgrowth from the trail and he cut down a bunch of Arundo.  It was a perfect day for working on the trail.  The weather and the ground conditions couldn’t have been better.  Appreciations go to Paul Friedeborn, Geneen Garcia, Monty Gonzales, Mason Gonzales, Mike Kuhn, and Martin DeGoey.


January 27th – Work Party: Long Canyon

On a slightly breezy morning, three volunteers participated in the January work party at the Long Canyon Trail.  We did some weed whacking and clearing growth along the trail.  We filled in ruts, cleared and created water bars (drain dips).  It was a good day for trail work, the ground conditions were perfect.  Appreciations go to Paul Friedeborn, Mike Kuhn, and Martin DeGoey.