January 25th – Los Robles Trail via the Los Padres Trail and Oak Creek Canyon

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Eight hikers met at the Los Padres Trail trailhead in Thousand Oaks on a winter’s morning.  We began our hike through very pleasant oak woodland into the hills south of Thousand Oaks.  The creek was flowing with water and we crossed it three or four times.  When we reached a dirt access road, we followed it up to its junction with the Los Robles Trail (the primary trail in Thousand Oaks).  Upon reaching the trail junction, we headed west on the Los Robles Trail, but soon turned right onto the “Scenic Loop” trail which led us to the Conejo Valley Scenic Overlook (where there’s a bench) which provides panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and grasslands.  After stopping to take a short break, we continued on along the Los Robles Trail as it descended into a nice oak-shaded picnic area (with a table and benches) and then proceeded on to a junction with a connector trail that led us to the upper (south) end of the Oak Creek Canyon Loop Trail.

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After seeing quite a bit of flowering Ceanothus, we continued hiking the heavily shaded western section of this loop, we walked a short distance eastward along Greenmeadow Avenue to the eastern section trailhead, and hiked back up to the connector trail that led us to the south end of Moorpark Road.  We returned to our vehicles about a block away and returned home invigorated, having completed a 4.3-mile hike with about 700’ of elevation gain/loss.

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January 18th – North Ridge Trail, Chumash Park, and Mt. Sinai

Six anxious hikers met at 7:00 AM at the North Ridge Trail trailhead, on Evening Sky Drive in Simi Valley on a cold sunny morning (NOTE: This trailhead is almost directly across the street from the Las Llajas Canyon trailhead).  As we began our hike, the trail rose gradually with a couple of particularly damp sections, going south and southeast to the Broken Arrow Street trailhead.  We hiked through the Chumash Park to a trail running adjacent to the water tank.  We then continued downhill along a maintained dirt road, near the eastern side of Mount Sinai Cemetery.  The road leveled out and we bypassed the path we normally take leading into what was once Douglas White Oaks Park, because of puddles and mud.  Remaining on the dirt road skirting Mt. Sinai Cemetery and following it southward, we crossed over a runoff creek full with running water.  Following the road, we turned into a trail with a small stream running down the middle.  Eventually, we got to a point where we could turn right and head northwest alongside Mt. Sinai Drive, to an unmarked trailhead a short distance west of the main entrance to the Mt. Sinai Cemetery.  That trail led us northwest uphill to the Flanagan Rocks area.  We crossed Flanagan Drive, and then returned along the North Ridge Trail to our vehicles, thus completing a 4.1-mile hike with about 760’ of elevation gain/loss. It was quite an adventurous morning.