March 8th – Santa Rosa Valley Peppermint – Twist Loop
In the still shaded dirt parking area on the left (east) side of Hill Canyon Road in Santa Rosa Valley Park (10241 Hill Canyon Rd, Camarillo), five hikers started their hike. Walking at a vigorous pace, eager to get to where the sun was shining, we crossed the 25-foot-wide Arroyo Conejo Stream and headed south on Hill Canyon Trail. We took a left on Hill Canyon Trail Connector, missing the Hawk Canyon Intersection. Feeling adventurous we continued east towards the Hill Canyon Treatment Plant Wetlands. Even though the road was well defined there was no way to cross the stream to get to the wetlands. Perhaps during the summer, when the stream may not be so full, there will be a way to cross. We decided to continue with wary agreement, up the Conejo Canyon Open Space Trail (fire road), to get to the south end of Hawk Canyon. The road was a steep: .31 miles with an elevation gain/loss 322 ft. There was some Lanceleaf Liveforever along the way. Arriving at the top of the hill, an industrial complex appeared that included a large pharmaceutical company. The trail we took to get to the south end of Hawk Canyon trail head ended up so steep, you would have to be a mountain goat to get down. Having enough exploring and exercise, we headed down an unmarked trail adorned with two ravens, along a hilltop ridge to Hill Canyon trail. We arrived back at the parking area, with a memorable 4.2 mile hike at hand and being grateful for each other’s company, we departed.
February 8th – Woodridge Connector Loop Trail to Sunrise Trail Loop
Six hikers met at the Long Canyon Trail parking lot in Wood Ranch on a delightful, early spring morning. The outing began by hiking west and upward where we could view an elegant housing tract. To the left, at one point we could see Bard Reservoir through the fence. There was Ceanothus in bloom and little flowers of purple and orange fighting their way through the thick green grass. Coming around, connecting to the Sunrise Trail we were surprised to see a seasonal pond that reminded us of our gratefulness for the recent rains. The open space views were spectacular. We saw a Garter snake crossing the trail and slithering into the grass. With a special feeling that a spectacular spring morning brings, we made our way back To Long Canyon Trail that led back to our vehicles.
January 25th – Los Robles Trail via the Los Padres Trail and Oak Creek Canyon
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.
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.