January 18th – Tapo Canyon Open Space Trail to Chivo Canyon Lollipop Loop
13 hikers met at 7:30 AM in the dirt trailhead parking area (1,136’) for the Tapo Canyon Open Space Trail (T23) in Simi Valley on a chilly winter morning. As we began our hike we headed northward along the nearly flat dirt road/trail which was bordered by lots of new bright green grass, a very few blooming plants, and quite a few leafy oak trees (despite most of them having been damaged by wildfire in the past). After a mile or so the road/trail rose steadily to a narrow pass and a dirt-road junction (1,535’) where we took a break and enjoyed the views of the “valley” before us and the rows of mountainous ridges to the northeast. Continuing, we turned right and began hiking the T23 loop which took us along a dirt road/trail that led downward through a nice oak woodland toward its eastern junction (1,276’) with itself. We then continued eastward on T23 to the “floor” of Chivo Canyon where we observed a nearby apiary which had seen better days.
January 12th – Woodridge Trail, Sunrise Trail, Long Canyon Trail Counterclockwise Loop
11 hikers met at 7:30 AM in the Long Canyon Trail parking lot in Wood Ranch on a chilly winter morning. We began our hike along the Woodridge Connector (trail) heading southwest to a junction with the Woodridge Loop Trail which we then followed westward near the fenced-off Bard Reservoir to our north which we were able to see at one point. The trail rose gradually until we reached a junction with the Sunset Hills Trail [where there should have been a sign, but there wasn’t]. We took the left/south) fork and followed it downhill to an entrance to the gated community along Sunset Hills Blvd that the Woodridge Trail loops around. [Not entering the gated community] we crossed Sunset Hills Blvd and continued hiking on the Woodridge Trail (now on the south side of the gated community). We continued eastward until we reached the Sunrise Trail in the Lang Ranch Open Space which we followed for a short distance until we reached the Autumn Ridge Trail which we followed uphill until it met with an [apparently] unnamed trail where we turned left and followed it to the upper end of the “West Long Canyon Trail” which we descended to the parking lot where our hike started, having completed a sometimes windy 4.9-mile hike with an estimated 900’ elevation gain/loss. There were a few blooming plants thanks to recent rain. We only encountered a few other hikers, all during our descent to the parking lot.
January 8th – Big Sky Trail (lollipop loop)
9 hikers met along Big Sky Place (970’) in Simi Valley on a chilly winter morning for a familiar neighborhood hike. After a short walk northward on a sidewalk along Erringer Road where we admired the rose beds and waterfalls at the entrance to the Big Sky neighborhood, we turned east onto the well-signed Big Sky Trail. After crossing a wet streambed, we began the counterclockwise loop portion of the hike as we climbed fairly steeply up to the north-south ridge to the east of the housing development. Upon reaching the ridgetop, we enjoyed unobstructed views of the surrounding area including Whiteface Mountain. The hillsides were at least temporarily not “bone dry” thanks to the recent heavy rainfall. After reaching the highest point (1,463’) in our hike, we took a short break and then continued on to the northernmost point (1,357’) in our hike where the trail turned sharply to the southeast, winding its way along the oak-lined streambed that runs through the Big Sky development. We finished our invigorating outing having completed a 4.6-mile hike with a little over 800’ of elevation gain/loss on a nice morning for hiking. We had the trail almost entirely to ourselves during our hike (only a couple of hikers and no bicyclists).