October 29th – Simi Peak from King James Court via China Flat

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20 hikers met at a trailhead on Lindero Canyon Road (near King James Court) in Oak Park on a beautiful clear-and-cool autumn morning.  Our hike in the Simi Hills began along a single-track trail, but soon continued along an old dirt-and-rock road as it rose steadily up the south side of the mountain, providing ever-expanding views to the south. 

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Upon reaching the apex of the old road, we headed north and descended into lovely China Flat with its oak trees and sprawling meadows.  Despite the continuing drought, many of the oak trees displayed bright green leaves and there was even a small amount of green grass (no doubt a result of recent rain in the area).  When the trail “leveled out” in China Flat, we followed a single-track trail westward and climbed to Simi Peak (2,403’), the highest point in the Simi Hills (which occupy the area between Simi Valley and Hwy 101 and between Hwy 23 and the San Fernando Valley), where we were greeted by unusually clear vistas.  We took a rest-and-lunch break atop the peak and enjoyed the panoramic views including the Santa Susana Mountains, the Topa Topa Mountains, the San Gabriel Mountains, Santiago Peak (in Orange County), and three of the Channel Islands.  After a while we returned to our vehicles the way we came, completing a 6.1-mile hike with over 1,500’ of elevation gain/loss on a beautiful day.

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October 22nd – Work Party – Wild Animal Corridor – Cache In Trash Out Event

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This was the eighth time the Trail Blazers teamed up with the local geocachers, to clean up the Wildlife Corridor above Corriganville Park. 32 of us removed six bags of garbage and painted over the graffiti at the Corridor.  This year we had a few families and Girl Scouts in attendance too. 

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It was a clear and cool day, so we enjoyed fine views of Simi Valley from the far eastern side. Many thanks to the RSRPD, for providing all we needed to get the job done. We all had a lot of fun and enjoyed some good conversation. We’ll do it all again next year!

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October 15th – Chivo Canyon Loop

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15 hikers met on a mild early-autumn 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 to the upper end of lower Chivo Canyon (just south of the Chivo Canyon “Narrows”). 

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We passed by a large oil seep and crossed a marshy area (with water in it) along the way.  We took a short break and then partially retraced our route to the junction with the Buckhorn Trail (named by Joe Beautz, a local expert on hiking in the area) which we followed as we climbed up to the north-south road (named the “Marr Ranch Road” on Google Earth) atop the eastern ridge overlooking both Chivo Canyon and part of Las Llajas Canyon to the east.  We enjoyed the panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and then, while enjoying a cool breeze, we headed south along Marr Ranch Road to its junction (“Four Points”) with the Cappocchi Trail (named by Joe Beautz from spray painting on a nearby water tank) which connects with the Chivo Canyon Road below; we spotted several head of free-range cattle grazing nearby.  However, we continued south along an the Cliff Trail that overlooks and runs parallel to Chivo Canyon; there were breathtaking views straight down into the canyon at times along the way as well as a view of the Las Llajas Canyon dam.  Eventually the trail (an old road) dropped steeply to Cottonwood Drive and we returned a short distance to our vehicles having completed a pleasant 5.8-mile hike with a total elevation gain/loss of nearly 1,300’.

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October 8th – The Hummingbird Trail and Rocky Peak

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12 hikers assembled at the inadequate on-street parking area at the north end of Kuehner Drive at the trailhead (1,175’) for the Hummingbird Trail (just outside the gate into Hummingbird Ranch) on what promised to become another very hot day.  The morning was already warm as we began our 2.4-mile eastward climb to the Rocky Peak Fire Road.

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The trail passed through (and on) a variety of imposing rock formations along the way including very large boulders and giant slabs of sandstone rock, many with small “caves.”  By the time we had reached the fire road (2,100’) the day had turned hot.  At this point several of the hikers decided to return to the trailhead and did so.  Those of us who continued on followed the road northward along with a variety of bikers and other hikers while enjoying the sweeping views of eastern Simi Valley, the Santa Susana Mountains, and the Simi Hills.  After reaching the customary viewpoint (2,624’) near Rocky Peak (2,715’), we rested briefly while admiring the panoramic views including the hazy outline of Santa Cruz Island.  After taking a short break, we retraced our route and reached the trailhead having completed an 8.2-mile hike with about 1,800’ of elevation gain/loss.  NOTE: By the time we finished the hike the temperature was in the mid-90’s and the heat was intense.

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October 1st – Long Canyon, Oak Canyon, Montgomery Canyon, Challenger Park, Coyote Hills Park, Canyon View Trail Loop

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Our two hike leaders arrived early at the very full Long Canyon Parking lot this morning. There wasn’t a single empty parking space to be found, even outside the lot. Two unscheduled track events arrived earlier and filled the entire lot. There was no legal street parking to be found anywhere nearby. After some last-minute brainstorming, we decided to move the meeting place, and the starting trailhead, to Challenger Park and begin our counter-clockwise loop from the opposite end.

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Temperatures were running about 10 degrees warmer than forecast, and the air quality was poor. Smoke from the Soberanes Fire to the north, came back inland with the mild ocean breezes, following the recent Santa Ana wind event earlier in the week. The loop didn’t provide many opportunities for much-needed shade. The day proved not to be the best for hiking.

Our hike started with 25 people and one dog. One hiker turned back before the Canyon View Trailhead. The remaining group started up the very steep trail, and after arriving at the top of the ridgeline, enjoying great local views, despite the fact the distant views were obscured by smoke. After arriving at the intersection of Long Canyon Road and the Canyon View Trail, three hikers and the dog headed back to the trailhead, following Long Canyon Road east to Challenger Park. 21 hikers continued on 7/10 of a mile, up the steep Long Canyon Trail, to a trail junction that overlooks a good part of Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks. From there we took a “use” trail connector into Oak Canyon. At intersection of Montgomery Canyon and Oak Canyon, five additional hikers elected to continue on down the hill, and also head back to Challenger Park via Long Canyon Road. 16 hikers continued on up the next hill into Montgomery Canyon, heading to Challenger Park. As before, two more exhausted hikers decided not to tackle the final hill in the Challenger Park, and they too followed Long Canyon Road to the Challenger Park Entrance. 14 remaining intrepid hikers completed the entire 7.5 mile loop, overcoming almost 1,700’ of total elevation gain.

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