September 24th – Malibu Creek State Park

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The Mt.-Pinos-to-Sheep-Camp hike that was planned for this day was canceled on Thursday evening due to a “Red Flag Warning” issued by the National Weather Service for all of the L.A. and Ventura County mountains; it was replaced with this hike.  7 hikers carpooled to the trailhead in the northwest corner of the park (at the intersection of Cornell Road and Mulholland Hwy). 

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It was pleasantly chilly as we headed east from the dirt/gravel parking lot and we soon passed the park headquarters facility, formerly part of a ranch owned by Ronald Reagan.  Shortly after starting along the Yearling Trail which passes through a large meadow, we took a right fork onto the Deer Leg Trail which winds through an oak woodland, passing a couple of nicely situated picnic tables and spotting four mule deer including one buck.  Rejoining the Yearling Trail we passed its junction with the Cage Creek Trail and followed the well-shaded Lookout Trail as it climbed to a view point overlooking much of the park.  The trail then descended to Crags Road which we followed eastward to a narrow trail that led down to the Rock Pool Trail.  While we took a break at the beautiful Rock Pool, the not-so-shy “Simi Valley merman” frolicked in the water while a group of about 40 “Trash Free Earth” volunteers looked on in amazement.  We returned to Crags Road, climbed westward, and then descended a short trail to the eastern shore of Century Lake near the dam across Malibu Creek.  From there we followed Crags Road southwestward to the former site of the M*A*S*H television series which is showing signs of ongoing vandalism; we also spotted one deer there.  Returning northeastward we followed the Forest Trail as it led delightfully along the western shore of Century Lake.  Retracing our route we hiked the well-shaded Cage Creek Trail as it climbed to its junction with the Yearling Trail.  The morning had warmed up as we then headed westward and returned to our vehicles, having completed an 8.4-mile hike with 975’ of elevation gain.

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September 17th – Edison Fire Road and Runkle Canyon

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The Cloudburst Summit hike that was planned for this day was canceled at 5:30 a.m. due to a “Red Flag Warning” issued by the National Weather Service for the San Gabriel Mountains.  However, six hikers met at the carpool point and decided to hike locally instead.  After carpooling to the Vista Del Arroyo Park on Chicory Leaf Place, we headed east along the Arroyo Simi and then began climbing a north-south ridge along an Edison Road toward the Albertson Motorway which runs east-west atop the Simi Hills. 

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We soon had views of the nearby mountains and canyons as well as the American Jewish University’s Brandeis-Bardin campus to the east and the still-under-construction Runkle Canyon housing development and beyond to the west.  As we climbed higher the Arness Fire Road appeared to the east and several still-remaining structures on the Santa Susana Field Laboratory property [aka Boeing/Rocketdyne] came into view.  Eventually we reached the Albertson Motorway where we were caressed by a nice cool breeze while we enjoyed a rest break in the shade of some large oak trees.  We headed back the way we had come, but decided to take an access path into the Runkle Canyon housing development and followed Sequoia Avenue back to our vehicles.  We completed our 8.1-mile hike with 1,645’ of elevation gain/loss and returned home on a pleasant late-summer morning.

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September 10th – Carpinteria Bluffs, Tar Pits Park, and Bates Beach

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21 hikers met in the parking lot at Rincon Park a little south of Carpinteria on a cooler-than-normal late-summer morning.  Our hike began along the Carpinteria Bluffs overlooking Bates Beach and the Pacific Ocean.  The trail ran parallel to the railroad tracks for about a mile and a half and then led through a grove of eucalyptus trees over to the Carpinteria Harbor Seal Preserve which is home to almost 100 adult seals who give birth to their cubs on the Carpinteria shoreline; it’s one of the four harbor seal rookeries remaining along the southern California coast. 

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Luckily there were dozens of seals lounging in the sanctuary.  We continued on to Tar Pits Park with its naturally occurring asphaltum and then took a break nearby and enjoyed the mild temperature and the ocean and beach views, though the Channel Islands were not visible due to the overcast sky.  We continued northwest along Carpinteria Beach where we spotted the elusive “Simi Valley Merman” taking a dip in the ocean.  We returned to a connector trail and descended to Bates Beach for a leisurely sandy stroll beside the ocean back to the picnic area at Rincon Park.  We returned to Simi Valley, having completed a refreshing 7.2-mile hike with about 220’ of elevation gain/loss.

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September 3rd – Arroyo Simi Bike Path Ride: Madera Road to Ralston Street

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It was an unseasonably cool September morning and perfect for a bicycle ride. Several species of water birds were frolicking in the Arroyo today, especially at the western end of the Valley. We saw a Great Blue Heron, more than a dozen egrets, and a multitude of mallards, coots and grebes. Still enduring severe drought conditions, many parts of the Arroyo were dry, but there was sufficient water to support a struggling ecosystem.

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After arriving back at the trailhead, we completed exactly 16.1 miles, and about 350′ of total elevation gain and loss. The bicycle ride was a great change of pace from our usual hiking schedule.

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