DAY 21: CHAPARRAL CREST & WILLS CANYON TRAILS
5.5 Miles +1100 Feet
21 Day Summary: 82.5 Miles +15,950 Feet
Many years ago when Domino lived with my former roommate in Ojai, I used to take her on day hikes thru the Los Padres. When I didn't have a full half day to commit to a long hike, I would take her to this spot known as the Ventura River Preserve. Alyssa couldn't have been more than three years old when I brought her out on this daring hike. Normally, this area is simple, hence the purpose I trekked it today. But after a heavy rain, the river builds up an imagination. In the typical spots, local swimming holes form and river crossing at its lowest points is no big deal. The river bed is quite wide, not like the Santa Clara, but wide nevertheless. Of course on this day, I crossed the river at the normal wide point and then hiked with Alyssa on my shoulders at least a mile or so up river. The trail I was on led into an orchard and then back down. Matilija Damn is further up the river and just North of the Preserve is some sort of water plant. The river is very narrow up here, which makes it quite deep and devastating when it is running with authority. I was determined to cross! I tested the water and it went up to my chest. The temperature was 100 degrees, quite common for Ojai. Wading in the shallow edge of the water was refreshing but I was stressing over the decision ahead of me. Do I hike all the way back or make my cross here. Eventually, I did it! I crossed! Alyssa on my shoulders and water running swiftly up to my chin. One strange step from the rock movement at my toes, we dump. However, that wasn't my biggest worry. It was Domino! How in the world was she going to cross this. She tried a few times and each time the rush of the river pushed her lower and into the danger zone. Good thing she listens though. I picked the best spot. One, where we could negotiate across and allow for movement downstream. Domino "Sit". Domino "Stay". And she did. I crossed, she stayed! No way Sammi would have. She would have been in my face the entire time. Finally, Alyssa and I crossed safely. What a relief! I sat her down on a safe spot and gave Domino the call, "Let's Go Domino!" She jumped into the water with all her thrust. I kept routing her on all the way! The water as expected pushed her closer to the white water rapid and small water fall, but I kept calling and she kept coming. She made it. She made it!
That led us to the Oso Trailhead and I was parked at the Riverview Trailhead. With no leash and cars rounding the turn on Rice with no caution, I was not out of the danger zone. But back then, Domino listened well and we made it back ok...
Today, I was not in the mood to do anything. I was just pissed off about other personal things and angry. I didn't want my streak to end because of an emotional meltdown so I thought about this place just to walk it off. The trailhead is about 25 minutes from my house. The link below provides an exact replica of what I did today. I just kind of wandered and ended up doing the exact same pattern. It didn't feel like 1100 foot climb, but I have to go with the reported stats:
Before reaching the trailhead, I was in the mood to pick up some of my favorite potato salad in Oakview at the Oak Pit:
The sky wasn't looking too promising, but the food encouraged me. Next time I'll get the tri-tip. Across from the trailhead:
This area is popular for horse back riding.
There were many ways to go but I made my way to the river and decided to follow
the Wills Canyon Trail.
The Ventura River. The trail across is easy when it's dry.
The other side offers sounds of birds and other questionable beings.
I hadn't planned on climbing, but I had never been on the Chaparral Crest Trail.
Hmm, is this new? There were newer benches to rest along the Wills Trail too...
Well, let's climb. After 2 miles of hiking flat, I was warmed up for it!
The up was relatively, very easy. No way 1000 feet?
I guess I went up the Fern Grotto Trail, but no sign ever said that.
I passed the Oso Trail and then back down the other side.
Shades of fall...
On my way back to the car, I didn't digest the TH sign to mean Trailhead, so I passed the Wills entrance and trekked extra to the Rice TH. All good, and extra 10 minutes and I was back to the car.
A small thunderstorm rolled thru Southern Cal tonight but if you were watching the noise, they had live reporters on scene calling it a Winter Storm. Hilarious... Well, back to work on Monday. I may need to bring my rain gear to do an after work rain hike. Peace Out!