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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

My Quest for 1000 Hikes

Chris Novak
No, this isn't me - but I read a comment on my own blog, by Chris, and it appears that I have helped inspire him to create his own blog: crotalus84.blogspot.com

He will be Hiking 1000 Trails in 1000 Days.  Sound familiar?

Although I may have inspired him - he is inspiring me to do more.  Hmm, I think I'll take my son on a 15+ mile hike this weekend and go camping...

Good Luck Chris!  Make it Happen!!!

-Jeremy Jacobus

Friday, February 19, 2016

Cougar Crest Trail - Big Bear :: Pacific Crest Trail // Week 7 Default!!!

Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) & Cougar Crest Trail

Flashback:
Cougar Crest Trail - Big Bear, CA
September 5, 2015

It was our first visit to Big Bear

Wahoo!!!

Cougar Crest Trailhead

Such a nice trail.  I don't recall the exact stats but maybe it was a couple miles to the top, perhaps 1000 feet of elevation gain - maybe more like 800 .. I just don't remember.  But the trail was great and is a must do if you make it out to Big Bear!


Overlooking Big Bear Lake

Cougar ends at the PCT.  (This is where the adventure should begin...)

Instead, it was a one-day family getaway.  So, let's rent a boat...

Ayden got caught on the golf cart -  Ha!

Lake levels were very low

In my opinion, I don't think they should allow motor boats in this lake.  Perhaps canoes and kayaks -- but, I rented one... a speed boat that is...

Look out for the Pirate Ship!

This was a long day trip for us.  We drove back that night.  We went past Lake Arrowhead which was a smaller version of Big Bear.  It was a party town...  The drive back was awesome!  I think the road was called Mountain Rim something or other.  Great views .. very cool...


Now, for the bad news.  Present Day:


52 Pounds in 52 Weeks

New Year's 2016 Weight: 240.9

Week Seven Weight: 239.2

Total Weight Loss: -1.7 Pounds

Week 7: 239.2 Pounds

I MESSED UP!  Three weeks in a row now and my body just wants to stay heavy.  I'm eating too much and not exercising enough.  I just get lazy!  Back at work full time and pretty depressed about that actually.

I'm going to have to turn this around - very soon!  The whole goal was to keep it easy week to week but now I see that I need to go into bezerko mode.

It's not so much the hunger as it is the dizzy emptiness and Need for Girl Scout Cookies!  This must be diabetes.  I'm fighting something chemical here and I need to get a handle on it.  I must force my body to accept healthy foods.  I'm all junked out!

Come'on Man!!! 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Deal Junction - Rancho Nuevo / Dick Smith Wilderness


Mountain Lion - On the Loose

Deal Junction - Rancho Nuevo / Dick Smith Wilderness - Cuyama Valley, CA
Monday February 15, 2016
My Tripometer:  2.5 Hours * 8 Miles * +400  Feet


Map to Deal Junction
Sorry that the map is sideways :).  There are three trailheads to venture off from to reach Deal Junction.  Today, I left from the easiest; the Rancho Nuevo Trailhead.

Directions:
From Ojai, take the 33 North.  The trailhead will be on your left exactly 37.0 miles from the Fairview / La Luna / 33 junction.  Set your odometer and drive up and over Pine Mountain.  Taking trip down memory lane, after passing both tunnels, at 12.8 miles from Fairview you will pass Ross Valley.  There are many adventures down there, and one I'd like to point out is:

 Day 418: Piedra Blanca

Continuing up the 33, you will pass a couple more of my favorite hikes:

 Day 77: Potrero John

 Day 517: Chorro Grande

At 25 miles you will reach the Pine Mountain summit, approximately 5000 feet.  You will then start driving down the mountain.  I have only hiked off to the west of the 33 once in my life.  This leads into the Dick Smith Wilderness.  If you are daring, have the time and the skill set to take a few days, you can, in theory, and based on the map, hike through to Santa Barbara.  This area is not traveled much, which even makes it that much more exciting - dangerous!

 Day 879: Deal Connector / Mine Camp

The Deal Connector Trailhead sits at an elevation of 4376 feet.  By highway, it is exactly 5 miles from where I am going today.  In between this trailhead and the Rancho Nuevo trailhead, there is one more trailhead which I imagine will be my next conquest when I make it back to this area.

**From the Fairview junction in Ojai, it's 35.1 miles to Lockwood Valley Road.  There are many other adventures down that way, such as Mt. Pinos and Camp Scheideck.  Instead, drive an additional 1.9 miles and on your left you will see the turnoff for today's journey.

There are plenty of places to park here, or - if you have a 4x4 and the gate is open, drive on in.  In fact, the gate was open so I began to follow the roan in my Scion.  However, I figured out pretty quickly that crossing the dry Cuyama River was not going to be a good idea.  The road is actually in very good shape but unless you have the clearance, it's not worth it.  So - I parked the car and followed the road by foot...

Trailhead - 3404 Feet

Tinta Junction 0.8 Miles - 3420 Feet
 Tinta would be the adventure which leads you deep into the back forest.  However, I will save this route for when I make an overnight about it and when I have a 4x4 to save me an hour walk (each way).  Instead, I turned left to Rancho Nuevo.  Just another 0.8 miles following the road to the single trek.

It looks like we are heading to a dead end

10:00 Sunrise

Rancho Nuevo Trailhead 3434 Feet
For some, this may be where you park your car and camp.  Maybe adventure off on a day hike to explore the trail.  But if I were camping, it would be forward march...


Entering the Dick Smith Wilderness
 The trail is in very good shape!  It's a very gentle hike, no switchbacks and soft elevation gain.  However, it's sketchy.  You are in, MOUNTAIN LION KINGDOM!  You will soon pass a gate, the mountain rock formations come with small caves, the lion's den, and you will drop down to the stream before hiking up again.  Along the trail, there are many paw prints and cat scat.  Stop for a moment and hear nothing at all but the buzzing of your own airs.  The drone of silence.  It is amazing and chilling...





For awhile, you are hiking and wondering where this trail is going to lead?  It's a narrow canyon which feels like you will end up in a gorge with no escape.  If there was a flash flood, you could be stranded or washed away.  But, have faith.  The serenity, an occasional bushy tailed squirrel and bird reminds you that you are part of this life now.  I've been on a nature withdrawal and taking today off work -  I found the right place to venture off to alone...






Not necessary, but occasional cairns are stacked up to offer you solace and direction.
  
Deal Junction Campsite - 3748 Feet

I can still Sweat!



From the car, it took me an hour and 15 minutes to reach the site.  It's exactly 4 miles from the road, or 2.4 miles from Rancho Nuevo.  My legs felt strong, vindication from the recent running that I had been doing.  Still, if I bend over I do get a bit dizzy.  I'm always better off just trucking along.

I thought about it.  I could have marched forward another 3.6 miles to upper Rancho Nuevo.  It sits just over 4000 feet so not much gain to stress about.  If I were doing the overnight, I for sure would continue on.  However, being alone - not even with a dog by my side, I thought better of it.

After eating a brief lunch - no campfire - I save those for when my son is around, I thought about looping around to the Deal Trailhead along the Deal Trail.  But, too unknown for me today.  About 1000 foot elevation gain on a round about trail which may need bushwhacking.  Assuming I would have made it though, I would then need to hike the cement road for several miles.  No thank you!  Let's keep it easy, head back, dodge the Mountain Lion and see what the wife and Ayden are up to...



52 Pounds in 52 Weeks

New Year's 2016 Weight: 240.9

Week Six Weight: 235.5

Total Weight Loss: -5.4 Pounds

Friday February 12, 2016 - Week 6 235.5 Pounds
***Last week I had some exercise on 6 of the 7 days.  I also had a 6-pack for the Super Bowl.  I had some work related stress but I don't think I ate too much??  It seems like I reached my laughing plateau and that now I really need to start getting more serious.

I gained 0.4 pounds for the week and I am now off pace to achieve my goal.  I set out to run a timed 2-mile run but after a half mile in my leg pains would not allow it.  I finished the first mile over 14 minutes and gave up the stride.

I am not cutting the weight!  I do need to hit the gym - I know - but my energy inside, lungs and legs are not acting so right right.  In fact, before I went on the after V-Day hike, I had an unofficial weigh in of 240 pounds!  That was after a burger, beer and two glasses of wine for valentines day.  Honestly, that is not that much!  Especially considering that a jogged - walked - ran over 3 miles earlier that day.  When I say ran, I mean it.  I opened up a sprint and if guessing, I ran 100 meters in 13 seconds on flat feet.  That's all I had in me, but it felt great, to show speed again.

I'm down but now out.  46 Weeks to go // 46.6 pounds of loss needed.  Let's Go!!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

DOUGH FLAT - CONDOR SANCTUARY

Welcome Back to Paradise!

Part of my motivation to lose 52 Pounds in 52 Weeks is to enjoy breathing and hiking in the outdoors once again.  Today, I journeyed two towns over to Fillmore:

Which way do we go???

Dough Flat / Condor Lookout - Fillmore, CA
Saturday February 6, 2016
My Tripometer:  3 Hours * 6 Miles * +400  Feet


Directions:
From Ventura, take the 126 East, past Santa Paula and keep going towards Fillmore.  Before you drive into town, turn left on Old Telegraph and follow that for about a mile, over the Sespe River bridge and then turn left at the stop sign.  This road is Goodenough, which you will follow through the neighborhood and then keep it going all the way to the mountain.  At the deadend, keep going.  The road shoots up to the right.  This becomes an on and off dirt road, watch out for fallen rocks.  The road is narrow, you will cross some water crossing but unless there have been recent rains, they are passable.

I will say this, the road was in great shape.  I have been up this way before when it was not.  However, the final 2.5 miles to the Dough Flat, was closed off!

***I've been back here before.  In fact, my first ever real hike in Cali started from Lockwood Valley, where we were dropped off at Johnston Ridge, hiked down to the Sespe Hotsprings and camped there for the night.  I remember Domino stepped in the hot water creek near the source where the water temp comes out at 198 degrees.  I used a water bottle to cool off her pads, which proved to be costly as on the next day, hiking over to the Dough Flat left us in thirst.  It was a 100 degree day and we all ran out of water.  We scrambled rocks along the Sespe, found our trail past Alder Creek and climbed 2500+ feet to finally make it to the Dough Flat.  It was an all day endeavor and honestly, I barely made it.

I tossed off my backpack on the switchback because I was too weak, and that's when I was strong.  I returned 2 weeks later during the Big Fires to retrieve it...

**But, this is about now, and from the fork in the road in the picture above, turn left and follow the road 2.5 miles to the Dough Flat.  Along the way you will see the waterfall off to the right; but if you go in the heart of summer, I am sure the falls are bone dry.

Before following the road to the Dough, Ayden and I hiked to the right, Tar Creek??  I still don't know much about this area other than there are oil wells, many roads going all different directions and that a guy, I think a firefighter, who was camping back here with a friend last year, wandered away from camp looking for his dog and mysteriously died.  I heard there are some cool spots, but we did not find anything immediate, so we turned back...

Dough Flat

Well, we made it to the Dough Flat and had intended to actually start here and hike up to Ant Camp.  Instead, just before the flat, we notice this little trail...

Condor Lookout Trailhead
 This was an easy quarter mile hike up to a lookout...

Grass on the trail - Not used Much
 ..Nor did we see a single sole back here the entire day.  Crazy - such a beautiful day and we had it all to ourselves...

The Dough Flat parking area (from above)

Condors: 10 foot wing span 
...yeah, but we didn't see any...

The Lookout

LUNCH!!!!
 About that.  There was no fire pit up here, nor should there be.  But, they closed the road, we were hungry now, so I made one.  We went to the lower lookout, where it was less windy.  Cleared out a spot, dug a hole, surrounded it with rocks, made a bench for Ayden and - Dinner is Served!

Smores!
Smores and Sauges!  So much for me losing weight - but nice reward.  I plan to come back out this way soon - I aspire to hike past Ant Camp into the unknown, find my way to the Narrows and come out in Piru.  It would appear to be totally doable, but then again, there is no marked trail and I know the elevation drop is intense so, hmm, Who is Ready?

I also have another neat one, to hike to McDonald Cabin and search for the Indian Caves.  Yes, they exist - but the forest ranger will deny that they do.  Perhaps this summer, in route to lose 52 pounds, I will make the journey...

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