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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!!!

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