Reward (1-10):6 Description:Hiking from the town of Ojai into the National Forest. A gradual 2000 foot increase takes you into a secret hideout with a fire pit and running water.
Where?:Ojai, CA Directions:From Ventura take the 33 toward Ojai. Just after the freeway ends and passes thru the small blink town of Casitas Springs, you can take a short cut by turning right on Creek Rd. Follow this street to the end where it will turn left and become Ventura St. Take that up to the 150, the main street in Ojai. Turn right and then turn left at the first traffic signal, Signal Road. Follow that up a few blocks; it will round a corner to the right but then make an immediate left on the turn as Signal Road continues toward the mountain. Less than a half mile up, you will see the Los Padres Sign and the parking lot is on the left. Follow the dirt road back and park.
**MY 48 DAY SUMMARY: 175.5 Miles +26,575 Feet**
From 3000 Feet: Lake Casitas and Santa Cruz Island
With the wife and both kids, we began the gentle walk along a rocky trail at a slight incline following a stream. About a half mile up, you realize that you haven't even started because you are hiking past the backyards of local residents. After 1.2 miles, you finally make it past the neighborhoods and begin your journey up the fire road. There are alternate trails to the left and right but just stay straight on the main road for this trip. At 1.9 miles into the trip, you intersect with a main crossing. If you keep going straight, that will take you down the Cozy Dell Trail, which leads back to the 33. Instead, eat a snack, enjoy the view and head up the single track trail that switch backs to the right. There is a sign that says Nordoff Peak 4 miles. Today, we'll just go another thousand feet up, 1.3 miles to Valley View. There is no sign for it but I promise that the hideout does exist.
This 1.3 miles with kids seems more like 3 miles. The 20 minute fast pace walk for some took us 45 minutes, which seemed like an hour+. Yes, it is uphill but it did not exhaust me like a 1000 feet per mile climb usually does. Finally, the trail darts inward and you hear the water. You then switchback out and back in again. You know you are close because the trail now begins to dip. There is no sign, but the trail forks. Down to the right leads you to Valley View Camp. The total drop may be 200 feet, and you are there.
Campfire at Valley View
Dipping into the shaded forest combined with the stoppage of movement, it felt like the temperature dropped 20 degrees. The sweat on my back and the fact that the sun was lowering, I was cold too! We made a fire and heated up some water. We enjoyed a dehydrated package of Chicken Rid with Mashed Potatoes. I highly recommend this mix. You can pick it up at any Walmart or sporting good store. Most of the dehydrated foods taste quite yummy after a long hike. We also warmed up to hot cocoa and searched the area. There may have been more of a waterfall further up, but we were satisfied with the running water by the camp. In a hollowed out tree was an army box with a log book. We signed in. There was another tree formation that could be used as shelter, a very unique find.
Finally, we packed up and out. Don't leave any litter, take it with you! The forest is amazing, so let's keep it that way! We trotted down the trail and opened it up to a sprint when we hit the main road. We made it back to our car in under an hour and just after sundown. You could say that it was a perfect hike, with exception to the portion that we had to carry Ayden and Alyssa complaining about her ankle. Other than that, perfect!
View more photos on Facebook. If you are not my friend there yet, just ask me :)