Monday, February 28, 2011


Date: Monday February 28, 2011
Miles: 1.5
Elevation Gain: 275 Feet
Time: 45 Minutes
Difficulty: Simple
Reward: Edumacational
Description: Hiking along a county park trail with signage and descriptions of local plants. **This is also a dog park.  Bring your kids & dogs for sure!
Where: Camarillo, CA
Directions:From the 101 Freeway in Camarillo, exit on Camarillo Springs Rd and drive to the Northeast side of the freeway.  Take the narrow winding road to the end and you will arrive at the park.  You may need to pay to enter on the weekend??  Drive straight to the back and park.  Look to the right:

The water spot in the upper left of the picture is bugging me.  I need a new camera!  The spot is even worse when I video record--- anyhow.  I didn't know what was back here so I figured that I would check it out.  Awesome find!

So that's what the itchy stuff looks like!
I'm still itching for 4 weeks now!!!

There are trail signs and arrows, but I took it backwards.  The trail will switchback up a hill and then off to the left spurs an unmarked trail, as seen in the picture above.

This trail leads towards the grade

Just behind this rock is the bottom of the Conejo Grade (101 Freeway).  The trail essentially ends and there is no good way to go further.  However, this is where a trail could be bushwhacked to connect to Mt. Rex.  There is also a lower route possible on the otherside of the park but it is fenced off as private property.  In addition to saving the seals in Carpinteria, I will raise money to connect Camarillo to Newbury Park.  One day, there will be a mountain bike trail from Camarillo to Wildwood Park!

While you walk along the trail, you will hear many animal sounds.  The picture above explains some of these sounds.  It's a dirty but interesting way to raise farm animals.

The entire marked loop is less than a 3/4 mile hike.  Venturing out to the grade will essentially double your hike.  The park is quite scenic and there is a fenced section to allow your dogs to run loose.  However most pet owners let their dogs run through a small field by the parking lot.  I noticed about 10 dogs here and none of them were in the designated area.  No big deal because not many people were at this park.  Have fun, the park is yours...
**Later that day I hiked an additional 1.5 miles  +400 feet with my wife, son and dogs.  Todays grand total was:
3 Miles  +675 feet


Date: Sunday February 27, 2011
Miles: 3.5
Elevation Gain: 25 Feet
Time: 2.5 Hours
Difficulty: Gofer holes!
Reward: Kids Soccer Game!
Description: Jogging around the soccer fields
Where: Ventura, CA
Directions:From the 101 Freeway in Ventura, exit on Victoria and drive north to Telegraph.  Turn right and pass the shopping.  Turn right on Hill and drive to the end of the street and park at Mound Elementary School.  If you look up to the left over the freeway, you will notice the Walking Bridge that I hiked on DAY 85: Victoria Tunnel

That morning, my dog Sammi was pounding the childrens water table in the back yard.  She attacked it with her mouth and nose, hit it with her paws and then finally jumped in it.  It was below freezing in Ventura that night.  The water was completely frozen.  Folks, that just doesn't happen out here!

It was the kids first soccer game of the spring season.  Since I knew that we were going to go van shopping that afternoon, I needed the Balboa Middle School Soccer Fields to be my hike for the day.

Snow capped mountains behind the trees

We bought a 2008 Honda Odysee later that day.  I spent over 2 hours on the soccer fields; jogging & watching games.  As usual, Alyssa scored 4 goals in her 4-0 win over a random team.  Ayden did not fair as well.  No goals for him and his team lost 4-1.


Date: Saturday February 26, 2011
Miles: 3.0
Elevation Gain: 800 Feet
Time: 1.25 Hours
Difficulty: Just above Freezing
Reward: Completing another day
Description: Walking across uprooted terrain
Where: Ventura, CA
Directions:From the 101 Freeway in Ventura, exit on Victoria and drive north past all the shopping.  Turn left on Foothill and turn right on Skyline.  Follow Skyline all the way to the top and turn right on Topa Topa.  At the end of the road, there is a fence.

Just before the end of Topa Topa on the left is a gate that you may enter.  That will lead you to the upper trails above Arroyo Verde or a better alternate route to the radio stations.  However, today I hiked a different spot.  At the end of TopaTopa, you can walk up the hill to the right and duck under the barb wire versus climbing the fence.  The clouds in the sky above were amazing!  Hiking up and to the left becomes nearly impossible, but you can hike to the right and it will take you all they way back down to Foothill.  Some of the field portion is uprooted but it is crossable.  This is a great place to just let your dogs run around.  Nobody comes here!  I would leave your kids at home.  As you go lower, a canyon dip will separate you from the neighboring houses.  Thus, the only real way to enter and exit this area is from the top and bottom.  Check out the views on this day:

I took this picture on the next day at Balboa.  The filed above on the hill is essentially what I climbed with the dogs.  When I was done this day, instead of calling it quits, I leashed up the dogs and then walked down Skyline and then back up again.  This doubled my mileage and elevation gain.  From bottom to top along the hill, you may gain about 400 feet, but it feels like a thousand!  The hill does go higher than the houses but with my old Dalmatian, I couldn't risk going thru the shrub already knowing that reaching the road to the Radio Stations would be impossible from this point.  Better off going around to the side gate and hiking from that spot.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Date: Friday February 25, 2011
Miles: 1.25
Elevation Gain: 150 Feet
Time: 45 Minutes
Difficulty: Battling the rain!
Reward: If you call being soaking wet a reward!
Description: There is a nice little trail up here
Where: Thousand Oaks, CA
Directions:From the 101 Freeway in Thousand Oaks, take the 23 Freeway north and exit on Sunset Hills.  Go left (West) to the end and turn left on Olsen.  Turn right on Moorpark and look for the YMCA about a half mile up on the left.  Go up the drive and keep going up the road to the very top.  Park your car by the dirt where you can play a game of horseshoes.

Explore the area.  You are up on a hill and it begins to go lower, but I didn't see a clear way to the bottom.  I've been told that there is a trails by CLU, which will lead to Wildwood.  I'll try that one on a different day.


Date: Thursday February 24, 2011
Miles: 1.5
Elevation Gain: 75 Feet
Time: 45 Minutes
Difficulty: Easy walkway, unless you decide to make it difficult!
Reward: 102 Dalmatians, the sequel
Description: Walking next to the barranca
Where: Ventura, CA
Directions:From the 101 Freeway in Ventura, exit at Main Street/Telephone.  Drive down Main Street toward the mall (west).  Turn right on Mills.  Turn right on Telegraph.  Ventura College will be on the left, look for the street Estates on the right; pass Estates and then park immediately on Telegraph.  The trailhead is tucked in between a house and driveway: 

This tunnel was actually quite cool.  You can walk through it as it travels under the walkway above.  Yes, it is dark but there is light at the end of the tunnel.  It opens up again before it enters another unknown tunnel which travels underneath Telegraph and then who know from there?  The dogs and I stayed on the upper trail.

The picture of the field above is across from Day Rd.  If you've ever wondered about this vacant lot, well now you now.  From the barranca, hike up a 25 foot hill to reach the field.

The hike was easy, but I complicated it at the end.  Instead of going back to the car, I dipped down into the barranca with the dogs and began hiking toward Camino Real.  It quickly gets dark and overgrown.  It drops down, it's narrow and wet.  Domino could not handle it and honestly, I couldn't either.  I discovered this place yesterday when I was leaving Camnio Real.  The barranca travels along Aurora and eventually leads to the swing that I talked about yesterday.  When I was driving up Estates, I noticed a fenced off overgrown area and wondered.  When I turn right on Telegraph I saw this trailhead from the car so I had to try it.  I haven't yet hiked along the Aurora side so I will return another day and see if there is a tunnel to walk thru.


Date: Wednesday February 23, 2011
Miles: 3.0
Elevation Gain: 50 Feet
Time: 1.5 Hours
Difficulty: Keeping the dogs on the leash until we reach the dog park
Reward: Day 101; dedicated for my Dalmatian 
Description: A walk around the park & fenced in dog park
Where: Ventura, CA
Directions:From the 101 Freeway in Ventura, exit at Main Street/Telephone.  Drive down Main Street toward the mall (west).  Turn right on Mills.  Turn right on Telegraph.  Ventura College will be on the left, look for the street Estates on the right; turn right on Estates.  Take estates to the end and turn right on Aurora.  The back entrance to the park will begin at the end of Aurora. 

I dedicated this day to my 12-year-old Dalmatian (101 Dalmatians!)  Of course my 2-year-old Golden Retriever came along for the ride.  From the entrance described above, you will enter by the tennis courts.  I parked here and then walked around the entire park to reach the dog park in the way back.  You can drive closer, but what would be the point of that?  You'll pass the baseball fields and there is a cement walkway that circles the park.  In the past, high school students would run cross country here.  There is also a stat board for the best 3-mile times.  --For the younger kids, there are two playground areas.  Also, along the back fence is a steep ravine.  If you look carefully, there is a rope swing but it is a little dangerous.  You'll have to go under or through the wooden fence to get down there.  My kids have been swinging from the rope since they were 5.

I didn't take any pictures today :( but we did jog the park twice and my dogs spent a good thirty minutes getting muddy and playing with the other dogs off leash in the fenced area. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I made the newspaper today!!!  VENTURA COUNTY STAR.  I spoke to a guy today, someone that I respect and consider of good nature.  The idea of utilizing my effort for something good was the base of our discussion.  The Seal Sanctuary in Carpinteria is only protected for 5 months out of the year.  Many people don't even know about it!  As far as I know, there is no website or way to donate to protect it all year round.  Well, I'd like to hike for a cause and hiking to protect the seals is my cause!  On my state tax returns, I always donate to the seals so this just makes sense.  Problem is; I have no idea where to begin???  If someone knows a local company that can help promote this idea, please call me!  I'm thinking that a local sporting good store can team up with a local web designer to help support this idea.  Since I am busy working during the day and hiking after, I really don't have time to organize it myself.  Call me at: (805) 701-6123 and let's figure this out for the seals!  DAY 84: Harbor Seals in Carpinteria

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


***TOP 10 HIKES***

~Click on the Day Number for more pictures and details.

1.  DAY 98: Gridley to Nordoff Peak  
14.5 Miles  +3500 Feet  Ojai, California

A perfect day to take a long hike up a gradual incline with my 7-year-old son and golden retriever.  The dry rocky trailhead led to a snow covered paradise.  We sloshed through the white stuff and reached the peak.  The views of the real Ventura County were amazing!

3.5 Miles  +900 Feet  Montecito, California

The wife and kids joined me on this fun hike.  It would have been better to leave the dog behind because the final stretch involves some tricky rock climbing.  This nicely shaded trail leads to a 100 foot waterfall!  The views of the ocean were spectacular!

5.0 Miles  +75 Feet  Carpinteria, CA

Less than a half mile from the parking lot, the Harbor Seal view point can be reached.  This is a perfect casual walk to take your young kids.  The seals are only in town from December to May each year.  Leave your dogs at home for this one.  I took my kids on a five mile beach hike to scope out the entire region.
12.5 Miles  +1200 Feet  Piru, CA

Before you allow the mileage distract you, please know that most of this trip was completed on bicycle.  I normally don't mountain bike but because the road beyond Piru Lake is permanently closed, it only makes sense to pedal.  Due to an overflowing creek, we could not complete the hike.  I will be back! 

8.0 Miles  +2500 Feet  Montecito, CA

A truly rewarding accomplishment!  The views of Anacapa Island are remarkable.  The peak is 3173 feet above sea level and you are only miles from the ocean.  The final stretch to the peak is quite steep, but it's worth it!   

5.0 Miles  +1150 Feet  Malibu, CA

These waterfalls are just a five minute hike from Kanan.  The Backbone trail crosses the Santa Monica Mountains and is well maintained.  Intersecting these falls was a nice surprise!  


5.5 Miles  +1300 Feet  Ventura, CA

If you live in Ventura and haven't been to Two Trees, I know the thought has at least crossed your mind.  You can reach the top in 20 minutes but I extended the course.  Read the article and decide which way you want to go.  Respect the private property and have fun!

6.0 Miles  +400 Feet  Alta Dena, CA

The mileage for this trip includes everything I did that day.  You can reach these magnificentfalls in less than an hour from the car.  The elevation climb is also very mild.  This was a random discovery and I found it with my family :)

2.5 Miles  +600 Feet  Gaviota, CA

A truly unique phenomenon!  The trail is very easy for the most part but I wouldn’t bring children under the age of 7.  The end portion is steep and the loose gravel does make it tricky.  The ocean views are great and don't forget to sign in to the log book at the very top!


2.5 Miles  +50 Feet  Ventura, CA

The excitement on my son's face propelled this hike into my top 10.  We had an adventurous day and coming across this rope swing was just plain awesome!  Hiking is one aspect of this endeavor.  Exploring the unknown adds the exclamation over the point!   

**MY 100 DAY SUMMARY:  335.5 Miles  +51,575 Feet**   



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