Friday, February 4, 2011


Date: Tuesday February 1, 2011
Miles: 3.50
Elevation Gain450 Feet
Time1.75 Hours
Difficulty (1-10): 1.5
Reward (1-10): 2.5
Walk up an old mountain road and enjoy the beautiful open grassland.  You'll share the day with local cows and mountain bikers.
Where: Casitas Springs, CA
Directions: From the 101 Freeway in Ventura, exit at the 33 freeway and drive north.  Continue north on the 33 thru Casitas Springs, where the freeway ends.  On the right you will pass Nye Rd, the small town of Casitas Springs and then Nye Rd again.  Shortly thereafter, Sulphur Mountain Road will appear on the right.  Turn right and drive about a quarter mile to the gate. 
Sulphur Mountain Trailhead (from Casitas Springs)

When I moved to Ventura County in 2002, I had no idea where I was.  I had lived in Cleveland for 27 years and knew the city streets from east side to west side better than anyone.  When I was young, one of my hobbies was asking my mom for a new map from AAA and then asking her to take me on a drive.  I learned how to navigate at an early age and was eager to discover new streets.  When she couldn't take me for a drive, I'd play with my Hotwheels and design my own city streets.  Before I cleaned up the town, I would draw a map of what I had created.

I utilized my knowledge of the streets of Cleveland by becoming a Circulation District Manager for the New York Times.  This required route delivery and training all over Northeastern Ohio.  Of course, running around the same streets every day does tend to become boring.  You can say that my last year in Cleveland was quite dull; stale.
When I moved to Cali, I found myself delivering Newspapers again as a Circulation District Manager for the Ventura County Star.  Then, I began picking up police donations in Ventura County.  I did this for three years and I learned just about every single street in the county.  A permanent map of VTA has been etched in my mind forever, but I really own stepped foot on a very small percentage of the county.  It will take years to cover the vast mountainous and open space areas.
On the map, there is a big blank spot between Ventura and Ojai.  Other than the 33, the only other way to reach this town is down the 150 from Santa Paula.  Basically, behind my house, Arroyo Verde, Two Trees and The Cross, there is nothing??  That is, until I discovered Sulphur Mountain Road:
The hills roll from Ventura to Ojai until the Los Padres command the Mountain.  I hope these property owners never sell out.  Whoever owns it is sitting on a fortune.  How easy would it be to develop this land and turn it into a metropolitan?  That would be horrible!  I do wish that they would build a few more trails for people like us to enjoy the natural beauty, but at least we have Sulphur Mountain Road.  I can't believe I never knew of this place.
From the 33, it looks like this trail is going to take you straight up 1000+ feet.  From the outside, it looks like this is going to be a very hard feat, but that all changes!  The road is very easy going and simple.  I hiked this with my son and a guy named Kit.  I'll bring him back up in a few days but for now just know he is a nature lover who enjoys hiking and is interested in climate change.  We had a good talk along our walk.
There is no shorter of cows!  The road goes on for 9 miles and will eventually lead to a gate on Sulphur Mountain Road, which intersects the 150.  If you wanted to walk straight through, its recommended that you get dropped off from the 150 and then picked up in Casitas Springs.  The overall elevation drops if you start from the back side but from what I have read, there are some gnarly hills that you'll need to deal with still.  The total elevation gain coming from Casitas springs is over 2000 feet.  An 18 mile in and out hiking trip would be a dawn to dusk event, if your body didn't collapse first.  For that reason, most people attempt this trip on mountain bike.  Ayden, Kit and I barely hiked a mile and a half before we turned around.  I wasn't tired but the sun was going down and Ayden started to get bored.  That being said, he is excited to attempt the back side someday on bike.  Stay tuned...

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