Sunday, May 29, 2011

DAY 195: Peter Strauss Ranch

Cali's largest swimming pool in the 1930's

DAY 195: Peter Strauss Ranch
Date: Saturday May 28, 2011
Miles: 1.5
Elevation Gain: 200 Feet
Time: 1 Hour
Difficulty: Easy
Description:History and a loop trail
Where: Agoura Hills, CA
Directions:From the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills, exit on Kannan and head toward the ocean.  A few miles down you'll see the brown Peter Strauss sign.  Turn left on Troutdale Drive.  Take that to the end and you'll run right into the ranch.  Turn left on Mulholland and the parking lot is on the right.

Before heading down Kanan, we stopped at the store and met some guys out in the parking lot:

 Caught at Leo Carrillo Beach

Dinner for two

For thousands of years, this area was occupied by the Chumash Indians.  I spoke to a park ranger and he explained that in the 1930's, this place was known as a fairyland retreat for adults and children.  Years later, a dam was built on Triunfo Creek and a small lake formed known as Lake Enchanto.  In the decades ahead larger amusement parks like Disneyland opened and diminished the popularity of Lake Enchanto.  Finally around 1960, Lake Enchanto closed for good.

Peter Strauss was an actor filming the TV series Rich Man, Poor Man at Malibu Lake.  He loved the natural beauty of this surrounding and purchased the ranch in 1976.  In 1983 he sold it to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreational Area...

From the parking lot, head back toward the street and walk to the left across the bridge.  You will see the trail sign.

 The Old Place across the street

 The Ranch

 The old Aviary

 The old stage

This trail loops into the mountainous hill above and then comes back down the other side.  I hiked this years ago when my kids when they were wee bit little, and I seem to remember a spur trail that leads off the loop higher into the mountain.  However, today we did not complete the loop.  We stopped by between games during Alyssa's Soccer Tournament in Thousand Oaks.  Alyssa's Ventura Vipers beat Simi Valley 1-0 in the first game and then took out the Conejo Valley team 5-0.  Alyssa scored 3 total goals!  This was her first exposure playing 11 on 11 on the professional size field.  We go back today (Sunday) to take on the undefeated and relentless Camarillo Eagles...

Regarding Saturday's hike; carcasses of small rodents turned away my wife.  There were several park rangers in the area today but they seemed to only care for the cleaning of the restrooms rather than tend to the needs of the trail.  Spider webs and stale leaves made for an eerie feeling in the air.  Just like the last time that we visited, it was a beautiful day for a hike but no visitors around.  Either people don't know about this site or they just don't care.  Still, I'm glad it's here and I will come back to climb the hill above.

***Use your own discretion viewing the next few pictures.  They are disturbing pics of injured & dead rodents:


 Missing a foot

 Dead in his tracks

 Never had a chance

DAY 193: Thursday May 26, 2011
Beyond Hueneme Pier:  1 mile  +25 feet

My legs were sore from the long hike to the top of Mt. Boney from Wednesday.  The weather up in Thousand Oaks where I worked was hot and sunny but by the time I reached Oxnard, it became cool and windy.  Nevertheless, I took off my shoes and walked the beach from the pier to the Pt. Hueneme Base.  The cold water felt refreshing on my swelled feet.   

DAY 194: Friday May 27, 2011
Caterpillars at Arroyo Verde:  3 miles  +500 feet

Theory has it that these caterpillars will turn into a beautiful flying object.  --I don't believe it :)
**Today, I hiked down from my house to the park (the normal way) and then ventured off trail into the lower thick off the "rattlesnake trail".  My legs have been restored from the long hike so I was in the mood to explore.  The only noteworthy discovery are the pictures above.    


A few days ago I bought the map to the of the Pt. Mugu State Park (Boney Mountain Wilderness).  I retraced my footsteps on Day 178.  Turns out we hiked about 9 miles and climbed +2000 feet of elevation.  For tracking purposes, this adds 0.5 miles & +800 feet to my totals.  I will edit the post but because my last summary was done after this day, I will have to keep this as a side note.  In final, my blog just reach 9,992 hits.  It seems I am averaging about 50 views a day.  I have no idea who is viewing this, but thank you!  I am not getting paid for it but reaching 10,000 hits is like a celebration.  I compare it to the movie where Facebook achieved 1 million members.  **Hey, whatever works!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

DAY 192: Boney Mountain to Tri-Peaks (Secret Trail from Newbury Park)

Game 5505:
 From the top of Tri-Peaks overlooking the Conejo Valley (Elevation 3,010 Feet)

DAY 192: Boney Mountain to Tri-Peaks (Secret Trail from Newbury Park)
DateWednesday May 25, 2011
Miles: 9.5
Elevation Gain: 2800 Feet
Time: 3.5 Hours on a fast pace/jog (Reserve a half day and enjoy yourself!)
Difficulty: Pretty simple until you reach the Monument where the real climbing begins.  The final stretch will put you down on all fours to scramble up the loose rock and dirt.  Only the fittest and agile hiker should attempt this climb.  That said, why am i doing it :)?
Reward: King of the World; the Highest Point in the Santa Monica Mountain Range!
Description: Follow the marked trail to Danielson Monument.  Then, take the off-map secret trail to the top.  The trail is easy to find but you will climb +2000 feet over the last 2 miles...
Where: Newbury Park, CA
Directions:From the 101 Freeway in Thousand Oaks, exit on Wendy and head south.  Take Wendy to Lynn a and turn right.  Drive past the next major intersection, Reino Rd. and then look for the National Park entrance on your left.  There will be a brown sign identifying the turn off.  Drive to the back and park.

I finally bought a map of this wilderness.  Of course, the "Secret Trail" that I was about to hike was not marked on the map!  The trails that I have hiked are highlighted but the specific route I was taking today is highlighted in pink/orange and begins near the Satwiwa Culture Center.  The highlighted section after the Monument is not exact...

 Park your bike, or car, and let's go! (Elevation 800 feet)

 The first quarter mile: Boney 5 miles ahead!

Cross the road and the bridge
 Turn right after the 1st bridge (the 2nd bridge takes you to the center)

The 0.4 mile trail across the field leads to the mountain entrance

I explored this area on DAY 178.  I will be retracing footsteps for about 1.5 miles from the Satwiwa Loop Trail to the Monument cut off.  Click the (Pic's) for more details...

Pic: Head Up the Hill then Pic: Pass the Bench  I didn't rest today; I just kept trucking!  Pic: Go to the Right (Follow the signs to the Monument). (Elevation 1060 Feet, an easy +260 from the trailhead)  You will then drop nearly 200 feet and reach: Pic: Water Crossing.  If you continue to follow this trail, you will reach the waterfall.  Instead, when you see an obvious switchback to the right, take it up higher.  After a series switchbacks you will intersect a junction:

 The sign reads (Site Cabin)
Stay straight on this trail.  Do not take the switchback trail that heads up and to the right.  This would lead you to the Fossil Trail.  There is a well marked sign (you're only 0.3 miles to the Monument).

 It must be butterfly season...

 Danielson Monument (Elevation 1460 Feet)

 1 hour of hiking: 2.6 miles +860/-200 feet

You'll see this trail just before the Monument.  Take a rest if you'd like and then head in.  This is where the map ends.  I felt apprehensive.  To make matters worse, I heard loud footsteps in the woods.  I picked up a rock and crept forward.  I did not know what to expect...

 A fireplace; I'll come back next week and build a house...

 The incline begins!

 Nicely shaded and the trail is easy to follow

 Into the open; fortunately it was not hot!

 Challenging (be sure to pack plenty of water)

 Good spot to take a breath and admire the view

 Instead, I stand on the rock, take a pic and keep going!

 Scramble across a rock and then head lower and into it

 Prepare for the final accent

 Getting kinda sketchy up here; be careful!

 It's worth it!

 You see where you have to go, so go there!

 Seal Treasure Ahead

You just came up some of the toughest climbing.  The steep shaded trail is made up of loose dirt and rock.  I had to use all fours to reach the boulder that you see in the picture above.  I am being a bit dramatic; it wasn't that bad.  Maybe it was the fact that I just climbed over 2000 feet and refused to rest.  I figure that I'm an old man and like George Foreman fought in his later years, he didn't sit down between rounds and neither will I...  **If you are following the Seal Treasure Game from, your treasure awaits you.  It's impossible to miss this boulder.  At the edge, take one step up and look to the right:
 The Seal Treasure

I hid the bottle just behind the reachable edge of the wall and covered it with some rocks.  As always, bring a pen or take a picture of the clue and then place it back in the bottle for the next hunter...  Before you head back home, climb up the final 100 feet to the top of Tri-Peaks:

 Up and along the wall...

 Take a look around...

 Across the Boney Valley, Ocean Views!

 On top of Tri-Peaks!

Mission Complete!  Retrace your footsteps from the highest elevation in the Santa Monica Range.  You can slightly see the distant Topa Topa Peak in the Los Padres National Forest.  Typically, the clearest days are in the winter months.  These are also the best times to hike, except for when it rains.  There are more peaks to climb and caves to explore on the other side of this Boney Valley but the hour was growing old and I had to race the sun back to my bike.  I will return!  There are shorter trails that leave from Yerba Buena Road, on the Malibu side of the mountain.

 Don't forget where you came from...

Heading back down along the wall

The hardest part of the trip was the first quarter mile down off the top.  You will slide but you'll make it!  Two hours up; 1.5 hours down.  My legs were like jelly.  I nearly ran right into a deer crossing the trail on the way back.  I think we were both at full speed when it happened.  **I had a great time and NO POISON OAK! 


DAY 191: Tuesday May 24, 2011
Ranch Overlook Trail: 2.0 miles  +50 Feet Elevation
I parked at the same spot as I did on Day 192.  I came here today knowing what I was going to do tomorrow so i just wanted to get my legs in motion.  From the parking area, I visited the Satwiwa Culture Center and then headed back down the open field trail known as Ranch Overlook.  I hiked that about a mile on mostly level suface and then rounded back to the car.  Not much to see here except the occasional lizzard and possible snake.  I was saving my legs for Wednesday.
**MY 192 DAY SUMMARY:  643.5 Miles  +84,850 Feet**

To the best of my knowlede, in the half year that I have been hiking I have surpassesed all possible elevations of the universe.  For example, the peak of Olympus Mons on Mars is 69,649 feet above the Mars areoid (the assumed sea level on Mars if it had water).  The Olympus Mons is a massive volcano that stretches 300 miles wide.  Based on the surrouding landscape, which would below sea level, Olympus Mon raises about 82,000 feet from the lowest level. 
Part of my hiking aspiration is to achieve good health and set new goals.  I now have my mind set on reaching the elevation of the International Space Station.  At it's lower levels above the Earth's atmosphere, the Space Station sits 200 miles above our planet.  That means I will need to climb about a million feet total!  Thus far, I am nearly 20% complete toward my 1000 day total but less than 10% of the height of the Space Station.  I would also like to equal my distance traveled to the circumference of the Earth which is 24,859.82 miles.  I have only hiked about 2.5% of this so far.  Bottom line;  I will need to hike further, higher and faster to acheive these goals.  That means, I will have more amazing hikes in the up coming months.  Stay tuned...



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