Thursday, June 30, 2011

DAY 228: Skelton Canyon Trail

**Trailhead off Lakeview Canyon Road

DAY 228: Skelton Canyon Trail
Date: Thursday June 30, 2011
Miles: 3.0
Elevation Gain 375 Feet
Time: 45 Minutes
Difficulty: Overgrown; If you wear shorts, the thistles will make this a miserable hike/run
Reward: The Discovery of Michael Brooks
Description: Leave your dogs and kids behind.  In fact, don't even come here; there is no point!
Where: Thousand Oaks, CA
Directions: From the 101 Freeway in Thousand Oaks, exit on Westlake Blvd and drive north.  Pass Thousand Oaks Blvd and then look for the trailhead on your right.  You'll need to pass the trail because there is no parking on the street.  At Hillcrest Dr, make a U-turn and then turn right on the first street (Santiago Street).  Park your car, carefully cross over Westlake Blvd and the trailhead will be directly across.
 This is the Trailhead off Westlake Blvd

**If you are going to hike this trail, it may be more sensible to hike from the Lakeview Canyon Trailhead.  To reach this trailhead exit on West Lake Blvd, drive North and then turn right on T.O. Blvd.  Turn left on Lakeview Canyon Road and then park in the parking lot on your right (Rear parking for Westlake High School).

From the Westlake Blvd Trailhead, you will fight overgrown thistle and take one switchback to the top.  Maybe you climb 150 - 200 feet.  There is no shade and when I went, it was nearly 90 degrees (common temp. for this area).  Finally up top, there are a few trees to duck under if you're hot.  However, I was running so no reason to stop, I wanted to sweat.  You then drop down to the other side and end at the back of the school.  I crossed the street because it looked shaded and interesting:

This fenced off bridge used to be a trail going up and behind the high school, I recon.  That means, if I search the next street over, I bet i will find an unmarked trailhead.  (That will be another adventure)

**Michael Brooks:
If that is even his real name; on my way back I saw this old raggedy looking guy sitting on a rock under a tree.  I noticed the cozy spot on my way up because there were many beer bottles and a pack of Parliament Menthol's.  I stopped and talk to him for a moment.  At first, he said that he hiked this trail every day but then he admitted that he lived up here.  He pointed to the off trail footpath that led higher to a few trees.  He explained that he made a cabin up there because rent was too expensive.  Although I did not see this "Cabin", he described the battery operated tv, bed and personal items.  His main treasure was a new guitar that he came about.  Mr. Brooks is a guitarist and he will often play in downtown Ventura and other places.  However, he said he doesn't like Ventura because of all the pan handlers.  Yet, he did make $400 in one day not too long ago; ok...

Michael is an animal lover.  He claims that he has mouse traps and feeds the bunnies.  He warned me of a stubborn Pacific Rattlesnake that refuses to leave the area.  Good think there is a local Buzzard that he is friendly with.  One day when Mike was walking back up, the Buzzard circled over him to warn him about the snake in his camp.  He said, "those buzzards are smart".

Michael Brooks has lived up top this hill for nearly a year now.  I told him that I hike one trail a day and likely, I will not be back to this area.  That said, it appears that you can also reach this location from the north end.  I won't attempt this anytime soon, but I do believe that I have a duty to highlight every possible footpath in Ventura County.  Westlake Village is technically in LA County, but I believe where I was is still barely considered VTA.


Day 225: Monday June 27, 2011
Return to Rancho Conejo Open Space: 2.0 miles +350 feet

**I added these photos because this object marks the end of the single track footpath that parallels the dirt road leading from the Hill Canyon Wetlands to Rancho Conejo Road.  This was my second time coming back to this area since being "lost" a couple weeks ago.  In effort to make the best possible map, I am stepping foot on all possible side paths to help me understand what I am drawing.  Boring, I know, but after 20 miles of hiking over the weekend...  My blisters were way bad!  Due to stepping in water and then hiking another 5+ miles, my feet were toast.  I probably shouldn't have hiked at all the next day; but I did!

Day 226: Tuesday June 28, 2011
Chumash Park: 1.5 miles +25 feet
**This sounds better than it is.  This is a tiny park in Ventura off Petit.  The blisters on my feet were still bothering so I took the opportunity to walk my dog Domino, not Sammi.  We rounded the small park, walked down Henderson and then back.  No big deal...

Day 227: Wednesday June 29, 2011
Junipero Serra Park: 2.0 miles +25 feet

Off Neath in Ventura, this is a cute little park.  Separated by fence, Serra Elementary School completes the block that we walked around.  I took the kids and dogs.  My feet are nearly blister free.  Funny thing though, my pain in the bottom of my right foot is returning.  Maybe it never left.  The blister pain was so painful that my mind was tricked.  Now that I can walk well again, it hurts differently.  After the walk today we soaked in our hot tub.  Why did I wait so long to do this?!  --I had it in my mind that the next day (today) I will run a "real trail".  And I did, sort of... Still going...

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