Sunday, September 4, 2011

Day 293 & 294: Save the Aviary at Steckel Park & Omer Rains Trail

Ventura County is tearing down my home!

Day 294: Sunday September 4, 2011
Save the Aviary
Steckel Park
Total Distance Today: 10.5 miles  +100 feet
Hiking: Santa Paula, CA
Running: Ventura, CA

Jess and I ran 9-miles this morning, but more about that in a moment...  I read in the newspaper that Ventura County has decided to cut funding for the Aviary at Steckel Park in Santa Paula.  In 1926, the mayor of Santa Paula, M.L Steckel, purchased the property for $15,000 and then donated the land to the city to serve as a park.  Due to budget cuts, Ventura County sites that the aviary must be torn down because it would take $150k to revamp.  In addition, it costs the county $11k a year to maintain the aviary; mostly bird food.

Really??  --This is horrible!  --There is a local caretaker who volunteers their time to care and feed the birds.  I'm nearly certain that if Ventura County really wanted a brand new aviary, people would help assist in the rebuilding of this project.  Ventura County officials have already approved the demolition, but it's never too late.  It seems like this is a very small price to pay to save a local attraction that has been around longer than most of us have been alive.  <~Thinking about starting a campaign; hmmm...

Front the 101 Freeway in Ventura, take the 126 East to Santa Paula.  Exit on 10th Street, Route 150 and turn left.  Follow the 150 out of Santa Paula and several miles further you will see Steckel Park on the right.  Steckel Park is also a campground and you may have to pay a few bucks on the weekend if you want to view the aviary.  Today is Sunday and there was no one there to take our money.  Once you drive into the entrance turn right and park.  The Aviary is right there.

 Two very talkative Cockatoos

There are over 100 birds at the aviary.  The city intends to find good homes for these birds.  I'm sure they will, but let me tell you that I lived in Santa Paula over 6 years ago and if you move these Cockatoos, I just don't think they will be the same.  Maybe they'll love it or maybe they'll be depressed.  Bottom line, our county needs more sanctuaries like this; not less!

I Googled the web and found an interesting read about the Aviary: 1994 LA Times Article

Hiking at Steckel Park.  --It's a family holiday weekend and what kid doesn't like skipping rocks in the water.  Due to the long run, the short hike was right on target.  There are many different ways to reach the peak, so we drove toward the back of the campgrounds and found this sign:

  I threw a rock in the water and quickly snapped a pic
(Ya; I'm a big kid too!)

9-Mile Run along the Omer Rains Trail:
Today we parked on the street by the Marriott Hotel across from In and Out in Ventura.  Parking at the city park will cost you 10 bucks; I think not!  --We walked to the bike path and began our run:

  • 10.06.18 to the pier
  • ~10.13 1st Mile
  • ~10.13 2nd Mile  **20.26.55 running time
  • 10.13.13 3rd Mile  **30.39.68
  • 10.54.60 4th Mile  **41.34.28
  • 10.40.19 5th Mile  **52.14.47
  • 10.18.39 6th Mile  **1:02.22
  • 10.02.45 7th Mile  **1:12.25
  • 10.31.84 to the pier
  • 9.02.43 to the finish
  • ~10.24 8th Mile
  • ~9.09 9th Mile  **1:31.59

Basically, an hour and a half to run 9 miles.  Jess and I paced together for the first three miles but then I slowed down and she kept it going.  It's amazing we maintained a 10.13 exactly for all three.  At the time, it felt like she was speeding up but I needed to pull back in order to complete this one.  Then, after we made the turn, I had to pick it up a bit to catch her.  For awhile, she was ahead of me by 40+ seconds but in the end I finished just 19.45 seconds ahead of her.

The mileage markers for 2, 3, & 4 are well defined; at least for me because I'm used to this place.  From what I can tell, the pier represents just about 1 mile in.  Then, after the fourth mile, you will reach the street but you can continue to jog along the bike path.  I once ran this all the way to Solimar and back (my first unofficial half marathon).  Today, we ran to the bridge, turned and came back.  Based on the pace, the bridge represents a half mile from the Mile 4 marker...

Like yesterday, Ayden rode his bike with us and was quite fussy.  He started with a 100 ounce camel pack, Jess took it over and I ran the final 4 miles with it and an iron man belt with 20 ounces of liquid.  All and all, good run and this one got to me...

Day 293: Saturday September 3, 2011
Omer Rains Trail
Total Distance Today: 5 miles  +50 feet
Running: Ventura, CA
All pictures taken from my cell on the run...

From downtown Ventura, make your way to the Fairgrounds.  You can try parking at Surfers Point for free but chances are there will be no available spots.  About a half mile back along Harbor, there is another free parking lot near the Holiday Inn.  However, today, no availability.  So, across from the fairgrounds right next to Surfers Point is a public lot.  $2.00 all day.  The sign said "Lot Full", but they let us park.  Final option would have been to pay 5 bucks at the fairgrounds...

 Surf Competition Today
(area is known as C Street)

 Chilly morning

 Walking and stretching away from the pier

 On the run now, Ventura River meets Pacific Ocean

Just around the turn when the pavement changes, if you look on the ground to the far right, you will see a faint "2" etched into the ground.  Based on my studies, this represents 2 miles from the starting point near In and Out.

 Train Crossing -- Crosses quick and didn't adjust my stride

 Mile 3 Marker on the right

 My wife Jessi

Mile 4 Marker

Just a couple minutes of jogging further, you will reach the street.  Today, we turned around and began heading back...
 Ayden doing Cool Trix

 Traffic Jam

 My wife in stride over The Ventura

Final Turn before the Sprint

5-Mile Run
  • 10.37.05 Mile 1
  • 10.31.77 Mile 2
  • 10.05.64 Mile 3
  • 10.13.87 Mile 4
  • 10.16.49 Mile 5 ==51.43.82
We weren't exactly sure going into it what we were going to run/ 5-miles it was.  This was my hike for the day.  First official visit to Omer Rains in my thousand day quest to "hike" in a new spot each day.  I'm sure that I will return many times and also head further up the Ventura River trail, which I have done already during this adventure.  Thus, when I come back, i will have to combine my visit with a hike somewhere else that same day. 

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