Monday, April 30, 2012

Day 529: Nicholas Flats - Meadows Trail - Lake - Malibu

Hidden Lake

Day #529 * Hike #608 * New Track #530
Friday April 27, 2012
Nicholas Flats - Meadows Trail - Lake - Malibu, CA
Santa Monica Mountains
My Tripometer: 1.5 Hour * 2.75 Miles * +275 Feet
The Trailhead (no dogs)
From the 101 Freeway in Thousand Oaks, exit on Westlake Blvd (23 South).  Turn right on Westlake Blvd and continue south towards Malibu on the very windy road.  At 7.0 miles from the 101 you will reach the stop sign at Decker Canyon and Mulholland Highway.  Continue straight on Decker Canyon for another 2.4 miles.  Make a very sharp right turn onto Decker School Road.  Please note, Decker School Lane is only 1.3 miles from Mulholland DO NOT TURN on that.  Once on Decker School Road, take the street to the end 1.5 miles.  Park under the tree and begin your hike... 
 The highlighted Pink Route that I took Today

Great for Kids!
A quick simple hike to the lake is less than a mile round trip with only 75 feet of elevation gain.  It doesn't get easier than that, but I went out without instructions or a map so I kind of got wild lost...

 Turn right at the junction (about a quarter mile down the shaded trail)

I came to this area last summer but I jogged right past this junction.  It's easy to see but for some reason I thought that I would hit the lake by going straight.  Although I didn't have my map on me, I remembered that the lake was to the right.  After you turn right on the Nicholas Flats Trail you will reach a fork in about 10 strides.  The more promising trail is to the right, so I took that route.  However, TO REACH THE LAKE, TAKE THE LEFT FORK.

 0.3 miles from the fork to the Meadows Trail

Just before reaching this junction you will pass a trail that forks back to the left.  It's like a figure 8 so I didn't want to go back and I didn't want to go straight so a took an easy left turn through the flats.  The lake has to be up this way, right?

 Grassy Nicholas Flats

 The trail

 Hmm, the trail climbs through this, no big deal...

 Awesome Ocean Views

There were a couple of other trails spurring off but they didn't have signs so I remained on this main trail.  I was pretty sure at this point I had gone the wrong way to see the lake but why not, let's keep going.  It was a good workout.

 This trail looked like it went up forever.
Although there was no sign, I turned right on another trail

 Where am I going?

Nicholas Flats was in my vision to the right so I figured that I was heading towards the Meadows Trail.

 Nice Mountain

 Aha!  Turn right on the Meadows Trail
There was no other way to go, no straight or left, just right

 Malibu Springs Trail to the left, nah, next time

 Back through the flats

 I did make a figure 8
Left to the car, right to the lake?

 A bird in paradise

 Water level dropping over the years like Lake Mead

As I was jogging, I could tell that this area was quickly approaching because the sounds of birds and life became more vibrant.  There was no other noise around.  No cars, motorcycles, airplanes or people.  I was on a solo mission and had this all to myself.  The rocks told a story about how the water level had dropped over the years.  There is no creek system feeding water here but I did notice a pipe which probably drains some of god's juice (water).  I imagine a century from now this lake will be all but gone unless we have another 40 days and 40 nights.

 A hidden lake in the middle of the Santa Monica Mountains

 I took the outer trail around to the rocks

 Lizard Rock?
 Real Ocean Views!

I scrambled across the rocks and took many pictures but pictures do not represent the majestic beauty here.  This is an easy one between Malibu and Thousand Oaks so you have to mark this trip on your to do list. 

Back at the car and on Decker Canyon Road, it's only 2.5 miles to the PCH.

Accident on the 101
I wasn't even going to take the 101 from PCH but I was nearly out of gas.  I barely made it to Las Posas.  A typical Friday afternoon in Cali...

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Day 528: Arroyo Sequit - Muholland Highway & Decker

Off of Mulholland Hwy between Decker and PCH

Day #528 * Hike #607 * New Track #529
Thursday April 26, 2012
Arroyo Sequit - Malibu, CA
Santa Monica Mountains
My Tripometer: 1 Hour * 2.25 Miles * +450 Feet

From the 101 in Thousand Oaks, exit Westlake Blvd (the 23) and head south towards Malibu.  The 23 becomes a very windy nauseous road.  At the stop sign 7.0 miles from the 101 (intersection of Decker and Mulholland Highway), turn right on Mulholland Highway.  Continue on Mulholland for 1.8 miles and look for the small parking lot on the left just before the street swerves to the right.  The address out front is 34138 Mulholland Highway, Malibu CA 90265.

 The Trailhead, follow the paved road for about a quarter mile

 views off to the right

 Stay left on the paved road.  The loop trail will end back here

 Stargazing at night?

 Turn right of the grassy road here

 Some up and downs take you to this

 Switchback lower

 get your feet wet to the left to pickup the trail again

 Climbing back out will lead you to a T-Junction

I was excited to check out this trail today because I read online that there was a waterfall.  Well, I didn't see any waterfall?  For the most part, the trail was pretty gentle.  There was some rain earlier today but the conditions were pretty good.  There was some overgrowth but really no big deal until you reach the creek.  It was impossible avoiding soaking the feet so I just slushed my way through it.  The sludging only lasted about 20 feet and then the trail reappeared clearly on the left.  Eventually, you end up at the sign above.  I figured that turning right would be the way back to the car, so I chose left first.  No more than a tenth of a mile up, this trail leads out to an abandoned street.  No big deal, turn around and head back up the incline to the grassy flat...

The satellites
You will see these dishes frequently throughout your visit.  The best picture came out near the end of the journey.  Overall, very easy trail and you can bring the dogs and young kids.  You can always turnaround at the creek if you want to avoid soaking the feet.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Days 522 - 527: Walking on a sprained ankle.

Day #522 * Hike #600 * New Track #525
Friday April 20, 2012
Camino Magenta - Thousand Oaks, CA
Lynmere Trail
My Tripometer: 1.5 Hours * 3.5 Miles * +550 Feet

At the end of Camino Magenta off Lynn road in Thousand Oaks there is another way you can enter the Arroyo.  The paved road at the end of the street leads up to a water tower but if you turn left on the trail before that, you will be on the Lynmere Trail.  I've been on this route before but never from this trailhead.  I ran across and then down by the water before turning around and coming back up again.  I still get confused out here and I need to team up with my buddy Ian to explore more.

Day #524 * Hike #603 * Duplicate Track
Sunday April 22, 2012
Marina Park - Ventura, CA
My Tripometer: 1.5 Hours * 1.25 Miles * +25 Feet

After the Matilija Overnight trip with the kids, I relaxed at Ayden's Soccer game.  From there we went to Marina Park and I ventured around enough to consider this a hike, albeit a duplicate hike.  Some pictures:

 Seagulls on the Ship

 Dolphins in the water

 The ship in the back has a popular zip line for kids

Russian Statue at the end of the beach

Day #525 * Hike #604 * New Track #528
Monday April 23, 2012
Virginia Colony Park - Moorpark, CA
My Tripometer: 1.25 Hours * 2 Miles * +150 Feet

Off Princeton Ave in Moorpark, this small park backs up against the Simi Hills that I have hiked from the other side.  I entered in for a while but turned around before the real uphill began to link the dirt roads.  My ankle was swelling from the sprain that I suffered on the weekend overnight trip.

Day #526 * Hike #605 * Duplicate Track
Tuesday April 24, 2012
Arroyo Verde - Ventura, CA
My Tripometer: 1.5 Hours * 2.25 Miles * +250 Feet

With a sore ankle, I took the easy high road around Arroyo Verde today.  I completed the middle loop and did not go down into the park.  I walked the entire way, which I think upset Sammi because she was due for a good run.

Day #527 * Hike #606 * Duplicate Track
Wednesday April 25, 2012
Arroyo Verde - Ventura, CA
My Tripometer: 1.5 Hours * 2.25 Miles * +250 Feet

On the sore ankle, I completely copycatted yesterday's hike.  I suppose I'll take my ankle sprain from the Matilija hike versus what the little cousins received.  They have some strange bubbling up dots which look like chicken pox.  I think they're some sort of bug bite?  Ayden got some poison oak but fortunately I dodged that.  Uh oh, getting close again on the New Track numbers.  The problem now is that I am required to drive further everyday to find legit new tracks.  That being said, I found them.  Check back for my next post...

Cleveland Indians versus LA Angels: John Adams a Hero!

It was roughly 6:00pm yesterday and I was driving home from my hike in Malibu.  Then it dawned on me, the Indians were playing the Angels.  The game was being played in Cleveland so it should be on right now!  I quickly scrolled through the AM stations and I heard an announcer say, "...The throw back to Albert Pujols..."

You'd think after living in Cali for 10+ years I would know the stations by now, but I don't.  Judging by the time, the game should be in the late innings.  There was a pitch but no drum noise in the back.  I began to wonder if good old John Adams was still around beating the drums like he always has for the last half century.  Then the broadcasters announced that there were only 13,000 fans in attendance tonight, which was pathetic because it was a Friday night.  As I was thinking it, the announcers recalled the era when Cleveland sold out over 450 straight games from the mid 1990's to 2001.  I smiled, reminisced about how great that team was. 

"Cunningham grounded to Second", great, a double play ball, "only one play to first, Kotchman moves to second".  Okay, who are these people?  Doesn't matter, the announcer said Brantley was at the plate and then the thuds of the drums began to beat.  <~Boom  <~Boom  <~Boom  <~Boom...  I jerked a tear.  John Adams is alive and well pounding away as the Indians were down 2-1 in the bottom of the 7th.  All 13,000 fans on their feet and I could hear each one of them as I was driving down the PCH. 

Brantly hits the ball to deep center; it's a double and Kotchman ties the game!  The fans go nuts, John Adams beats those drums and I am in tears!

--This was the first action that I've heard or seen all season.  The Tribe is now 10-9 and in first place in their division.  I arrived home and missed the 9th inning.  I don't get Fox Sports so I couldn't watch it on TV.  I checked later in the evening and discovered that the Indians won the game in the 9th inning with a walk off single.  Of course, I just came back from hiking today and see that the Angels beat the Tribe by a score of 2-1.

All this got me thinking.  If Cleveland were to ever win a Championship, which sport would I enjoy it in the most.  Although Football is by far my favorite, I would have to say Baseball.  The reason why is because it is long and drawn out.  If you are heartfelt like I am, Baseball is the sport to absorb all the emotions.  Imagine each pitch, the joy in counting down to your victory, to your championship, to your fulfillment!  Um, well, that did happen in 1997 but then Jose Mesa blew it in the 9th and then in extra innings of Game 7, Florida destroyed that dream.

Bottom line, I want to come out to Cleveland later this year to take my son to a game.  I hope he can feel my Joy by feeling the sound of John Adams drums ...  John Adams.  Hey, remember this post.  I just got an idea!  Yes... John Adams.  ***I'll be back later to update some hiking.  I've done some great trails and I have a high ankle sprain.  I will post those next time.  For now, I need to find a way to contact John Adams!!!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Days 523 & 524: Camping on the Matilija Trail

Matilija Lake & Dam

Day #523 & 524 * Hike #601 & 602 * New Track #526 & 527
Saturday & Sunday April 21 & 22, 2012
Matilija Trail - Ojai, CA
Matilija Wilderness
My Tripometer: Overnight * 6.25 Miles * +650 Feet

My New Map of the Dick Smith and Matilija Wilderness
From Ojai, take the 33 North out of Ojai.  Set your tripometer after you pass the Fairview and La Luna intersection.  Proceed up the windy 33 for 3.4 miles and you will notice a street with a steep hill in front of you on the left side before the 33 winds right.  This is Matilija Canyon Road, turn left up the hill.  Follow Matilija all the way to the end and then park wherever you can.  This is a popular spot so normally there will be many cars parked there but you will be able to park on the side of the road if you cannot fit in the lot. 

The one downfall to this place is that cars have been broken into for many years.  Rumor has it that some stubborn property owners may be to blame because the initial trailhead walks through private property.  You are absolutely allowed to pass because trail easements have been granted for hikers.  More than likely teenagers from Ojai are vandalising the cars because the actual trailhead is reasonably close to town.

Matilija Lake, the picture at the top of this post, is located nearly immediately at the beginning of Matilija Canyon Road.  When Ayden was 2 years old, my wife and I parked on the side of the road and hiked down to the dam.  We were only out of the car for thirty minutes but when we came back her car window was completely shattered and Ayden's diaper bag was stolen.  All these thieves stole was some diapers and baby wipes.  Some people are just horrible and living without purpose.  If that is you then I don't want you reading my blog.  Otherwise, let's begin this hike!  

 0.6 miles up the road to the real trailhead

 Turn right on the Matilija Trail

 Bags packed for the overnight - Middle Camp was our goal

I rolled my ankle twice in the early going.  This is not good.  I heard some popping sounds but I neverlost stride and just stepped through it.  I felt it swelling but oh well.  I knew - I hoped it wasn't that bad and now it's just a little purple.  I suppose I am used to this by now - I so Clumsy!

 Lower Matilija Camp

So far so good.  It was a hot day outside, low 90's.  Much of the trail was shaded so that helped out a great deal.  There were Many water crossings.  The water was deeper and wider than normal due to the recent rains but it was totally manageable with a heavy pack.  That said, six-year-old Jacob needed some help crossing.

 A bit of elevation gain but no big deal


 The last stretch seemed long so this makes a good resting point

 Really Jacob?  We still have to hike!

 So they all jumped in with their shoes on!

 Across this creek leads to the switchbacks

At first we began huffing and puffing but a small section of trail was wiped out.  For most, no big deal.  In fact, 8-year-old Ayden was leading the way the entire time and he was across the 5 foot danger zone before I got there.  However, Jacob looked uneasy as 7-year-old Kaitlyn began to cross.  I said NO, we turn around.  Just before the cruel climb is a cozy little camp.  There is a gentle creek here for the kids to play in and since Ayden has a soccer game the next day, this would be a good place to camp.

 No Name Camp just 2.9 miles from the parking lot

 Kids play in the water, cool off

 Realizing that smoke can hurt your eyes

 Afternoon Smores!

 A toad in the creek

 Exploring for caves nearby, none found

 Back to camp for dinner

 One last swim before dusk

 Another round of Smores before bed

 It was a chilly night, back on the trail heading home...

 Examples of creek crossing

 It's awesome back here

 No complaints!

 Exploring off trail to create a new track for today

 Mission Complete, lets check down here

 Nice Spot!

This Nice Spot is only about a mile from the car.  It's before you reach the Lower Matilija Camp.  This would be perfect for families to take their kids on a short day hike.  --For me, between this quick cut off and river exploring, I increased the mileage but a mile today to satisfy the New Track requirements. 

 More creek walking

Peacocks at the trailhead

We even heard a Donkey make a scary loud noise as we were passing.  I never knew they could be so loud; it's ridiculous!  Well, this quick overnight is over.  This is only my 2nd camping trip since starting this 1000 Day Adventure.  Today's trip was much easier than Day 223-224: Willet Hot Springs



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