Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day 775: Murietta Divide - Matilija Wilderness - Los Padres National Forest - Monte Arido Trail - Blue Heron Ranch - Matilija Canyon Ranch

Facing South on the Monte Arido Trail from the Murietta Divide

Day #775 * Hike #974 New Track #763
Sunday December 30, 2012
Murietta Divide - Ojai, California

Matilija Wilderness - Los Padres National Forest
Monte Arido Trail - Blue Heron Ranch - Matilija Canyon Ranch
My Tripometer: 4 Hours * 10.5 Miles * +2100 Feet

 Welcome to the Matilija Wilderness

Follow the driving instructions from Day 523-524: Camping on the Matilija Trail.  Park in the same spot and begin the same way.

 The Welcoming Committee at Matilija Canyon Ranch
Elevation 1515 Feet

 Ayden and I planned to hike to the Matilija Falls

 Upper North Fork Matilija Trailhead

This trailhead is 0.6 miles into your journey.  You will cross two streams to reach this spot.  This is where Ayden and I branched off on our camping trip from Day 523.  It's amazing up there and from what I've read, there's even more astonishing views awaiting for me to discover if I can just dedicate enough time to reach the limits.

Murietta Trailhead

This is located just 1/10th of a mile up from the Matilija trail.  It's off to the left of the road.  Our mission today was to reach the Matilija Waterfalls, and them falls be straight ahead up the road...

Hmm, guess we need to go left here

Okay, all trails to the left...

I was suspicious about this.  The turn off to the right looked promising, but it also looked like someones house.  Quite strange that someone lives way back here.  We decided to follow the main road which switched back to the left.  The truth is, the waterfalls are past this property.  I will get back to this ranch house later...

Climbing up and up...

Murietta Trail Junction...

At the time I did not realize that this was the same trail that we had passed an hour earlier.  I'm so mad because on the way back, we completely dodged this trail but I could have made a loop out of it.  This way would have walked us right through the wilderness instead of taking us up the old dirt road.  Moreover, there was a campsite spot in the middle of it all.  Oh well, guess I'll need to come back here :)

The Murietta Trail (the sign fell off the post)

On our way up to the Murietta Divide
It's getting colder...

A snowy bald spot on the side of the mountain

This is a wilderness up here...

Hmm, I don't think this came from a dog. 

What kind of animal poops on a rock?  Is it a bear???

We reached a dusting Snow Level

Sammi found her spot...

Sammi Sledding

Sammi stuck in the snow...

This was our turn around spot

This is the junction at the Murietta Divide
Elevation 3443 Feet

Of course I brought my map for the car ride out here but I did not bring it along this trek.  I had no idea what this intersection was at the time we stopped here.  We began walking up the snowy hill to the south.  It didn't really look like a trail but according to the map, this was the Monte Arido Trail.  The shot in the picture above shows this trail continuing to the north.  This trail goes way up and out there.  There's a spot called "Old Man Mountain" and the elevation reaches past 6000 Feet, but that's 7.6 miles from this junction!

If you continue down the main road, it will lead you to Day 530: Jameson Lake.  I reached this spot a long while back from the Santa Barbara side.  I would love to just escape for two weeks and hike all these trails to connect the dots.  I think I would prefer this time of year to do it too!  Since its so darn hot in the summer time, this cool temp would be great for heavy hiking.  The camp fire at night would be great.  I have a low temp sleeping bag, so I'm all set.  Who wants to join me...

On the way back, Sammi Jumped in there...

Blue Heron Ranch

We decided to check it out.  So far, seems okay.  The sign on the entrance reads if my dog growls at you, please tie him to the fence.  Okay, sure, he must be joking...

The road leading to the Waterfalls.  I'm nearly certain of that!

With the sun going down and nearly 4 hours into this long adventure, we turned back.  Rather than go out to the road, I figured we could cut through the ranch...

We were under attack!

This dog was twice Sammi's size!

There were at least two German Sheppard's but Ayden swears there was 5.  They ran up to us and I immediately turned around, held on to Ayden and slowly walked the other way.  Ayden's instinct was to run, but I guarded him because that would not be the thing to do.  Fortunately Sammi distracted the dogs but when she saw how large they were, she walked away all coy...

This dog escorted us all the way back to the car.  Crazy.  Okay, I get it.  No Trespassing!  However, you cannot deny those waterfalls from me.  I will be back...


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