Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Day 897: Serrano Valley Trail - 1 Day before the Springs Fire

Serrano Valley (1 Day before the fire)

Day #897 * Hike #1127 * New Track #878
Serrano Valley Trail - Malibu, CA

One Day before the Camarillo Springs Fire
Wednesday May 1, 2013
My Tripometer: 2.5 Hours * 7.5 Miles * +1050 Feet


From Ventura, head out to the PCH.  Pass the La Jolla and Sycamore Canyon areas.  Turn left on Deer Creek Rd.  From LA, head North on the PCH.  Pass Yerba Buena Road (Neptunes Net) and then turn right on Deer Creek.  Follow the narrow windy road up to the top for 4.5 miles.  This become Pacific View Road.  You will make a sharp left U-Turn on Serrano Road.  Follow this to the very end, 1 mile.  Caution, this road is very narrow and the side brush is overgrown...

Trail Map

Boney Mountain stands proudly above the Valley

It's remarkable that just a day later this entire area would be up in flames.  This was my first ever visit to Serrano Valley.  It's in a remote portion of the Santa Monica Mountains.  I didn't expect much heading into the area but when her beauty shined, I became in awe.  Much like La Jolla Valley, the area was vacant and brilliant with light green grass.  From the trailhead, follow the old paved road down to the bottom of the hill...

Entering the Valley

Walking across the faint trail across the fields

All alone, no one in sight...

The main road leads into an old ranch

With old machines

and an old bed
wrong way

I explored well beyond the old ranch and finally determined that this was incorrect.  Once again, leaving the map in the car, I thought I was on course to complete the loop.  The map clearly indicates that this route would end, and it did.  Thus, I turned back to the gate where I saw...

a faint sign

after the half mile round trip detour, I was on my way

hmmm, I chose left here, very faint trail to the right (no sign)

down this way


In the pic above, I was walking in from the trail on the left and continued forward.  The faint trail to my left (or straight in front in the pic above) would have been part of the loop leading to Sycamore Canyon.  My guess, after the fire it would be impossible to make out any trail now.

Finally, some shade...

Nearing a ridge and rounding back

Trail Junction

This was off to the right.  I suspect the 1.2 mile loop which would head back toward the ranch.  My intention was to loop back but I could barely see a trail.  There was no sign so I continue forward on the more obvious path...

gaining elevation and looking east

a sign!

looking down on Sycamore Canyon

still climbing

reached the ridge, quite an incline...

Ocean Views

Rounding a turn and heading back down...

At this point, I turned back.  I had been hiking for 1.75 hours and without a map and not one person in site, I convinced that I was ~lost, but not really.  I couldn't have been more than one-tenth of a mile from the Old Boney Trail Junction! 

I was on foot, no bike and I had to be at Chill Out in 1.5 hours.  So, the only way to make this happen is to run a quick 5k...

Heading back at first was easy, all downhill, but then the rolling hills slowed me up.  I then heard coyotes ahead of me, yapping and behind me, howling.  Oh my, but they were miles away, right>  Nah, in a shrub next to me I heard a fierce moving motion.  Normally, this is just a bird but not in this case.  The movement was too strong.  I don't fear coyotes as I generally see them alone, however this time I heard them in groups and did not see them.  Was I being ganged up on?

I had my shirt off, sweating profusely and I was on a slight incline.  I pushed my thigh muscle to accelerate my movement upward.  I felt like a strong deer making a brisk movement.  I was an animal out here and I ran.

It was hot, exhausting but felt so assured once reaching the old cement road.  Of course, now I had to switchback +400+ feet to the car.  And I did, jumped in and made it to Chill Out just in the nick of time.  Before reaching the PCH, I shot one final pic...

From Deer Creek Road

I'm so glad I did this great work out on this day.  Just one day before the Springs Fire!  Stay tuned for some after pictures of Serrano Valley - Very Sad...

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