Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Day 922: Dry Lakes Ridge Botanical Area - Dry Lakes Trail

The First of Several Dry Lakes

Day #922 * Hike #1165 * New Track #908
Error! - Ojai, CA

Monday May 27, 2013 - Memorial Day
My Tripometer:  20 Minutes * 1 Mile * +75  Feet

 1 of 3 possible trailheads at the turnoff

Map of the Dry Lakes Ridge

According to the map, follow the 33 North out of Ojai.  Continue past Rose Valley and one mile up on your left should be the trailhead.  We did find the turnoff but there were three small trails with no signs.  We started to the one on the far left first, as seen in the picture above xxx WRONG!  We then chose the more promising middle trail:

 climb past this little rocks...

 it eventually leads up to this open space

Hmm, okay...  We tried figuring out where to go from here but decided to just give up - not happening.  We went back down to the car, tried a 3rd trail on the right but that ended before it even started.  So, back into the car, I started the car, looked at the map and then turned off the car.  You know what...

 Let's check up the road...

Day #922 * Hike #1166 * New Track #909
Dry Lakes Ridge Botanical Area - Ojai, CA
Dry Lakes Trail
Monday May 27, 2013 - Memorial Day
My Tripometer: 2 Hours * 3.5 Miles * +850 Feet

 Well, this could be the trailhead?

No more than 100 yards from the turnoff to the north, we began to trek up this monster of a hill.  No signs...

Steep and loose rocks...

 leads to some amazing views...

The trail was anything but easy.  Beyond the insane incline that we were dealing with, the unmarked route often passed through scratchy uncleared brush.  It wasn't completely hopeless so we pushed further up.  Eventually, the incline began to downgrade from a 25% grade to something like an 8% grade - way more manageable.  However, with this leveling out of sorts came thicker brush...

 Lake Casitas - Pacific Ocean - Anacapa Island
(it was a hazy day - best I could focus this pic)

 And then finally, the Dry Lakes just beneath us!

Meanwhile I was dealing with a tired and irritable 9 year old boy.  He helped make this a very unpleasant experience.  I can't say I blame him because it was darn hot, no shade and the trail was wack.  As you climb you keep thinking the top is in sight, and I told him this.  However, it took more long strides to finally triangle up and then flatten down for a moment to reach the first lake.  Actually, reaching it would have been awesome but as you can see, there is no clear cut way to scamper to it.  Ahh, just take it in, still quite a reward.  After sweating past shrubs for an hour, this oasis appeared magical - was it even real?

On the way back we passed a regular.  He explained that this was one of three dry lakes.  I imagined so.  My old Sespe map did not label this trail, and from the difficulty of the route, I can understand why.  Thankfully I bought the Dick Smith map where author Bryan Conant hiked every trail and listed this route on here for me.  Thanks Bryan.  Although I could not complete it through and through, I do see a way to reach this area as well from the back side.  I imagine this will need to involve an overnight to accomplish and enjoy the experience.  Hopefully one of these days soon I will be able to retire and actually enjoy these hikes versus pushing in and out quickly to get back to this urgent responsibility of who knows all what - Life!

 Heading back - just a couple more breathtaking views...


  1. Hey man, any wild flowers up there right now? The place goes off in a wet spring. -Stillman

  2. It was dry and dead for the most part. I'm sure there may have been more wildlife if I would have continued along the ridge...




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