Tuesday, February 9, 2016


Welcome Back to Paradise!

Part of my motivation to lose 52 Pounds in 52 Weeks is to enjoy breathing and hiking in the outdoors once again.  Today, I journeyed two towns over to Fillmore:

Which way do we go???

Dough Flat / Condor Lookout - Fillmore, CA
Saturday February 6, 2016
My Tripometer:  3 Hours * 6 Miles * +400  Feet

From Ventura, take the 126 East, past Santa Paula and keep going towards Fillmore.  Before you drive into town, turn left on Old Telegraph and follow that for about a mile, over the Sespe River bridge and then turn left at the stop sign.  This road is Goodenough, which you will follow through the neighborhood and then keep it going all the way to the mountain.  At the deadend, keep going.  The road shoots up to the right.  This becomes an on and off dirt road, watch out for fallen rocks.  The road is narrow, you will cross some water crossing but unless there have been recent rains, they are passable.

I will say this, the road was in great shape.  I have been up this way before when it was not.  However, the final 2.5 miles to the Dough Flat, was closed off!

***I've been back here before.  In fact, my first ever real hike in Cali started from Lockwood Valley, where we were dropped off at Johnston Ridge, hiked down to the Sespe Hotsprings and camped there for the night.  I remember Domino stepped in the hot water creek near the source where the water temp comes out at 198 degrees.  I used a water bottle to cool off her pads, which proved to be costly as on the next day, hiking over to the Dough Flat left us in thirst.  It was a 100 degree day and we all ran out of water.  We scrambled rocks along the Sespe, found our trail past Alder Creek and climbed 2500+ feet to finally make it to the Dough Flat.  It was an all day endeavor and honestly, I barely made it.

I tossed off my backpack on the switchback because I was too weak, and that's when I was strong.  I returned 2 weeks later during the Big Fires to retrieve it...

**But, this is about now, and from the fork in the road in the picture above, turn left and follow the road 2.5 miles to the Dough Flat.  Along the way you will see the waterfall off to the right; but if you go in the heart of summer, I am sure the falls are bone dry.

Before following the road to the Dough, Ayden and I hiked to the right, Tar Creek??  I still don't know much about this area other than there are oil wells, many roads going all different directions and that a guy, I think a firefighter, who was camping back here with a friend last year, wandered away from camp looking for his dog and mysteriously died.  I heard there are some cool spots, but we did not find anything immediate, so we turned back...

Dough Flat

Well, we made it to the Dough Flat and had intended to actually start here and hike up to Ant Camp.  Instead, just before the flat, we notice this little trail...

Condor Lookout Trailhead
 This was an easy quarter mile hike up to a lookout...

Grass on the trail - Not used Much
 ..Nor did we see a single sole back here the entire day.  Crazy - such a beautiful day and we had it all to ourselves...

The Dough Flat parking area (from above)

Condors: 10 foot wing span 
...yeah, but we didn't see any...

The Lookout

 About that.  There was no fire pit up here, nor should there be.  But, they closed the road, we were hungry now, so I made one.  We went to the lower lookout, where it was less windy.  Cleared out a spot, dug a hole, surrounded it with rocks, made a bench for Ayden and - Dinner is Served!

Smores and Sauges!  So much for me losing weight - but nice reward.  I plan to come back out this way soon - I aspire to hike past Ant Camp into the unknown, find my way to the Narrows and come out in Piru.  It would appear to be totally doable, but then again, there is no marked trail and I know the elevation drop is intense so, hmm, Who is Ready?

I also have another neat one, to hike to McDonald Cabin and search for the Indian Caves.  Yes, they exist - but the forest ranger will deny that they do.  Perhaps this summer, in route to lose 52 pounds, I will make the journey...

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