Being outdoors


Saturday, 19 July 2014

Being a morning person, I stopped at Purisima a few minutes after 7 and did a couple hours of hiking … er… trail patrol, before joining the volunteer group to clear ivy from several sections of trail.


Above: before, below: after.


We worked until some time after 2, at which time I drove to Los Trancos and spent another hour and a half unplugging yellow star thistle. I have a plastic pail to stow it in, and filled it. Once. On a hot, sunny day after having already done more than a full day of the usual volunteer work, that was enough.

By evening, it was clear that I had gotten too close to the poison oak. Both arms, but especially right, wrist to elbow. It’s rare for it to flare up the same day; this may turn out to be a really unpleasant session.

Sunday, 20 July

Itching. Didn’t sleep all that well. But a good way to take the mind off is to get out and do something. I was on the trail at Rancho San Antonio by about 7:15.


It looks as if the vegetation has spilled down from the higher ground, and in terms of seed propagation, that’s not a bad model of the process. Of course, some of it spreads by wind or animal droppings.


The view from the high point of the Black Mountain trail (with innumerable communications antennas) at Montebello road, looking toward the ocean. In the mid-ground, the christmas tree farm at Long Ridge. Very nice.


Snow? In July?


Well, no. These spiral seeds are responsible for the snow show. They might be clematis, not sure.


Before they waft into drifts, they grow in snowballs.


P1150601  P1150604

The bushes that produce them.


 A pair of high-voltage transmission lines marches across this ridge. The trails up here were built and are maintained as access roads to the towers. Above, a stub where there may or may not someday be a trail along one of these roads that’s not presently open to open space users.


Below the transmission line, Black Mountain road becomes Black Mountain trail, and very pretty it is, too.


Above we see the stump of a large bay laurel one of whose trunks retained a rooted connection when the multi-trunk mother tree was cut down. New trees have sprouted from the horizontal base, and the laurel will happily survive until its new trunks overweight the base. At that point, maybe it goes into a third stage of its life.

There are two stub trails where Rancho connects with Hidden Villa. I hiked them, to the preserve boundary, but Hidden Villa has camps during the summer, and closes general access to the public.

At the bottom of Black Mountain trail is a spur to the parking area at Rhus Ridge (yes, to all intents and purposes, Rhus means poison oak!). I recalled it as steep, and so it is. 0.9 miles, 600 vertical feet. I need to hike this trail down, and then back, for my project of hiking all the trails in the open space district. And so I did.

And I was running out of water. The day was hot, and I took it very easy: something like 5 miles back to Deer Hollow farm, where I knew there would be water.

It was only mid-afternoon by the time I began the re-hydration process, but I decided not to go out and add on a few more miles. Enough! 16+ miles, 4k+ vertical feet.

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