dispatches & explored

Diamond in the Rough: Hardluck

And We Use the Term Loosely


Some of the crew recently hit the Buck Creek route, dropping down from the Alamo Mountain Road via Sewart Mountain. We passed through the abandoned Hardluck campground on our second day, in classic baking Piru Creek-in-the-summer temperatures.

Back in the day, Hardluck doubled as the lower trailhead for the Buck Creek route, and for decades this 26-site car camp along the Ventura/Los Angeles county line in fact served as the starting point for really anybody wanting to venture down Piru and/or Buck Creeks. Now one must hike a further three miles along Hardluck Road from the gate near Los Alamos fire station — cutting through a corner of the Hungry Valley OHV area and dropping into the Piru watershed to even get here. Not worth it.

Established in 1961, Hardluck was closed in the last few years to protect (yes, you guessed it) the arroyo toad. I must begrudgingly state “no loss” … no trees, no shade, no real appeal except for the geology further down-stream near the Piru/Buck confluence. A sparse and barren spot. Okay for a trailhead, not so much a camp.

Them’s the breaks, Hardluck. You’re a diamond in the rough … but just barely.

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