I’ve probably done lazier days in the Los Padres, but I can’t remember when.
This past weekend Derek from 100peaks.com and I were joined by the uber-hund for a leisurely day picking around Nordhoff Ridge and Rose Valley. We bagged Chief Peak, lunched at the remains of the Nordhoff lookout, let the uber-hund splash about in the surprisingly plentiful water at Middle Lion, and briefly picked around the old guard station footings at the Piedra Blanca trailhead (formerly Lion campground). It was certainly one of the easiest days spent in the Forest this side of napping beneath a Jeffrey pine at Chula Vista (which, admittedly, I’ve done more than once).
Image courtesy and © 100peaks.com
Spending the day with Derek on the ridge was a great way to introduce a San Diego- and Santa Barbara-based hiker to the southern stretches of the Los Padres; it was a 360º tour where I extolled the virtues or Dry Lakes Ridge, the Upper North Fork, Potrero Seco, Divide Peak, all the Ojai frontcountry routes, the routes along the Sespe and those heading northward onto the Pine Mountain massif and beyond, and sundry other minor details only somebody as interested in such minutiae as I am is willing to absorb. I in turn learned a lot about the hikes in extreme southern California, which of course only adds to that already-lengthy “to-do” list.
One highlight (aside from starting the day with a cuppa from Full of Beans and ending it with a burger and double chocolate stout at the Ojai Beverage Company) was running into Yellowstone Aimee, a new hiker to the area. A serendipitous encounter and good chat had with her on the northern flanks of Chief Peak. If I ever take a wrong step in the SB frontcountry and end up carted in to Cottage Hospital, I find it comforting to know I’ll know somebody. 😉
Lastly — and in a feeble attempt to emulate some of the Expat‘s historical documentation of the Los Padres — I also took the opportunity to shoot a photo of the tower from near the same vantage point as a 1959 photo I uncovered in the LPNF archives some months ago. While aesthetically mediocre, compare the two below for an idea what once stood where: