Chumash X

Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

In early April, the monkeys and I headed into the backwood for our annual Chumash Wilderness sojourn. We had spent the morning at the LPFA‘s excellent open house event at Wheeler Gorge, and so didn’t quite get the early start we often enjoy, but it was a sublime mosey along the North Fork of Lockwood Creek.

Heterochromatic Happiness

These Kids

“Mr McGee, Don’t Make Him Angry …” Image courtesy Li’l G.

Meadow-bound | Spring 2015 | Image courtesy Li’l G

Lily Meadows Campsite

Water was — as one might expect — about as low as could be, and short of having snow on the north-facing slopes to melt as I’d had my last few visits (including last Spring’s epic Bear Cub service project), we were relieved to see at least a trickle coming over the North Fork Falls, as we knew we should be able to locate at least some water closer to Lily Meadows.

Morning on the Chumash

This was a special year because it marked the tenth year in a row Li’l G was joining the trip. As so I did the math: those 10 trips included 9 treks up the North Fork and 1 to a guerrilla camp along Amargosa Creek, but in addition to those annual events she’d thrice backpacked in to Sheep Camp with the family or Scouts (her first trip at 3-and-one-half years, thank you kindly). Clearly, Li’l G isn’t so little anymore.

At the Pictographs
Lunch Break | Spring 2008

Lil G and the Sherpa
Off the Grid | Spring 2009

North Fork Falls No. 2
North Fork Falls | Spring 2010

Chumash Posse
Vincent Tumamait Trail | Spring 2012

We arrived at our traditional guerrilla camp in the late afternoon, and were greeted by the usual hiking hounds and general Forest malcontents: Mighty Mary, Billy Monster, Mr G, Hank, Bardlero Primero … a veritable gaggle of backwood wanderers, who’d landed here from points disparate. We set our beds beneath the usual copse of Jeffrey pines, and then after some idle fire-side chatting and beer-swilling, took advantage of the late sunset and wandered back downstream far enough to find a mucky, silted seep beneath Lily Springs where we were able to pull enough water to last us the rest of this sojourn. Even with the pre-filter and the intake set in the cleanest spot we could find, I was scrubbing the ceramic element on the filter after every liter. Dire times, people.

One Big Happy BPA-free Family | Image courtesy Li’l G

It was a long evening of revelry around the fire, and as temperatures dropped and folks turned in, Little Man (as usual) watched them go. He beds down at a reasonable hour at home, but when out here on the perimeter he seems to want to be awake for as much of the time as possible. And I don’t blame him.

Little Stalwart

Hank Alight
Hank Alight | Spring 2015

38 Degrees and All Good

Image courtesy Li’l G

To the ... North Star!
To the … North Star!

Eventually, though, we did turn in … the kids in their tent and the heterochromatic hellhound and I testing a new (to us) floorless tent I’d recently acquired.

Reading Light

The next morn, we were up when we felt like it … which might very well be the best thing about the wilderness. After hearty breakies and photo-taking, the crews all packed and were on their respective ways. Bardlero Primero joined Clan Carey for our descent back toward Camp Three Falls.


Smith_Chumash 001
Image courtesy Bardlero Primero

Thin tread

Smith_Chumash 003
Image courtesy Bardlero Primero

End of the Road 2015

Another fine outing, and already we look forward to next year. Get ’em out there!

(North Fork Lockwood Creek is detailed in Route 71 of Hiking and Backpacking Santa Barbara & Ventura.)


2 responses to “Chumash X”

  1. Wonderful progress. It’s amazing how much they’ve grown. And yes, I am talking about your fiery chin tresses.

    The kids, too.


  2. Steve Genest Avatar
    Steve Genest

    I enjoy these reports! Thanks for signing my book earlier that day, Craig.
    Your girls are gaining the memories that will soon become mental treasures.

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