Freezing Gates of the Los Padres

Big Sur Coastline, Making Even the Worst Photographer Look Good
BigSurCoast

Chances are you’re reading this with a few more layers of clothes on and a few more windows closed than you had at this time last week.  The storm that just passed (or is passing) is our first winter storm of the season.  Rain totals across the forest have varied greatly with the Northern LP getting well over an inch of rain and as much as 2 inches in certain areas.  The rain totals dwindle heading south with SLO backcountry in the half inch range, SB backcountry in the quarter inch and Ventura backcountry in the tenth of an inch range.  Of course there are outliers and areas that received more rain than others.  BUT the exciting thing, if you get excited about things like this, is that this storm will mark the first time this season that much of the backcountry will experience freezing or near-freezing temperatures.  Low temps should be around freezing up through the high 30’s for most of the Los Padres over the coming two nights.  A taste of things to come.  Temps will warm up heading into what looks to be a perfect weekend for a hike or ride.  Great time of year!



Shutting of the Gates
LockedGate GATE CLOSURES

As winter arrives, along with it we usually see a few more seasonal gate closures across the forest.  Knowing the status of gate closures is tricky and it can certainly ruin your weekend outing if you come across a locked gate you expected would be open.  Some gates are opened/closed solely on established dates.  What this means is that there are rules for certain roads/gates where they are recommended to be closed or opened on certain dates regardless of weather.  The big dates across the forest are November 1, December 15 and May 1.  Other gates are opened/closed around storm systems and weather events – open during dry times and closed when rain is forecast.  It’s really hard to know for sure if and when a gate will be open/closed.  Best advice for any of you heading to the mountains is to do your homework ahead of time.  First check two online sources:

• The Forest Service has a page dedicated to road and campground closures:

• HikeLosPadres also has a page designated to the status of certain gates around the forest.  The gate list is not complete but it is updated as closures happen.  NOTE: If you have any updates or would like any gates added, please let HLP know.

Then, in addition to the online resources, I’d also recommend calling the Ranger District you plan on visiting and double checking the status of the gate closures.  There is almost nothing worse than getting shutdown by a locked gate before you even get to a trailhead.  Research ahead of time can solve most of those headaches.

GATE UPDATES

Again, check the resources mentioned above but here are a few closures to keep an eye on:

  • Dough Flat, above Fillmore, will be closing December 15 this year.
  • Middle Lion Campground, near Piedra Blanca, will be closed December 1.
  • Santa Barbara Canyon gate, at Reyes Ranch, is scheduled to be closed November 1.
  • Reyes Peak / Pine Mtn is scheduled to be closed December 15.
  • West Cuesta Rd above SLO will be closed for repairs from November 1, 2015 – October 31, 2016.

Rik’s Army of Packs, Waiting for YOU!
RikBackpacks

And don’t forget the Used Gear Sale this weekend in Santa Barbara!  Check out the link below for more information:


UPCOMING EVENTS

November 7: Used Gear Sale, Tucker’s Grove Site 5, Goleta
December 4-6: LPFA Lower Mono-Alamar Trail Project

* It’s harder to schedule events this time of year, sorry there isn’t more on the schedule.  If you want anything added, please let us know.

Working Vacation Update and National Trails Day

Hello Los Padres – hope this finds you well,

The big news this past week was that most of the seasonal gate closures in the Ventura backcountry were opened as of May 1.  This includes Dough Flat, Grade Valley, Santa Barbara Canyon (SBCo), Alamo and Pine Mtn amongst others.  These gates are closed November 1 and reopened May 1 as part of seasonal gate closures.  Unfortunately the closures happen to coincide with the best time for people to recreate behind most of these gates.  It would be nice to see the gates opened and closed on a case by case basis based on storm events, conditions and elevation rather than a blanket closure.  Hopefully this is something we can work on over the next 6 months so that next years closures won’t be so drastic.  For now, the gates are open and now is a great time to get out and enjoy the Forest.  Have at it………


 

PackSupport

Dream Team of Otis, Susie and team……….

WORKING VACATION
– UPPER SISQUOC –

The LPFA just wrapped up a 10-day Working Vacation along the Upper Sisquoc in the San Rafael Wilderness.  We had 16 volunteers over that time working the trail and helping supply the project with stock support.  Working Vacations are designed to entice volunteers to spend time working the trails in exchange for cooked meals and cold beverages at the end of each hard days work.  Led by VWR super hero Mike Smith, we were able to log out over 100 downed trees from the Judell and Sisquoc Trails.  By the end of the 10-days, the entire Judell Trail and from Mansfield to Lower Bear was passable to stock.  It was a great project and huge accomplishment.  Special thanks to the Forest Service for helping support the project, in particular Joe Duran, Pancho Smith and Nate Rezeau.  Also Susie and Otis for their expert pack support and Rich Scholl for being a dutch oven magician as our designated cook.

Now that the trail work is done, it’s time to head out and see for yourself.  There was plenty of water in the Sisquoc and the trails are in great shape.  We’re starting to plan an early summer followup project to log the section of trail from Alamar Saddle down to Lower Bear.  We’ll keep you posted and hope to see you next time around……

MansfieldOak

Crosscut Logging near Mansfield, photo Beckstrand

TombstoneTree

The Tombstone Oak, you know it’s taken some time when a tree gets a name, photo Burtness 

SisquocTread

Tread Looking Nice!

HeathCamp

Benefits of stock support, photo Burtness

HeathFood

Eat like Kings and Queens

JudellTrail

Spectacular Judell Trail, looking better than normal!

 

 

NATIONAL TRAILS DAY

Give back to your trails by celebrating National Trails Day with the LPFA.  This year we are hosting a 1-2 day project along the Cold Spring Trail in Santa Barbara County.  With the help of a grant from the Los Padres Trails Riders, we’ll be base camping at Mono Campground and working the Cold Spring Trail through the Mono Jungle and up to the infamous North Cold Spring Slide.  The Slide has been choking the trail for the past 10+ years and preventing most trail users from making it along the trail.  We are going to spend our time reestablishing this section of trail and logging downed trees in the Mono Jungle.  Here is a quick breakdown on the project logistics:

Friday June 5
– Arrive at Mono Campground in the afternoon or evening
– Setup camp, relax, nearby hot springs

Saturday June 6
– Arrive at Mono Campground
– Trail work will start at 0800
– We’ll break into groups and hike the 2miles to the slide section
– Work the trail……
– Stop work at 1500 and head back to Mono Campground
– BBQ and post-work cold beverages provided by the LPFA and TBA local brewing company
– Relax around camp, enjoy nearby hot springs

Sunday June 7
– Breakfast provided by the LPFA
– 0900, optional continued work on the Slide for those interested
– 1400 stop work and head back to Mono Campground
– Pack up and head home

If you are interested in helping either with trail work or as a camp cook, please email INFO@LPForest.org.  For more information check here:

http://www.nationaltrailsday.org/events/north-cold-spring-trail-project/

The Slide, looks better than it actually is…….
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SlideTwo
OverviewMapColdSpring

List of more upcoming events……….
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May 19-27: Santa Cruz Trail Project
May: Buckhorn Trail Project
June 3-11: Mono Alamar Trail Project
June 5-7: National Trails Day, Mono Campground Trail Weekend
June 27: Big Sur Wilderness Celebration
June: Bear Sisquoc Crosscut
July 10-12: Santa Barbara 100 Endurance Run Support
July: Madulce Trail Crosscut
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