Los Padres Winds of Winter, NPLD & Trail Trainings

Winds of Winter Revealing Early Fall Colors, San Rafael Mountain

Hi Everyone,

This past week (Autumnal Equinox on 9/22) we officially said goodbye to summer and hello to fall!  People complain about the lack of seasons here in the Los Padres but chances are you’ve felt some chillier mornings this last week and have probably put on a jacket for the first time in a few months as well.  Fall is here and with it the start of our real trail season – hallelujah!  That being said, this past summer was a memorable one and left in a blaze of glory with some crazy September weather.  According to some sources “they” say this summer was the hottest recorded summer in California history.  We saw a late season extreme heat wave that included record temps across much of the forest.  But don’t complain too much about our heat as Death Valley suffered through a record 94 straight days of temperatures over 100˚, which ended earlier this month.  Speaking of this month, September brought lots of monsoonal rains and spectacular weather including thunderstorms, microbursts, flash floods and even our first freeze of the season.  Rain totals across the forest were generally in the 0.25″ – 0.5″ range but select areas received over an inch highlighted by the Sierra Madres which received 1.3″ at Bates Canyon.  There is already some greenery sprouting as a result of the rain which hopefully means a long green season to come.  Summer rarely leaves without a fight and temps are expected to be hot again this week but winter is coming……

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NPLD Across the Forest

NPLD VOLUNTEER CENTRAL

This coming Saturday September 30 is National Public Lands Day (NPLD).  NPLD is the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort on public lands with events and volunteer opportunities setup across the country.  If you’re looking to participate in NPLD we’ve got you covered here in the Los Padres with three scheduled projects to choose from:

SALMON CREEK, SOUTH BIG SUR COAST
Join volunteers from Ventana Wilderness Alliance and the LPFA as we will be camping near Salmon Creek Trailhead and spending the weekend maintaining nearby trails and helping to educate trail-users on Leave No Trace and responsible forest use.  If you’d like to sign up please email us (INFO@LPForest.org) or check this link for more information.  RSVP is required as space is limited……

TUNNEL TRAIL, SANTA BARBARA FRONTCOUNTRY
A local who’s who of SB trail restoration workers are going to descend on Tunnel Trail this Saturday to do what they do best.  Tunnel Trail is in need of some love and when better to share that love than NPLD.  Project begins at the trailhead at 8am, lunch will be provided, more information here and attached PDF.

PRATT TRAIL, OJAI FRONTCOUNTRY
This NPLD project was scheduled a week later on October 7 in order to avoid conflicts.  We’ll be meeting at the Ojai Ranger District at 8:30am on 10/7 and then carpooling up to the top of the Pratt Trail.  From there we’ll be clearing brush and fixing trail, all with great views of the Ojai Valley and the eastern Santa Ynez Mtns.  Come join us!

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“Trail? I Don’t See No Stinkin Trail!” – Aliso Trail Hole

UPCOMING TRAIL TRAININGS

Most of us have probably volunteered at some point to help support the trails you love.  If you haven’t, you really should!  It’s great exercise, you feel good about yourself, spending time in nature, you feel good about yourself, meeting new friends, you feel good about yourself, always learning new things and you feel good about yourself.  And some of us have probably volunteered A LOT, thank you for your help!  For those of us looking to add skills to the trail work we love, there are two upcoming trail building trainings that you might want to look into:

OCTOBER 7-9: GRIPHOIST / RIGGING CLASS
Rigging is an advanced trail building technique designed to safely move large heavy objects into place while building or restoring trails.  Think of rigging like a zip-line for objects such as boulders, supplies or wood where those objects are moved into place along the trail using a tool called a griphoist.  I’m sure you’ve seen giant 400lb rock steps placed on trails, most likely those steps were built using a griphoist and rigging.  If you’re interested in learning more about the art of moving large objects, United Trail Maintainers of California (UTMC) has graciously scheduled a free 3-day training Oct 7-9 in Tehachapi.  The class will be taught by OBP Trailworks, for more information check this link or contact UTMC to sign up.  We’re expecting lots of beautiful step works and rockwalls across the LP in the coming years!

NOVEMBER 4-5: SUSTAINABLE TRAIL BUILDING WORKSHOP
What good is working a trail if it’s not sustainable?  Of course the brush always comes back and gravity takes down trees but if you’re interested in learning how to build and maintain a sustainable trail come on out to this 2-day training being offered by Central Coast Concerned Mountain Bikers (CCCMB) at Montaña de Oro State Park.  The class costs $100 and should be a great weekend of practical trail learning and instruction.  For more information check the link right here.

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The Itsy-Bitsy Spider Climbed Up the Dry Waterfall

There’s a lot of volunteer projects and events upcoming that we want to highlight including the Upper Ojai SAR fundraiser this weekend, the October Working Vacation at Mission Pine Spring, LPFA Karma Tap at Draughtsmen Aleworks where you can contribute to the LPFA literally by drinking beer – all OCTOBER LONG! and the Fig Mtn Gran Fondo.  So much going on, we’ll plan on sending another email soon…..  In the meantime here’s a quick teaser…..

Autumn Backpacking is Here

VWR Greg Jenkins came upon this stubborn bear literally in the middle of the Madulce Trail, Summer 2015
JenkinsBear

Season’s Greetings Everyone!

Today is the autumnal equinox here in the northern hemisphere.  This happens once a year when the sun is positioned directly over the equator on it’s journey north and marks the official end of Summer and the start of Fall.  For many LP locals this is a time to rejoice and start preparing for the start of our backcountry season.  Soon the temperatures will start to drop, water will flow and before we know it the land will be turning green once again.  It’s always strange seeing most of the rest of the country turning brown right when we are turning green.  Anyway, right now is a good time to start prepping for your dream week-long LP backpack trip, bagging that peak on your list or getting ready for that ride you’ve always wanted to do.  Enjoy the equinox……..


Davy Brown Trail Project, National Public Lands Day, 2014
NPLD_DavyBrown
 NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY
This Saturday, September 26, is the 22nd annual National Public Lands Day.  NPLD is the single largest day of volunteerism across the United States.  The Los Padres is very fortunate to have a series of volunteer events organized across the forest.  In the chance that you are free on Saturday and feel like giving back, check out the list below and sign up to help.  Thank you everyone!

Alamar Trail: LPFA, Santa Barbara Back Country
http://www.publiclandsday.org/npld-sites/alamar-trail-sawyer-and-maintenance-santa-barbara-county-los-padres-national-forest
http://www.meetup.com/Santa-Barbara-Trail-Volunteers/events/224909222/?a=ra1_vl&_af=event&_af_eid=224909222

Cold Spring Trail: Santa Barbara Front Country
http://www.publiclandsday.org/npld-sites/los-padres-national-forest-upper-cold-spring-trail

Carrizo Plain: Friends of Carrizo Plain
http://www.publiclandsday.org/npld-sites/carrizo-plain-national-monument

Gridley Trail: Ojai Forest Service, Ojai Front Country
http://www.publiclandsday.org/npld-sites/gridley-trail

Ventana Wilderness Trail Project: VWA, Monterey County
http://www.publiclandsday.org/npld-sites/ventana-wilderness-los-padres-national-forest


Learn to safely backpack, photo Honest Mike

HonestMikeMadulce
INTRODUCTION TO BACKPACKING
Over the past few years there have been some great programs designed at teaching adults the basics of backpacking.  While it’s never too late to learn how to backpack, it can be intimidating and scary to learn without proper instruction.  For those of you interested in learning from some of the best, we are fortunate to have programs across most of the Los Padres that offer an introduction to backpacking.

Over the past few years the Los Padres Chapter of the Sierra Club has been offering a course called Backpacking Basics.  The course is held each Spring and is based in Ventura.  Earlier this year the LPFA hosted a program called Backpacking Fundamentals.  We had a lot of fun organizing the class and made some great friends along the way.  It was cool to see some of the students backpacking together even after the class ended.  James Wapotich and Sierra Butler also taught a course called Backpacking Made Easy, based out of Santa Barbara.  And of course there are plenty of classes hosted by REI from Monterey to Ventura that also teach backpacking basics.

FALL 2015 CLASSES OPEN NOW
• The LPFA is proud to announce that we’ll be hosting our second Backpacking Fundamentals Course starting this October.  The class will be hosted in Santa Maria and we’re hoping to get some of the North SB County and South SLO County backpackers to attend.  If you are interested in signing up or hearing more, check the Meetup Link here.

• James Wapotich and Sierra Butler will also be teaching a second Backpacking Made Easy class this Fall in Santa Barbara.  Check the link here for more details.

it’s never too late to take up backpacking and we’ve found that even the seasoned backpackers can learn a lot by attending the classes.  Check it out and hope to see you on the trail, or in the classroom!

Along the recently burned Chorro Grande Trail, photo Bardley of Ojai
ChorroBardley
WHAT’S GOING ON?
Actually quite a bit going on at the moment.  Here’s a taste!

TASSAJARA FIRE
Earlier this week a fire broke out just north of the Los Padres in Monterey County near the town of Jamesburg.  Named the Tassajara Fire, it moved quickly and grew to over 1,000 acres in just a few hours.  Fire crews got on it quickly and have been able to hold the fire at bay.  It currently stands at 81% contained with 1,086 acres burned.  Sadly 22 structures including 10 homes were destroyed.

SUPER MOON LUNAR ECLIPSE
Nope, not a new character from Incredibles 2 but this Sunday we’ll be able to experience a rare phenomenon called a super moon lunar eclipse.  A super moon occurs when the moons closest orbit around the Earth happens to coincide with being a full moon.  This happens often enough but the twist this time around is that there is a lunar eclipse at the same time.  We’ve not had a super moon lunar eclipse since 1982 and the next one won’t occur until 2033.  So literally, this could be a once in a lifetime experience.  The eclipse should last 72 minutes and is visible for us on the west coast of North America.  For more information search the World Wide Web, there is no shortage of hype.  If you get a great photo, we’d love to see it!

RAIN, RAIN
Most of the Forest got a little taste of rain last week.  It’s been an interesting Summer with now three tropical storms making it far enough north to drop rain around the Los Padres.  While most of the rain totals from the latest storm were less than half an inch, we have reason to celebrate!  For the first time in a long time we have above normal rain totals.  YIPPEE!  Santa Barbara is currently at 133% of normal for the rain season. Of course, don’t get too excited, the rain season goes from September 1 – August 30.

Some of Ranger Rik’s Quiver, available soon!
RikBackpacks
BACKPACK GEAR SALE, ADOPT-A-TRAIL, VWR EVENT
The LPFA will be hosting a backpack gear sale on Saturday November 7 in Santa Barbara.  We’re still working on specifics but put it on your calendar.  If you are a backpacker or lover of the Los Padres, this will be a really cool event!  SATURDAY NOVEMBER 7.  More to come………

UPCOMING EVENTS
Quite a few events upcoming.  Here are a few:

September 25-27: LPFA NPLD Alamar Trail Crosscut Sawyer Project

September 26-27: VWA Pico Blanco NPLD Trail Project
September 26: NPLD Santa Barbara, Upper Cold Spring
September 26: NPLD Ojai Gridley Trail
October 3: Wild and Scenic Film Festival, Monterey in support of the VWA

October 7: Chuck Graham, Ventura Library
October 8: Exploring the Sespe Wilderness Slideshow, James Wapotich, Santa Barbara
October 13: LPFA Backpacking Fundamentals Class, North Santa Barbara and SLO Counties

October 16-18: LPFA Madulce Trail Crosscut Sawyer Project (NOTE NEW DATE)
October 17: Backpacking Made Easy, Santa Barbara, James Wapotich
October 21: Lanny Kaufer, Ventura Library
October 24: Wilderness Symposium, Ojai, Los Padres Chapter Sierra Club
October 28: Craig Carey, Ventura Library
November 7: AAT Launch, Backpacking Gear Sale & VWR Appreciation, Santa Barbara
December 4-6: LPFA Lower Mono-Alamar Trail Project

Sunny Days & Meteor Nights

SUN

Howdy Everyone,

SUN is the word of the week as some of us are bracing for what is looking like a hot weekend across the Los Padres.  By Saturday most of the LP should be seeing temps in the low to mid 90’s with some places creeping into triple digits.  Even coastal areas will be seeing hotter than usual temperatures.  While the nights have been feeling a tad bit ‘fallish’ over the past few days, most of the forest will see warm evenings to match the hot days.  This is the second weekend of A-Zone South hunting, if you are heading into the forest be sure to bring lots of water and drink it.  For those needing their NDD (Nature Deficit Disorder) fix, your best bet might be along the Big Sur coastal trails in Monterey County.  Be safe and be sure to share what you find on HikeLosPadres.com when you get back.



Not that hard to get away from lights in the Los Padres
Lights
PERSEID METEOR SHOWER

Each August the night skies above the Los Padres come to life with the Perseid meteor shower.  While the meteor shower happens annually, this year is especially vivid due to the lack of a moon this week.  Below is a link which helps explain all the details, rules, this/that and the other…… BUT your best bet is to get outside, away from the lights, take some time, lay back and enjoy the show……





San Luis based VWR Bill Obermeyer, escorting Smokey during the Fiesta Parade
Horse
FOREST  NEWS
CHORRO FIRE CONTAINED
The Chorro Fire, which started August 2 along Hwy 33 above Ojai, is now 100% contained.  Great work to the fire crews and Forest Service for knocking it back as quickly as they did.  The fire burned 282 acres and the closure of trails within and around the fire area has been lifted as of today.  The cause of the fire remains under investigation.  Remember that the Los Padres is in level III fire restrictions, more information here and here.

DON VICTOR DOWNED PLANE
A small Cessna plane crashed in the Los Padres near Don Victor Valley on the night of August 6.  The plane had taken off from Lompoc and was headed to Carlsbad when the pilot called out reporting engine failure.  Sadly when the SAR crews arrived both the pilot and passenger were found dead.




LPFA_Sawyer
NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY: September 26
More information to come but the LPFA will be hosting a trail project on the weekend of September 25-27 along the Alamar Trail in the Dick Smith Wilderness.  The last report we had from the trail was from summer 2014 when Forest Service interns reported at least 300 downed trees within the first mile and a half of the trail.  YIKES!  The Alamar Trail was burned in the Zaca Fire and the thick forest of coulter pines were utterly destroyed.  While the burned skeletons stood for a few years after the fire, almost all of them have now fallen leaving the trail tread buried under hundreds and hundreds of fallen pines.  The great news is that a new thick blanket of sapling coulters are now clawing up to replace the old forest.  The babies are now in the 6-8ft range and extremely healthy.  Nature taketh and nature giveth back, or something like that.  Anyway, back to the trail work: almost all the work will be crosscut sawyer cutting out trees from the trail corridor.  If you are a sawyer or would like to learn more about the sweet science of sawyering, this is a great trip for you.  More information can be found here or email to sign up: INFO@LPForest.org.

National Public Lands Day 2015: Alamar Trail

Alamar Canyon Overview

AlamarOverview

The LPFA is proud to announce that we’ll be hosting our third consecutive National Public Lands Day (NPLD) project during the weekend of September 25-27.  NPLD is officially Saturday September 26.  NPLD is the nation’s number 1 day for volunteerism.  You can learn more about NPLD here.  In 2013 we hosted a project in the Mt Pinos Ranger District along the Boulder Canyon Trail and in 2014 we worked the Davy Brown Trail in the Santa Lucia Ranger District.  This year we’ll be doing sawyer work and trail maintenance on the Alamar Trail in the Santa Barbara Ranger District.

Details will be announced as the date approaches but the plan is to drive into either Bluff Camp or Alamar Saddle on Friday September 25 and set up a basecamp.  Dinner will be provided for the volunteers.  On the morning of Saturday September 26, we’ll get to work clearing the trail of downed trees and brushing as needed.  The hope is to work approximately 2miles down the canyon to where the trail reaches the headwaters of Alamar Creek.  We’ll reconvene Saturday afternoon back at basecamp, where once again dinner will be provided for the volunteers.  Sunday morning will be set aside for exploring the area and Sunday afternoon we’ll pack up and head back home.

This years NPLD Alamar Trail Project will be a great opportunity to work on a remote trail within the Dick Smith Wilderness, meet like-minded volunteers, give back to the trails you love and get involved in the effort to help the Los Padres National Forest.  The project is open to all levels of trail volunteers and will be limited to 20 volunteers.  For more information contact the LPFA at INFO@LPForest.org.

AlamarSatellite

We’ll be working the section shown in BLUE heading down-canyon from Alamar Camp into the Dick Smith Wilderness.

LPFA Transverse – HOTEMBER

                    Whoa, has it been hot!  September is usually one of the hottest months across the Los Padres and 2014 is no different.  Most of the backcountry has been baking and taking the remaining water with it.  We’ve been getting reports of places drying up that we didn’t think was possible.  Reports of the Carmel River drying up, Upper Indian Creek dry and everything else at all-time low levels.  There was a backpacker last week in the Sespe that had to be airlifted out due to heat stroke and dehydration.  If you are heading to the mountains and are unsure if there will be water, it’s best to be on the safe side and plan on there being no water – bring every drop you might need.  And of course, before you head out, contact your local Forest Service and ask them for any recent reports.  You can always ask us as well and we’ll see if we can dig anything up.

Now all that being said, the forecast is changing and temperatures will be going down over the next few days and into next week.  And don’t look now, the northern reaches of the Los Padres even have some rain in the forecast.

NATIONAL  PUBLIC  LANDS  DAY

September 27 is National Public Lands Day (NPLD).  NPLD is the single greatest day across the United States for volunteerism and the Los Padres is no exception.  There are a series of projects scattered across the forest including trail work, invasive plant removal, sign installation, trash cleanup and Visitor Center maintenance.  We put together a webmap to help highlight all the projects.  Check it out:

Hope to see you out there somewhere and if you have a project you’d like us to include on the map, let us know.

DevilsGateway

Devils Gateway, Agua Blanca – September 2014
W O R K I N G   V A C A T I O N

Each year the LPFA hosts a larger-than-normal trail project that we call a Working Vacation.  The Working Vacations usually involve a cook, stock support and an ideal location for volunteers to work the trail while at the same time feel a little more pampered than a usual trail project.  This year we’ve been asked to support the Ojai Ranger District by hosting a Working Vacation on the Potholes Trail outside of Lake Piru.  The Potholes Trail also happens to be a key component of the Condor Trail.  We scouted the trail a few weeks ago and the project is taking shape for sometime in November with Log Cabin Camp along the Agua Blanca being the basecamp.  Details to come in the next weeks.  If you are interested in hearing more, please let us know and we’ll get you on the list: info@LPForest.org

S A N T A    C R U Z    S C R E E

For those of you who have hiked the Santa Cruz Trail from Upper Oso up towards Little Pine, no doubt you remember the scree slides along the southern face of Little Pine.  These slides have been terrorizing trail users and frustrating trail builders since Hector was a pup.  Last week the LPFA headed out that way to install two short lengths of rope to aid hikers and bikers as they cross the infamous slides.  We’ve been hearing tales of people refusing to go through the slides out of fear.  If nothing else, the rope should provide confidence and assurance that the slides are safe to pass.  So far we’ve heard compliments from both the hiking and biking community.  In the meantime the search for a permanent solution to the scree slides goes on…….

SantaCruzScreeSlides

LPFA Transverse – End of August 2014

Hello Everyone, It’s been a busy week in the Los Padres. Tragically, the two week search for missing backpacker Arvin Nelson is wrapping up in the Ventana Wilderness. We’re overdue for some good news, lets hope it arrives soon….. http://www.montereycountyweekly.com/blogs/news_blog/officials-wrapping-up-the-search-for-missing-hiker-arvin-nelson/article_d974a4c6-2982-11e4-b790-001a4bcf6878.html

F I R E  R E S T R I C T I O N S

 NoFireIcon

The fire restrictions across the forest have been elevated to Level IV. See attached announcement from the Forest Service. Level IV essentially means no campfires anywhere in the forest and no open flames in the backcountry. So don’t bring a stove on your next backpacking trip. While it might suck to drink cold coffee, look at the bright side, you’ll save that additional weight by not having to carry a stove. Stoves are permitted at most designated car-camping and glamping sites across the forest (see link below for list of those sites). The fire restrictions should remain at Level IV until we get a few inches of rain, usually November or December. While it might seem unfathomable to backpack without a fire or heaven forbid s’mores, give it a shot. A dark night under the stars might be an eye opening experience. Please be extra careful. http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5429958.pdf     LittlePine

V O L U N T E E R   T I M E

ARE YOU READY! Hope so because there are quite a few volunteer opportunities lining up across the forest in September. WE WANT TO SEE YOU OUT THERE! September will be highlighted by National Public Lands Day on the 27th. Outlined below are a few of the projects and if I am missing any, please let me know and I’ll get them in the next email. LITTLE PINE TRAIL EVENT – September 20 The LPFA is helping to support a hiking event that the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is hosting on September 20 along the Santa Cruz Trail over Little Pine. We could use some volunteers to help along the hiking route or to be staged at the top of Little Pine or at Santa Cruz Station. We’ll provide truck access where available. This is a great cause for a great organization and a nice excuse to get into the mountains. If you are interested in helping lead a hike or support, let me know……… NPLD – FIGUEROA MOUNTAIN Santa Barbara County – September 27, 28 LPFA event to work the trails along Figueroa Mountain. Camping is available at Davy Brown. We’re going to have a great time. http://www.meetup.com/Santa-Barbara-Trail-Volunteers/events/203673382/ http://www.publiclandsday.org/npld-sites/los-padres-national-forest-figueroa-mountain-davy-brown NPLD – CAMP PICO BLANCO Ventana Wilderness – September 27,28 Ventana Wilderness Alliance project to work the Little Sur Trail. Camping is available. Awesomeness! http://www.publiclandsday.org/npld-sites/los-padres-national-forest-camp-pico-blancoventana-wilderness NPLD – CERRO ALTO CAMPGROUND San Luis Obispo County – September 27 Santa Lucia Ranger District is hosting a project September 27 at Cerro Alto Campground. Fun in the sun! http://www.publiclandsday.org/npld-sites/cerro-alto-campground-los-padres-national-forest NPLD – WHEELER GORGE Ventura County – September 28 The LPFA is hosting a project at Wheeler Gorge to work the nearby trails and maintain the Visitor Center. What could be better! http://www.publiclandsday.org/npld-sites/wheeler-gorge-visitor-center-los-padres-national-forest