Thunderstorms, Thru-Hikers and National Trails Day

Old Man Thundercloud
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Hello Everyone!

What a crazy weather week we enjoyed last week, especially in the Santa Barbara and Ventura backcountry areas.  It started with a tropical storm last Tuesday that dropped significant rain across the forest.  Most of the Forest got rain with the highest concentration (one inch) occurring on the frontcountry above Santa Barbara.  The weather changed on Wednesday and brought in some incredible thunderstorms that blanketed the backcountry through the weekend.  There were reports of flooding along the Cuyama River and Santa Barbara Potrero recorded an inch of rain in just over an hour – that’s a lot!  We had some of the more impressive storms that we get to see around here.  We even heard comparisons to thunderstorms in New Mexico and the south west.  Pretty cool stuff and we’ll certainly take every bit of rain we can get.  The weather has settled back down and most of the interior is HOT with coastal regions displaying the typical June gloom.  Always nice to see some exciting weather………
NATIONAL TRAILS DAY
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There were three trail projects across the Los Padres on Saturday June 6 for National Trails Day.  The LPFA hosted an event along the North Cold Spring Trail.  Our focus was to fix a particularly nasty slide section of the trail that has been causing problems for hikers for most of the past two decades.  We had a great time and did a fantastic job cleaning up the slide.  Big thanks to REI, Figueroa Mountain Brewing, Los Padres Trail Riders, Jack’s Bagels and the Forest Service for their support of the project.  They say a picture tells a thousand words, check the movie below:
CONDOR TRAIL
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Most of you have probably heard about the Condor Trail.  For those who have not, it’s a route of connected trails that cross the Los Padres Forest from the Ventura/Los Angeles County line in the south up to Bottcher’s Gap in Monterey County.  The total length of the trail is 411 miles long.  The concept of the trail has been around for nearly 20 years, headed up by the Condor Trail Association.  Over the years we’ve had a few people attempt to hike large sections of the trail but no one ever attempted to hike the entire thing….. until now.   In mid-May a solo female hiker name Brittany started on the trail from Lake Piru.  She has now been on the trail for nearly 5 weeks and is on pace to complete the trail later this week and become the first Condor Trail finisher.  It’s been a roller coaster journey for Brittany.  She’s had to endure snow, heat and lost trails but along the trail has met new friends and had some amazing experiences.  We’ll keep you posted as the she gets close to finishing.  I’m sure she’ll have some great stories to share.  Most amazing in my opinion is that before she started this hike, she had never set foot in the Los Padres.  Good luck Brittany on her last 60miles of trail.
ROAD UPDATES
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Some quick updates on access issues across the Forest:

ROMERO CAMUESA ROAD
The gate to the Romero Camuesa Rd at Divide Peak is scheduled to reopen Wednesday of this week.  A combination of rain and a crew working on the road has led to the closure.

DOUGH FLAT / SQUAW FLAT
The retaining wall construction continues along the Dough/Squaw Flat Rd in Ojai.  The road is scheduled to reopen June 19 but until then the road will be closed from 8am – 12pm and again from 1pm – 5pm.  Call the Forest Service for more information.

HIGHWAY 1 / NORTHERN SLO / SOUTHERN MONTEREY
There is continued retaining wall construction along Highway 1 near the Monterey/SLO County line.  There seems to be weekly changes as to when the road will be closed or open.  Currently the road is closed at night time for construction and open during the day.  If heading along Highway 1 either to or from Big Sur, you’ll want to contact CalTrans to get the most up-to-date information on closures.  http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist05/road_information.htm

That’s it for now.  Enjoy the week………..

Hungry For National Trails Day

Santa Cruz Drainage, photo Fosters
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Almost like clockwork, the June gloom has set in.  After a few weeks of abnormally cool May weather, which included some snow at the higher elevations, we appear to be settling in to the usual June gloom coastal patterns and hotter inland temps.  We’re also starting to get reports that some of the creeks and rivers are drying up.  The flow has receded to a trickle and in some cased to no water whatsoever.  There is still more water on the surface than there was at this time last year but most of the springs are at all time low flow rates and we should expect dry conditions throughout most of the backcountry within the next month or two.  If heading out on a trip, be sure to choose your destination wisely.  Check the weather forecasts, avoid the heat and check in with the various websites like www.HikeLosPadres.com or www.VentanaWild.org for the most recent water reports.

NATIONAL  TRAILS  DAY: June 6

June 6 is National Trails Day.  We mentioned this a few weeks ago but have a few more details this time around.  There are three trail projects scheduled in the Los Padres that weekend.  This is a great opportunity to get out, volunteer, meet people, learn about the Forest, get some exercise, off the couch and into the fresh air.  Not only should you try to make it to one of these events, but try to bring a friend along or someone who doesn’t frequent the Forest.  I promise they’ll be excited about the day and end up thanking you for getting them out there.  Who knows, it could make an everlasting change in their lives and it would be all thanks to you!  Hope to see you out there…….  Click the links below to learn more.


Getting hungry yet?
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JIM & ROB’S FUND RAISER
We’re really excited to announce a fund raiser for the Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center at Jim & Rob’s restaurant in Ojai on Tuesday June 2.  See the attached flier for more information.  Long story short, the Visitor Center at Wheeler is in desperate need of a new AC unit.  We host weekly educational interpretive events at Wheeler and it can get dreadfully hot in the conference room.  When then AC does finally kick in, first it sounds like a large airplane is taking off in the corner and second the cooling is not what it once was.  We are beginning a fund raising campaign to raise $15,000 to replace the AC and position it outside of the conference room.  Jim and Rob’s will be donating 20% of all proceeds from dinner sales that night to help replace the AC unit.  If you are within driving distance of Ojai, we’d love to see you at Jim and Rob’s.  The food is great, atmosphere is fun and where else can you eat a burrito and raise money at the same time.  A temporary professional food eater.  Hope to see you there and again check out the attached flier.

 

FOREST 411


DOUGH FLAT ROAD CLOSURE
Dough Flat Road out of Fillmore (aka Squaw Flat Rd) is closed due to reconstruction of a retaining wall.  We got word this past weekend that the closure is 8miles before you get to Dough Flat.  So if you are planning a trip to that part of the Forest be sure to plan on an extra 8miles of road hiking/biking before you get to the trailhead.  The road is supposed to reopen May 28.  We’ll keep you posted as to when the road reopens.

GIBRALTAR ROAD OPEN
Gibraltar Road in SB County has been reopened after a few weeks of repaving.  Rumor is that the work is not done just yet but it will be open for at least the next few weeks.  Probably really good road biking up there right about now.

PARADISE ROAD MAINTENANCE
Paradise Rd, also in SB County, is getting a facelift at the moment as well.  It is not closed but there are rather long waits going up or down the canyon as a pilot car is needed to chauffeur cars along the road.  Heading up-canyon, the pilot car is leading twice an hour at 15after and 15before the hour.  Coming down-canyon, the pilot leads on the hour and on the half hour.  The closure currently starts near Paradise Campground and word was that earlier today it took almost an hour to get from Paradise Camp to First Crossing.  The work is scheduled to last until August and is on weekdays starting at 0630 and ending at approximately 1630.  Plan accordingly.

FIRST AID COURSES
The LPFA is working on scheduling a First Aid certification class this Fall in Santa Barbara County.  This is the necessary cert for any crosscut sawyers or chainsaw operators.  Dates are flexible but if you would like to attend please let us know.  The cost will be around $40 and the class will be one day.  INFO@LPForest.org for more information.

DO YOU LOVE PLANTS?
The Forest Service is looking for volunteers to help plant oak trees in the Santa Ynez Valley.  If you are interested in hearing more details, let us know.  The work has started and will be needed throughout the summer.  INFO@LPForest.org for more info.

WATER-WISE LANDSCAPING WORKSHOP
SB County is hosting a free landscaping workshop focused on drought tolerant planting.  It’s this Friday May 29 at the Faulkner Gallery off Anapamu Street.  For more information visit www.waterwisesb.org/workshops  or email Riley Hubbell at riley@loacom.com.

Lots going on, hope I didn’t lose you there.  Take care everyone and stay in touch………..
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May 19-27: Santa Cruz Trail Project
May 29-31: Buckhorn Trail Project
June 2: Jim & Rob’s Ojai Fundraiser
June 5-7: National Trails Day, Mono Campground Trail Weekend
June 6: Sespe National Trails Day Project
June 6: Romero Canyon National Trails Day Project
June 27: Big Sur Wilderness Celebration
June 12-14: Bear Sisquoc Crosscut
July 10-12: Santa Barbara 100 Endurance Run Support
July: Madulce Trail Crosscut
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West Big Pine Fadeaway
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