With the “excessive heat” we’re experiencing around the forest this week we thought it might be nice to share a picture and story of our Los Padres in the snow. Maybe it will cool you down a little. This photo was taken around dawn in early March at Mission Pine Basin (5,300′) in the San Rafael Wilderness. I had backpacked in from Upper Oso, taking two days along the Santa Cruz Trail to get to MPB. It rained on and off most of the second day and the final 2,000 foot climb up to Mission Pine was like taking a shower each time I rubbed against any of the 7,000,000 manzanita bushes along that 4mile climb. I was drenched and cold when I saw the campfire at the Basin indicating that my buddy, ‘The Masticator’, had indeed upheld his end of the bargain and backpacked in from Cachuma Saddle. He had slogged his bike up to McKinley Saddle the previous night and backpacked through mostly snow flurries to the Basin. We were there to see it snow and knew a storm was forecast that evening. We spent the night next to a raging fire as 8 inches of snow piled up beside our tents. The next morning (shown above) was crisp as we explored the Basin, looking between the clouds at the blue Channel, snow curdling off the trees and….. lots of hot coffee.
• So a bear walks into Reyes Creek Bar and says to Tony, “I’ll have a pint of beer and a……….. tri-tip sandwich”. Tony responds, “Why the big pause?” Wha wha wha….. Okay, did you hear the one about the bear who stumbled out to Rincon Point on a summer Saturday afternoon…..? Amazingly that isn’t a joke as a black bear did indeed find its way to the beach two weekends ago. The photos are hard to believe but tragically the bear was euthanized after it was found to be unhealthy.
• Speaking of bears, this weekend at Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center is a presentation called the Amazing World of Bears by Kelley Swedlow. It starts at 11am at the Visitor Center, which gives you enough time for a morning on the trailw beforehand or some extra time to sleep in. It will be interesting to hear what Kelley thinks of the Rincon bear…..
• Do you Piru? The water agency is charge of the Lake Piru Recreation Area is required to make changes to their recreation management plan for Piru. They’ve hired an environmental consulting company to assist in the design of that recreation management plan and have released an online recreation survey designed to collect information from the public who use the Lake Piru Recreation Area. This includes boaters, anglers, hikers, riders, hunters, Condor Trail backpackers, kayakers, campers, etc who use or pass through the Lake Piru Recreation Area. If that’s you, please take the time and fill out this short online survey. The surveys asks how often you use the Piru neighborhood, what you do there, what you like about it and what could be improved. Certainly worth the time if you have an opinion, see link above.
• We’ve heard some questions about accessing the Whittier Fire burn area. An update was released this week after an infra-red flight showed that some hot spots remain within the fire perimeter. As a result the fire remains 87% contained and closed to public entry. It might be a while before the area is reopened to the public. Stay tuned….
• Last time we mentioned that Cherry Creek Road (6N01) was closed, it has since been opened.
• LPFA is excited to announce that Sunday October 8 will be our 3rd Annual Used Camping Gear Sale at Tucker’s Grove Park in Goleta. We’ll once again be partnering with Gossamer Gear to provide some incredible deals on great backpacks and camping gear. We hope you can make it and let us know if you have any camping gear to donate to the sale. We’ll provide a tax donation receipt and the proceeds go right back to Trail Care.
• Sorry about the bad bear news but we’ve got some great wildlife news to share that might cheer you up. For the first time since 1985 a wild-born pair of California condors have successfully nested and have a chick of their own. You can read more about it here. The nest is located in Southern Monterey County and is an important step showing just how incredible the condor re-population is progressing. It’s probably not too far off that we’ll be seeing healthy condors on the beaches soon as well.