Good Day Everyone,
MIDDLE SISQUOC WORKING VACATION
May 20-30, Sycamore Camp
June 3-5, Middle Santa Ynez Camp
Good Day Everyone,
Lost Valley Trail Maint. Working Vacation
Los Padres Forest Association
April 8th – April 17th 2016
Trip Purpose – The main purpose of this trip was to perform brushing and tread-work in the areas heavily covered in brush. Remove debris slides and cut out and remove the estimated 10 downed trees blocking the Lost Valley Trail from the lower trailhead starting at the Lost Valley/Manzana trail intersection and ending at the Hurricane Deck trail intersection. This trail took heavy debris damage during the August 2015 thunderstorms.
Water Conditions – Water conditions were about as expected considering 5 years of drought. The creek bed had some wet areas in the lower 2 miles. The dependable wet area, ¾ miles below twin oaks, was wet and vulture springs was trickling. Packers brought us water for camp every other day or so.
Weather Conditions – We experienced rain the first 3 days of the project and stayed at NIRA, then moved camp to Twin Oaks and finished the project from there. The remaining 7 days were mostly clear with highs in the high 70’s and low 80’s.
Description of Work/Surveys Accomplished
Trip Overview – This 10-day working vacation was originally planned for the Madulce Trail. However, rainy weather during the first few days, caused concern for getting pack animals safely in and out of camp and up the infamous heartbreak hill.
So we moved the project to the Lost Valley Trail, which sustained heavy damage during the August 2015 thunderstorms. That particular weather event brought down trees and debris slides, making the trail nearly impassable to hikers.
We car-camped the first 3 days of the project at NIRA while working on the first few miles of the Lost Valley Trail. After the weather cleared, and the remaining work was farther up the trail, we moved to Twin Oaks Camp to continue our efforts.
The trip was very successful overall, especially as an alternate to the original plan. Each day we broke into several teams, performing brushing, tread-work and/or tree removal as needed.
Future Projects for the area – The remaining 3 miles, from Vulture springs to hurricane deck, need to be completed to Full LPFA standard. A multi-day trip, with workers staying at cowboy camp and packers bringing water to camp, will make working this section feasible. This will allow us to work on the East Hurricane deck section simultaneously.
Backcountry users observed in the area – We observed several groups of day-hikers and backpackers in the Manzana trail and NIRA camp areas. On the final day of the project, a couple of backpackers who hiked the middle-deck loop mentioned that they were very pleased to hike a freshly worked Lost Valley Trail.
Our second WORKING VACATION is May 20-31 based at Sycamore Camp along the middle Sisquoc in the San Rafael Wilderness. Our focus for this project will be to work the Sisquoc Trail downstream from Sycamore to Abel Camp. John Franklin and Steve Cypher are co-leading this project. Volunteers, cooks and/or stock support are needed. I’ll tell you one thing, jumping into the Sisquoc after a long day of work will not be the worst thing.
The third WORKING VACATION is scheduled for June and the location is TBD dependent on how water conditions shape up the rest of the winter and into summer.
If you are interested in learning more or to sign up, let us know: INFO@LPForest.org
The Working Vacations are great fun and I think I can speak for all the previous participants and say that they are some of the best volunteer experiences you can have in the Los Padres. Hope to see you out there…….
And while I have you, don’t forget about the Surf & Turf event TONIGHT at Surf Brewery in Ventura. Information is attached.
Lucky Pooch Recharging by the Campfire
Happy New Year! The big news across the forest this past week has been the change in Fire Restrictions. Effective January 9, the fire restrictions dating back to May 5, 2015 have been lifted. While this is exciting news for those of us who have spent freezing nights in the forest of late, please PLEASE remember to be safe with your campfires. Only build campfires in cleared spaces, preferably in designated campground campfire-rings and most importantly be sure to completely put out your fires before you leave camp. It may seem like a pain to spend those extra minutes soaking your fire but it’s so important – think about the alternative. Take that extra time to run trips back and forth from the creek. For those of you looking for an easier solution, REI sells a collapsible bucket made by Sea to Summit which carries 10 liters and can easily soak down a campfire with only a few trips to the creek. Also be sure to get your California Campfire Permit. Permits are available at any of the Ranger Stations or online at this link. Just takes a few minutes and it is the law to have a permit. Enjoy the warmth and be careful. The change in fire restrictions also reopens shooting ranges across the forest. Contact your local Ranger District for information on shooting ranges near you.
The LPFA and friends have a bunch of volunteer trail projects scheduled over the coming months, a BUNCH! We wanted to get the dates out to you now so that you can hopefully find a free weekend (or longer) to help the trails. If you have any questions or want to sign up, please email INFO@LPForest.org:
February 7: Deal Trail, Dick Smith Wilderness
This is the 4th Annual Super Bowl Sunday trail project hosted in conjunction with UTMC along the deal Trail. Meet at 8:30am and home in time for the second half of the game. Lots of fun and you’ll feel great sitting on your couch that evening knowing you deserve it, Mark Subbotin is the project lead.
February 19-21: Location TBD
This is going to most likely be a 3-day car-camping project in the Santa Barbara Backcountry led by Curt Cragg. We are finalizing the location based on weather and road access. More to come soon……
March 4-6: Potrero Trail, San Rafael Wilderness
Led by Mike Smith, this will be a 3-day backpacking project based at Potrero Camp along Manzana Creek. Work will be up the Potrero Trail towards Hurricane Deck. The project will be stock supported so expect tasty meals.
March 18-20: Buckhorn Trail with SBMTV, Santa Barbara Backcountry
Led by Curt Cragg and cosponsored by LPFA and SBMTV, we’ll be working the legendary Buckhorn Trail down from the top towards the first creek crossing. We’ll be camping at Happy Hollow Camp with opportunities for day volunteers as well. Gonna be a fun one!
April 8-18: Madulce Working Vacation, Dick Smith Wilderness
This is the first of 3 LPFA Working Vacation scheduled for spring 2016. We’ll be based at Madulce Camp and working the network of trails radiating from the old guard station. Our main focus will be working the Madulce and Puerto Suelo Trails. While we’ll be up there for 10 days, there will be opportunties for shorter stints. Backpacking 7 miles to camp is required and there will be stock support. April is a great time of year in this part of the forest. Mike Smith will be the project lead.
April 29-May 1: Alamar Trail, Dick Smith Wilderness
This project will be based at Bluff Cabin and focused on completing the final mile of trail down Alamar Trail from Alamar Saddle. Curt Cragg will be leading this project. This was a project we started in September 2015 as part of National Public Lands Day.
May 5-8: Lost Valley Trail, San Rafael Wilderness
Mike Smith will be leading a gutsy (Mothers Day) extended weekend project along the Lost Valley Trail. This will be a backpacking / stock-supported project based somewhere along the trail with the goal of working from the Manzana up to the Hurricane Deck.
May 20-30: Middle Sisquoc Working Vacation, San Rafael Wilderness
This is going to be a fun one as well. We’ll be based at Sycamore Camp along the Sisquoc River and working the trail down-canyon to Abel Camp. The Sisquoc should be epic this time of year with deep pools and green slopes. Access will be along the Jackson Trail. The project will be stock supported with shorter length stays possible as well.
June 3-5: National Trails Day, Location TBD
We’ll be partnering with REI to host a 3-day project in the Ventura or Santa Barbara Backcountry. Location and specifics are in the works. Stay tuned…….
June 11-19: Mission Pine Working Vacation, San Rafael Wilderness
There have been quite a few projects over the past few years attempting to reopen the Mission Pine Trail from McKinley Saddle to Big Pine. Talk about epic trails, this Working Vacation will be focused on completing the work across Mission Pine and down the top mile of the Santa Cruz Trail. There is lots of potential for this project as far as where it is based and all that. In the works and we’ll share when we know more……..
Wheww, that is a lot, isn’t it? We hope you can make it on at least one of these projects. We’ll be covering many different types of trails at many fantastic locations. There is really something for everyone on these projects. If you haven’t been on any LPFA project, try to make it this spring, you’ll have a great time!
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……
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:
List of more upcoming events……….
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
If you’ve not been on a Working Vacation, I can assure you they are a lot of fun. Having stock support means we eat well and usually have cold beverages to look forward to at the end of the day. Hope you can make it and to sign up or for more information email: INFO@LPFOREST.ORG
SISQUOC WORKING VACATION
San Rafael Wilderness
Hello Los Padres,
Busy time in the Forest. Lots going on. Events every weekend. Flowers going off. Trail projects here and there. Good water in the creeks. And yes, our snake friends are awake, out and about. We’ve been getting reports of rattler sightings. While the buzzing sound will startle you, remember that it’s better than the alternative of a snake that doesn’t provide warnings. Rattlesnakes play a crucial role in the LP environment and don’t like seeing people as much as you might not like seeing them. Keep your eyes open while along the trails, watch where you put your feet and hands and be sure to give them their space if you do see/hear them. They really are quite beautiful, once you get over the initial startle.
FREE Showing of MULE Living on the Outside
The Los Padres Trail Riders are presenting a free screening of the great documentary of Mule’s wanderings around the Western United States. See attached for more details.
Trails and Tales: A Behind the Scenes Look at Ojai’s Backcountry
This is going to be awesome! The Ojai Valley Museum has organized a panel discussion about everyone’s favorite subject: The Ojai/Ventura Backcountry! The panelists are a who’s who, including Rick Bisaccia, John Boggs, Craig Carey and Mike Vaughn. The event starts at 4:30. I know, spend the day in the mountains, stop by Wheeler Gorge on your way back and then hit the Trails and Tales on your way back home. Perfect day! Thank me on Monday with some pictures of your hike. See attached for more information.
Exploring the Dick Smith Wilderness Slideshow by James Wapotich
Join James Wapotich next Wednesday as he takes us on a tour of the forgotten Dick Smith Wilderness. Free event that will leave you wanting to risk bad trails and blood sucking California rose for the solitude and beauty of the Dick Smith. See you there….. More information attached.
Wildflower Tour of Figueroa Mountain
Santa Ynez Valley
Helen Tarbet of the Forest Service will be leading a tour of the world famous Figueroa Mountain wildflowers. Helen’s passion and knowledge of the local flora is incredible. She’s great and you will have a terrific time on this tour, trust me. See the attached flier and please send us some photos to share when you get back.
Santa Paula Canyon Trash Cleanup
Ojai Santa Paula
The Ojai Ranger District will be organizing a trash cleanup along Santa Paula Canyon on March 28. For more information, contact Ranger Heidi: firstname.lastname@example.org
Santa Barbara Canyon Sawyer Project
Cuyama Pine Mountain
Join the UTMC and Wilderness Corp on a sawyer project along the Santa Barbara Canyon Trail in the Dick Smith Wilderness. The work starts Saturday at 9am and lasts through 5pm on Sunday. This is a beautiful trail in a remote corner of the forest. Great opportunity to give back to the forest. If interested click on www.WildernessCorps.com and click on Logging Trips; Santa Barbara Canyon Trail. Looking forward to hearing about all the great work they get done!
Wheeler Gorge Open House
Ojai Highway 33
The LPFA is hosting our 11th Open House at Wheeler Gorge! This is a great family event. This is a perfect excuse for getting you and your family into the mountains. The Open House is from 10am – 2pm, which gives you plenty of time for an early morning hike or an afternoon swim in the nearby Matilija or Sespe Wildernesses. We’ll have games, arts & crafts, booths, Smokey Bear, BBQ, etc etc… See attached for more details.
I told you there was lots going on. Hope to see you out and about and have a great week……….
Hope you’ve been getting out and enjoying the unusually warm weather we’ve had of late. It’s been nice, sometimes too nice. WE NEED RAIN. Good news is the LP is looking like we might get a few storms within the next week or so. Fingers crossed! We’ve got quite a few updates from across the Forest, lets get to it:
We were just reminded that this project was never shared. Back in July, the Ojai Ranger District reached out to us and asked if we’d be interested in hosting a ‘Working Vacation’ on the Pothole Trail. I don’t think the words had fully left their mouth and we’d already responded with a “HECK YEAH!” The Pothole Trail is a rarely hiked trail within the Sespe Wilderness that connects Lake Piru with the Agua Blanca drainage. It’s the southern most trail along the Condor Trail, right next to the Sespe Condor Sanctuary and is extremely wild and scenic. Great spot! After a few scouting missions by the Forest Service and LPFA, we set off and spent a week clearing the trail from Log Cabin Camp up towards the ridge line. Working Vacations are projects where the LPFA provides food for the volunteers in exchange for volunteers spending their days hacking away at brush. Three daily meals and morning/evening beverages were more than enough encouragement for our team of 13 volunteers. We ended up clearing nearly 3 miles of trail that was extremely overgrown at the start of the week. Good times had by all and a great opportunity to spend an extended time in the Sespe Wilderness. More photos can be seen on the LPFA Facebook Page.
Tis the season and there is a storm of trail projects on the horizon at the moment. Hopefully you can make a couple of these.
January 31: Pothole Trail Clearing
The Ojai Ranger District is hosting a trail project along the Upper Pothole Trail January 31. It will be mostly brushing with some light tread work. For more information, contact Ranger Heidi: email@example.com
February 1: Mine Camp Trail Project
What better way to spend Super Bowl Sunday than doing some trail work in the morning. The LPFA, UTMC and Mt. Pinos Volunteers are teaming up for the 3rd Annual Super Bowl Trail Project. This year the work will be up the Mine Camp Trail up from the Deal Canyon Connector Trail in the Mount Pinos Ranger District. The work will start early and end in time for you to at least make the second half of the Super Bowl. As if that isn’t incentive enough, all volunteers will walk away with a commemorative drink koozy. How can you beat that. For more information, get a hold of Mark Subbotin: firstname.lastname@example.org
February 27-March 1: Mission Pine Trail
In a continued effort to open up the Mission Pine Trail, another project will be hosted from February 27-March 1 starting from McKinley Saddle and heading to Mission Pine Basin in the San Rafael Wilderness. We’ll send some additional updates but if you’d like to sign up, reach out to Curt Cragg: Curt@LPForest.org
Lots of information…….If we missed anything or you have any updates you’d like us to forward on – send our way. Be safe everyone and enjoy your time in the Forest.
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.
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.
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
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…….