Monday, May 30, 2011

A Crush of Humanity Invades Tar Creek! Native Species Flee in Terror! 05/29/2011

Please do not leave webbing in the wilderness!
It strangles and kills condors!
Really? WTF people!?!
I spent a great deal of time this weekend sorting out the approximately 85 pounds of gear I'm going to be humping up to the Palisade Glacier very soon. I also sat around in the back yard doing copious amounts of nuthin. In the midst of all that labour, a flickering light bulb winked to life in my brain. Just how many people, on a sunny Memorial Day weekend, would be crawling all over Tar Creek. The answer was a bit appalling: I was there for 6 hours and lost count after 55 people. Shocking.
I spoke to a few of the scattered masses, asking, when I could, where they might be from. I got responses that surprised me: Redlands, Glendale, Oceanside... Shocking.
Above: Why, why do people need to prove to others that they've visited a place? And why do they think anyone cares?
Below: Some scum-sucking bottom feeder low-life pinko commie weasel has finally, and un-artfully, defaced my shade tree.
Below: this little lady wanted nothing to do with the noisy hordes in the canyon.
Below: This airborne gentleman is Aaron Fenton. He and I have commented on each other's blog from time to time. He does a local hikes blog for the northern San Diego area. You can find him at: It was cool to meet Aaron, his daughter, and friend (whose name escapes me, sorry). They seemed to be having a very good time in Tar.
Below: Evidence for naming the creek "Tar".
Below: Even Litter-Bugs can have good taste in empty carbs.
Below: Meanwhile, back at the trailhead,...
Check in in a couple weeks, I should have some great stories from an amazing 8 days in the Eastern Sierras.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Topatopa via Rose Valley, 05/24/2011

Amazing. I had a day off without any constraints or responsibilities, so I fled to the hills. I hadn't ever taken the Rose Valley Connector trail end to end so I decided to start at Rose Valley campground and end up on Topa Topa. By the time I got back and added another mile for a detour to East Lions falls I put the day at about 20 miles.
As I reported a few posts ago, Lion's Canyon is pretty neat, a worthwhile trip in itself, but I just blazed on through and attacked the long grade up to Nordoff Ridge Rd. I was on top of Topa Topa in 3 hours flat, which I suppose is a pretty good pace. The summit was blustery so I didn't hang out for long.
I decided that I'd take my time on the return trip and do a little exploring. I did brief excursions up several small side canyons just to see what was there. Not much. I wandered back into East Lions and spent an hour at the falls before banging out the last 3 miles to the truck.

Here's some new news: I'm getting geared up for a big trip to the Sierra. This year's trip will, weather willing, produce some good stuff for the blog: five 14,000ft peaks. Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Matilija 05/14/2011

I teamed up with Rick Bartell for a gray day run up Matilija. Yup, a re-run hike for me. Rick hadn't ever been up the creek, and I never mind hiking Matilija.
Matilija is a place in flux. Over the years I've noticed the sometimes subtle, sometimes jarring changes that occur with the passing of the seasons. This years rains have rendered some dramatic changes to my beloved canyon. Several of the finer pools have filled with washed down gravel, most tragically, the pool under the big falls at the top. No more jumping from the high stuff. The upper level of the west falls has completely filled with shards of rock. What used to be "the Emerald Pool" has been completely reshaped over the past two seasons. I keep being reminded of an old quote, "Geologic time is now.".

Back to Rick and his first jaunt up Matilija. Rick ain't young, but he is in great shape, and I put him through the paces. I've noticed that people frequently underestimate the amount of effort it takes to move through a rocky creekbed or canyon bottom. It's all that up/down, side-to-side, twisting and bending stuff. It's tiring, and requires a lot of muscles that don't usually get used. Ole Rick hikes all over the Ventura hillside, but he was not immune to the rigors of a creek hike. We wouldn't have gotten any further than the top falls. He was pretty done about 50 feet from being done, if you know what I mean.

Rick wound up having a good time. We took it easy on the way out, with several stops along the way. It's too bad that the day wasn't a bit nicer, but hey, that's weather for ya.

Matilija 05/10/2011

I realized the other day that I hadn't visited Matilija in a while. In fact, I don't feel like I've been going anywhere lately. This is me feeling sorry for myself because a few minutes ago I was holding a paint brush, and I hate painting. For the last couple months my wife and I have been improving our house and last week we installed new cabinets and tiled the hell out of a brand new laundry/pantry. We break ground on a floor to ceiling kitchen remodel very soon. So, lately my mind (and free time) have been about evenly split between mountains and: drywall, baseboards, pulling wires, hanging doors, plumbing, etc...and I'm sick of painting.

This was a quick run up Matilija to the upper falls. Didn't see any wildlife, or any people for that matter. I enjoyed the afternoon, lounged, swam. Was good to get out.