Above: Ojai, from above Horn Canyon
Below: Chief Peak from the east
I started up Horn at dawn. I moved through the low forest of beech and oak, enjoying the quiet murmur of the creek, listening to the waking birds. It was crisp, cold really, so I moved fast in order to warm up. Soon I was feeling pretty good and as the trail got steep I was in fine form. I gotta say I felt mustard. I think I was on a pretty good buzz just being out on a trail alone. I didn't even notice the steeps until I realized I was already walking into The Pines Camp.
The Pines is a sweet little campsite tucked in a fold of the great big hill that looms above Thatcher School. The camp is nicely shaded with several species of pine, and a few of the trees have probably been planted there as seedlings. Several of these trees have bear markings on them. A spring box is tucked in the brush on the west side of the camp and is mostly used for horses. The horses, which I've never encountered, have their own picket posts and a bit of grass to crop. Within the past several months somebody has gone to a great deal of effort, crafting log benches for the site. It's pretty nice but the best features of the camp are the wind protection and the sunrise. The mornings here are golden and warm, but I kept on walkin'.
In a little less than 4 hours I was on the summit. Not bad time-wise. I lingered on the top for over an hour. It was too nice a day to just sign in and bail. A long lunch and a cat-nap later I was scrambling down to the fire road.
Above: Ojai, Ventura, and the Channel Islands form Chief's summit
Below: The Sespe. Nuf said.So here I am, feeling pretty good about my over-all fitness and very happy with my cardio. Smiles all the way around right? Telling myself that I'm a super great guy in super great shape until...I tried to get outa bed the next morning. What the hell did I do with that god damn oil can?!? And where's my Motrin?! And glucosamine?! Hell, bring me a dead shark and I'll eat it's raw cartilage! I had aches that I didn't never have, ever. This, in a word, sucks. So I have a ways to go to get back to the type of shape these hills require.
Below: I saw the tracks of many deer. Guess the deer of D-13 have had an easy hunting season so far. Also, I saw a very large red tail hawk, and from about fifteen feet away I spooked a pretty Coopers hawk with a lizard in it's mouth.
Below: The Pines Camp