Friday, January 6, 2012

A Day in the Sticks Part 2, 01/04/2011

After spending the morning traipsing around the Middle Sespe and getting booted off the Reyes Ranch on Ozuna/Lockwood Valley, I drove up to a collection of ramshackle dwellings known as Camp Scheideck. This little community was established by Eugene Scheideck in 1888. There ain't much there. A few old structures remain, including a chapel and a few old shantys. There's a small tavern and about 75 more modern dwellings. I got a Pepsi at the bar and continued up through the Reyes Creek campground to the trailhead for the north end of the Gene Marshall Piedra Blanca Trail.

The Chapel at Camp Scheideck
Reyes Creek
Done in Scheideck, I headed east through Lockwood Valley. I've been in, around, and through much of the Cuyama Badlands. That was one of the great things about having a dirt bike, being able to zip in and out of many of these micro-canyons. Much of the area is open for OHV activities. I find this area fascinating, remote, and desolate. True high chaparral. About midway between the Lockwood Valley/Hwy 33 juction and Frazier Park, a person driving east will see a great ridge of badlands dirt clods off the road to the right (I forgot to check the mile marker). Anyway, this ridge rises about 500 feet from the road, and has always intrigued me. I've always thought it would be cool to get on top of that crumbling formation. Since I wasn't doing anything else I decided to give it a good look.

Two thirds of the way up, road visible in the background.
After figuring out where the best place to start might be, I headed up an arroyo that would put me under a shoulder of the ridge. At first, I was simply scrambling up a loose, crumbling swale. As I got higher the climbing got sketchier. The swale started narrowing until it became a narrow ridge of dirt and rotten shale. I started wishing I was in crampons, I mean this crap was loose. I soon found myself face to face with a section of knifelike dirt clod that required that I hump my self up like I was astraddle a horse. One leg hung off each side of a cliff and the ridge crumbled away under my crotch with each movement. Unnerving. I cleared that obstacle and paused to consider the ridiculous spot I'd gotten myself into.
Sketchy stuff.

Covered in sweat, dirt, and caution I continued up the increasingly decomposing dirt pile. Footing got worse, I dug my hands into the soil like they were claws. Chunks of shale slid away under my feet. I clung to the occasional root, some pulled free of the shitty rock. Finally I arrived at a spot, 35 feet from the summit, that surpassed my ability to reconcile the risk with the reward. I was looking right at the top, but wasn't into dying on 5th class dirt climbing.
I got theeese close!
I ain't agoin' no further!
The swale. It got interesting in places and graduated into dangerous the higher I got.
If you enlarge the pic you'll see my truck on the road.

I had gotten as far as I was going to get. Crap. No prize, and now I had to face the prospect of reversing course. I gingerly descended the same route, and it got exciting in a couple of places, but before long I was back amongst junipers and scrub pine on terra firma. Returning to the truck I reflected on how, with an open mind, an unplanned day can take you to some strange and new places. I stopped in Frazier park for coffee and a sandwich and headed down the 5 and back home. Cool day.

Fire charred crystals I found while climbing through a
layer of strata.
Lockwood Valley Road, passing through the remains
of the day Fire.
For The first installment of this 2 part post, click Part 1

1 comment:

  1. what kind of crystals are those i have some like that i have found but cant find any info on them