Sunday, February 15, 2015

Exploring Lower Piru Creek

Sure feels like it's spring in mid-February, don't it?
I guess that three storms is the only meaningful precipitation we're likely to get this "winter" so better make the most of it. 

The Piru watershed seems to be the place where one can take every uncomfortable and unpleasant thing the SLP has to offer and upsize it. Ticks, poison oak, venomous reptiles, brush, heat, rough terrain, etc... Piru has it in spades. 

I was joined by Nico and Stephen for a combo cycling/off-trail exploration of the Blue Point/Canton Canyon arena. We mountain biked far into Canton, which is a dramatic dry wash of a place. An old jeep track weaves up the north side of the wash. There are sporadic groves of oaks, and lots of intriguing rock formations, even the remains of an old inholding. The trail is good enough that cycling is is an easy ride. We spent a good deal of time checking out the various rock formations with an eye to rock art, to no avail. 

Another part of the day was spent exploring the remains of the long decommissioned Blue Point Campground. We explored up the eastern draw which empties into Piru Creek. Here we found overgrown conditions and a nice collection of large sandstone wind caves. Done with this particular area we splashed back across Piru Creek to the road and explored a similar series of caves on the western side of the creek. The campground itself has gone completely feral over the years and it occurred to me that the USFS ought to just take everything out and let the area revert to it's primordial self. 

Further up the road we met and chatted with the long time owner of Wheeler Ranch, Joe. He's a nice older guy, was curious about what we were up to. He seemed real relaxed, and if you've seen the beautiful little spread his charming cabin sits on you'd understand why. We did a bit of exploring atop a mesa which overlooks his place.

If you're into Piru and flowers, nows the time to be out. Dozens of species of flowering plants have been tricked into an early spring bloom. The hillsides are green and lush. The birds are out. All in all it was a beautiful day for a mellow tour. Just beware, people are already reporting rattlesnakes being out and about.

Wheeler Ranch from across the way.
The lone sycamore at the mouth of the truly grand Canton Canyon.


  1. DS - The FS will be completely removing all aspects of Blue Point, including the paved creek crossing within the next year. Your wish is the FS command. Have at it......

    1. That's good to hear Bryan, but I just learned that you're a humorist. For instance, if the USFS were truly at my disposal I'd be sporting a shiny key for all the locked gates in this forest. And while I'm dreaming... -DS

  2. A ha. If a shiny key is what you are after, you've been wasting your time looking for old things. Come do some trail work and even you might be able to secure the key to your dreams. : )

  3. Ahh crap, man. I usually just eat the brush. Now you want to go and civilize me, make me use tools and trimmers and shit. I was hoping I'd be able to hold out until later in life, kinda like with golf (though I doubt I'll ever end up doing that particular "sport"). I'll get in touch with you for opportunities to be helpful.