Saturday, February 03, 2007

Hiking Ventura County #2 - Seven Falls Trail & Inspiration Point

Right off the bat I have to confess that this post is mis-named. This hike was actually in Santa Barbara County. That said, It was a very good hike. The hike to the seven falls area is a 2.5 mile round trip trek. By adding inspiration point to the hike I added about 2.35 miles for a total of 4.85 miles. Inspiration point also added about 800 ft of vertical climb to the hike. The weather was spectacular and this time I had my water and my walking stick. My hat, of the other hand, was back home. I thought it was in the trunk of my car but I was wrong ... sigh. Anyway, parking near the trailhead absolutely sucked. I drove back and forth and almost gave up when a spot opened up. I actually parallel parked for the first time in about 20 years - perfect on the first try I may add. Parallel parking for me is a great achievement. The parking spot was also only 20 feet from the trailhead - score!

The cars hinted at a crowded hike and there were quite a few people with their dogs walking the trail. A small bull terrier either tried to hump my leg or wanted me to pick it up and carry it the rest of the way. Soon afterward I misread the directions and went up the wrong trail. I knew it was wrong because it soon disappeared and I was bushwhacking. I wore myself out getting back to the trail. Fortunately my wrong turn took me in the right direction so I didn't have to back track or anything.

I reached the split where one path took you to the falls and the other went to Inspiration Point. I decided to do the inspiration point path first. It took me awhile to get up the 800 ft climb - I Know! I'm out of shape here! Once I got up to the top it was worth it. The view encompassed all of Santa Barbara. The Channel Islands were visible in the distance looking like a mountain range floating on the clouds. At this point I sat down, ate a protein bar and had my first drink of water. After taking in the view I headed for the first two of three geocaches along the trail:

  1. "The Point Of Inspiration" : This cache was on a small side path off of the main trail. At times the path looked like a tunnel made of trees and brush - real cool looking. The cache was hidden among some boulders with views of Santa Barbara and the surrounding mountains.

  2. "Under The Wire" : This cache was nearby and located at the base of a power line tower. My GPS was off by quite a bit (55 ft) but the name of the cache pretty much says it all.

After leaving the cache I realized I didn't have my walking stick with me - damn! I had to back track a little and I found it near the second cache. A good walking stick is hard to find. I had found this one a few years back on the Punch Bowl trail. Right length, right diameter, and straight.

I made my way back down to the falls area and scramble over the boulders to the pools. I had hoped that the rain we got last week would have resulted in good falls. It didn't turn out that way. The pools were full but the creek was not flowing. I guess it's been too dry this season.

I started back towards the parking lot. On the way down I did the third cache:

  1. "Caretaker's Abode" : The cache was located where the tunnel's caretaker used to live. The house was destroyed in a fire back in 1964. Only a few stone walls survive. It took a while to find the cache - the GPS was jumping all over the place. I finally found it and signed the log.

The walk back to the car was uneventful. I drove some back roads past estates and mansions on the way home. A nice hike and a nice drive home. A few pictures are here.

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