Saturday, March 31, 2007

Hiking Ventura County #11: Cozy Dell Trail

The Cozy Dell trail is a 3.6 mile there-and-back hike. I have done part of this trail before, hitting a couple of caches on the trail. This time I was going to do the whole trail and hit a new cache that was not there the first time I did the hike.

The Trail starts at the 33 Highway and starts going up the hill immediately. The trail switchbacks its way up about 825 ft. I thought I was in better shape but this climb took a lot out of me. I think the problem is that I always start off too fast. I need to pace myself better at the beginning. Another problem was that I had a very light breakfast and my energy level was a little low this morning. I made it to the cache, "A Cozy Little Nook", and placed the Arizona State Geocoin in the cache. I finished up with the cache and got it re-hid before some muggles (non-geocachers) showed up. I started back up the trail and turned a corner and came across an ammo can sitting in plain sight next to the trail. I figured this was a cache so I took it and hid it quick before the muggles got there. I came back later on and verified that not only was it a geocache ( "A Cozy Drink of Water") but I was the first to find it. Well, this isn't totally true as someone wrote in the log. It appears to have been a muggle who didn't re-hide it properly. I took an FTF button (FTF = First To Find).

Further up the trail I came across a shrine to Bob. Bob looked like a fun, outdoorsy, guy. The shrine was topped off with a ceramic tile made from a photo of Bob in his biking gear. I'm sure he's cycling in a better place now.

I continued up the trail and was totally out of breath once I got to the top of the trail. I sat on a pile of stones and admired the view of the Ojai Valley. I then continued down the trail, heading downhill until the trail intercepted the Pratt/Foothill trail. This was where I was supposed to turn around. The description of this hike had said a 4 mile round trip but the turn around point was at the 1.8 mile point. I decided to keep on going until I reached 2 mile mark before turning around. I turned left, walked on a little ways until the Foothill Trail split from the Pratt Trail. I turned right and followed the Foothill trail up the hill. This looked like a great trail as it was flanked with oak trees that curved over the trail forming a tunnel. It looked cool. I reached the 2 mile point and decided to head back since I knew I had to go back up hill and I was feeling it.

I made my way back. I stopped and rested at the end of the Cozy Dell Trail. I decided to continue on after I flicked a tick off my pant leg. I started up the hill. I saw what looked like a large, fuzzy red ant. The insect was about 3/4 inch long, was fuzzy like a bee, and looked like an ant. I think it was probably a wasp known as a Velvet Ant. It reminds me of the zompopos that came out every May in Guatemala. The zompopos would come out in May, lived alone in holes, were about an inch long, and looked like a huge ant. They were not fuzzy like what I saw on the trail but they looked similar. The children, me included, wrestled zompopos. When two zompopos were put together they would wrestle and sometimes a leg or two would be lost. This was a little cruel but kids can be cruel at times. We just thought it was cool. I have never seen a Velvet Ant before. I only saw one live one today. I also saw a dead one on the trail. Unfortunately none of the pictures I took of it came out.

Another strange thing I saw along the trail were areas that appeared to be clear cut. All the brush was broken, not cut, near the ground and scattered on the ground. Several areas along the path were cleared this way. I followed one path along one of the clearings. I think it looked like a firebreak clearing but there was not evidence of fire in the area and leaving all the dead brush in the clearing sort of defeats the purpose of a firebreak. Another little mystery.

This was a nice hike. I got a little pink from the sun. I may have to start wearing sunscreen. I will also need to eat a good breakfast before I head out. The hike, with my detours, ended up being 4.42 miles. Some pictures here.

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