Saturday, May 05, 2007

Hiking Ventura County #15: Long Canyon

My latest hike was in Simi Valley not too far from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. The Long Canyon hike was supposed to be 5.1 miles round trip but I managed to stretch it out to 9.03 miles which happens to be the longest hike I have ever done. Before this, my longest was an 8 mile hike in Bryce Canyon. The trail is an Up-Down-Up-Down Multi-Loop. This is an oversimplified description as there were more then two up-down cycles on this hike. This also happens to be a portion of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historical Trail. The trail is marked with this signage.

The trails form several loops that climb up and down ridges. The land is covered in the usual grass and chaparral with outcroppings of rock. As you climb over the first ridge the sound of the freeway noise vanishes. The weather was wonderful today and there were quite a few people on the trails including several riding mountain bikes. The trail was very similar to other trails that I've done in the Thousand Oaks area. At the beginning I was a little disappointed as the scenery was ordinary and nothing special. I guess I have been spoiled by the Piedra Blanca, Potrero John, and Tar Creek hikes.

At the bottom of the ridge the trail winds in and out of Oak Trees that were growing next to a dry creek bed. I assume the creek is seasonal. I liked the portions of the trail in the trees. The sun was beating down and the shade was welcome. I came to an intersection and I heard a buzzing. The ground was perforated with holes and grey-ish bees were buzzing from hole to hole. Bees living in the ground - another first for me. It was ... Cool.

Now, you may be wondering how I managed to to stretch the hike from 5.1 to 9.03 miles. There are two answers - geocaches and bad navigation. There were sixteen geocaches (at least) on this trail. They are on different loops of the trail. I managed to do fourteen of the caches. Two were on a loop that just wasn't convenient. Most of the fourteen caches on the trail were themed - American Made Stuff, Kisses and the lips that go along with them, Rubber Ducks, Plastic Animals, Doll House Miniatures, and Eggs. Chasing after these 14 caches stretched the hike out quite a bit. Here are the caches that I found: "Rubber Duckie", "Fusion", "Itty Bitty, but not", "Left-Overs", "Little Wild Things", "Chumash Labor Union", "American Ingenuity", "Just Another Trail Side Cache", "Solong Elang", "This Way to the Numbered Tree...", "Numbered Tree", "Pucker Up", "Hardboiled", and "Scrambled". I picked up a travel bug ("The Zoo's Loose!!") and a geocoin ("POW/MIA").

As for the bad navigation, after the last cache I headed up the wrong way. I caught my accident and turned around but not before I added at least 0.5 mile to the hike. When I got back to the trailhead, I was exhausted and sun burned (My face is bright red - why? - because I forgot my hat - Duh!). I expect to be a little sore tomorrow. It was a pretty good hike even though it felt like a rerun of other hikes. That's to be expected I guess.

On the way back to the house I picked two ticks off me ( thrown out the window). When I arrived home I found another on my shirt (killed with the pliers). A fourth had latched on to my stomach (pulled off and stomped into oblivion on the concrete). I really like hiking but the Ticks are driving me crazy.

A few pictures are here.

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