Saturday, August 18, 2007

Hiking Ventura County #29: Simi Peak

Do you know what stupid is? Do You? I'll tell you what it is. It's hiking 8.55 miles with a vertical climb of 1,225 feet on a trail with very little shade and little breeze on a 94 °F day. That is what I did on Friday.

I got up early and drove out to the trailhead. I parked near Eagle View park and started by looking for a couple geocaches. It's a nice little park full of trees and a little creek. I found "Kaitlin's first cache" where I dropped of the Mini Photo Album TB. I left a picture of Homer in the TB. I was unable to locate another cache in the park so I continued on the trail. The trail crosses a street where the China Flat Trailhead begins.

The trail starts to climb at this point. It winds its way up the side of the ridge. As I climb I saw trouble coming. There was a little shade going up because the sun was still low but I saw that when the sun got up higher there would be absolutely no shade. It would not be nice on the return. I reached the top where the trail headed back down a little into China Flat. There are trees and welcome shade here. There is evidence of past fires as well.

I crossed the flat and started back up. I was following my GPS to another cache and missed the turn-off to the peak. That was fine as I would find it on the way back from the cache. "prospector's hide" is a multi-cache. The first step is to find a park boundary marker (BM) using the clue and then navigating from there to the location of the cache. From there you use a picture to find the actual location of the cache. I found the BM with no problem but I miscalculated as I navigated to the cache location. I also forgot to print out the picture so I was in the wrong location without the final clue. I realized my navigation error and got to the right location. From there I looked in a couple more incorrect locations before I finally found it. It would have been a lot easier if I hadn't miscalculated and I had the picture with me. Oh well, I found it anyway.

I made my way back down the trail and found the trail up to the peak. It was hot and I was running out of steam. I had to fight the urge to sit down and rest every time I saw some shade or a comfortable looking rock. I was a little dizzy so I finally stopped and sat down under a tree, ate a protein bar, and rested a bit. I got back up and finished the climb up to Simi Peak.

At the peak there are 360° views of Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, and Simi Valley. Simi Valley had a layer of gray haze - smoke from the distant Zaca Fire that has burned over 171,000 acres over the last month and a half. You could see the large plume of smoke from the fire poking above the haze in the distance. I sat down and ate my sandwich and orange. The food hit the spot. There was no shade at the peak except for a small bush. I laid down with my head in the shade. I tried to rest but it was just too hot. My GPS has a thermometer and it was reading 120 °F - I think that was the temp in the sun. I decided to head back down.

The hike down was not as easy as I expected. Down is almost always better than Up but the heat was sapping the little strength my legs had. I stopped to rest several times until I got on the steep trail down the ridge. There was no shade at all and I emptied my camelbak before I got back to Eagle View park. I cracked open my spare water bottle and found the water to be warm like bathwater - hard to drink. I sipped at it as I finished the trek back to the car. At the car I had more water in the trunk but to my surprise the water was even hotter then my spare bottle. It was hot. I ended up sipping from the bottles all the way back home finishing both bottles.

This is a nice trail but a hot summer day is not the best time to do it. Pictures are here. Next week I will be switching to my three liter camelbak.

2 comments:

  1. Camelbak's rule! My only regret with mine is that I didn't buy it years before.

    I've done "hot hikes" like yours before; and now you know why most of my hikes right now are over 5,000' in the Angeles!

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  2. I always thought that camelbaks looked geeky until I bought one and used it. Much better then lugging water bottles. My three liter one is almost a backpack so it can haul all my stuff (snacks, first aid stuff, etc) instead of using the fanny pack I use now.

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