January 29: Working backwards, as always

I’ve developed a concern that my San Fernando to Conejo Valley trek may be more challenging than I anticipated. I need some maps, both topo and trail maps, and I’ll get them as soon as I can. Until I do, I am guesstimating the hike will be right around 18 miles, one way.

That distance assumes a relatively easy hike with very little if any scrambling.

While I wait for proper cartographic evidence I decided that a couple trips into what I regard as the hard part of the trip would be wise.

The choke point seems to be north and west of Kanan, extending as far as Westlake Blvd., where the good restaurants, bars and hotels start becoming prevalent.

So, I made a run out there on this cloudy Saturday to see what I could see. The short story is that I have sense there are usable fire roads between those two roads, but I’m still not sure.

My first trip was to the end of Westlake Blvd. It terminates at the foothills and while there is a trail very near its end, it would seem to be a loop trail. It’s called the Autumn Ridge Trail.

So, I went back toward the 101 and my real target, the trailhead near the Chumash Museum further south on Westlake Blvd. I’ve never been there before today but it was very interesting though the museum is closed (temporarily one hopes) because of COVID. There’s a really nice, shaded trail that parallels a steep, rocky ridge to the south. It’s covered with oak and vines. Dead ahead is what appears to be an insurmountable (for me, anyway…I’m sure Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell could get over it barefoot, hungover and half-asleep) rocky peak that looks very much like the rock formations near the northern edges of Rocky Peak Park, south of the 118 and Topanga. As the trail I was on today trends south and east, the rock formation falls away and at the end of the trail is a single-track connection to a promising SE fire road.

As I said, there are many more questions to answer and many ways to acquire each. I now think the trip would be doable without threat to life or limb anytime between now and mid-June (June gloom might save the day).

Here are a few quick photos…

As I said, this was an unusual day. It was supposed to be much more sunny that it was. Instead, it was cloudy, especially on the trail. It actually got a little chilly especially since I had on only shorts and a t-shirt.

Hey, this is Southern California after all.

Things are looking promising but there is still more I need to know before next steps are taken.

So, as always, thanks for reading.

By the way, today’s writing soundtrack is I Love You, Honeybear by Father John Misty from his 2015 record by the same name.

Look, this is some weird shit. I think you should just buy it.

I love it, but then again what does that tell you?

January 29: Working backwards, as always

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