Los Padres NF, Trout Creek 2019
A friend of mine and I were talking during a run and mentioned that he had been researching out of the way trails in the Los Padres. Well, I love the Los Padres and definitely obscure trails, so why not...a great weekend hike! He had read some trail reports that had said the trail was covered in poison oak, so on the way to the trailhead we stop and pick up some gear. Up at Hi Mountain Road (yes, it really is "Hi"!) the road is closed and we park the car. But it is a start to a beautiful hike. The dirt road just winds up through pretty mountains and oaks, and all the rain has just left little streams running all down the small gullies in the mountains. The flowers are small but pretty, and the temperature and sun are gorgeous. Finally, following some old topo maps I had downloaded on my phone, we intersect with the Trout Creek trail.
The rains have kept the creek full, and the trail is wonderful, meandering through pretty meadows, beautiful rock formations strewn here and there, and creek crossings galore! I think even more then Manzana, so many that I lost count! But there is something that is wonderful about just being in nature, surrounded by the sound of water, hiking with a friend. No one else was on the trail. But my friend gets a bad reaction to poison oak, which at points seems like it is overgrowing the entire trail. Although the machete is dull, it definitely helped me clear a path, and with the creek close he was able to rinse down. But, of course, having never had a bad reaction to poison oak, I didn't bother...
I'd been pretty lucky and navigated all the creek crossings for over 7 miles without getting wet. But what was wonderful was that each mile down the creek the water level was rising as all the little streams fed into it, and soon there was a crossing that was deeper than my boots. My friend had a great idea...let's throw some bigger rocks from the shore to build up a stepping point in the section that was too deep. Quite logical! Splash, splash, splash, the rocks go in, right to the point where it's just a few inches deep. So I go to cross. I steady myself onto the rocks and then place my left boot onto the final natural rock that had been in the creek. But it was so water worn and rounded, the moment I took my next step, WHAM, my left boot slides off, and now I'm in the creek all wet and laughing. What a skilled outdoorsman I am, felled by an 8 inch deep creek!
Looking at my old topos I found a route back to the car on a trail that looked like it intersected a road. So then we headed back to the car. After passing a seemingly abandoned roll of barbed wire <MISSING REEL>
So after that surreal experience we excitedly got back into the car and were just wondering what in the f*** we had just been through, laughing on the way back into town trying to figure out just what the hell we had seen and how the hell it existed in Southern California! Certainly a trip I will never forget.
Picutres were from the a900 system with the 24-70, 70-400 and 100 macro lenses.
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