Monday, March 14, 2011
Hike 12- Rocky Peak
Howdy everyone to ADKinLA 2.0, the East West Hike edition. Same bat-blog-post, different bat-website-address.
What better way to kick off the new era of East West Hiking then a good ol blog post about hiking? When I was planning a hike to Rocky Peak, as a new Angeleno, I asked myself, what's a Ventura County? Well its a county right outside of Los Angeles, imagine that! And they have hiking there! I didn't think there was hiking outside of the City limits but I was wrong and you should run down to the nearest gas station, fill up and go do this hike.
Of course, this hike was nearly over before it began. As readers of this blog knows, I am not a fan of people...on the trail. I want to hear the sounds of nature, I want to imagine, at least for a few hours that I am in the wilderness, exploring the great unknown (in my nylon pants). So what happens when I pull up to the turnoff for Rocky Peak?
Unreal, of all days to chose to hike there and at 7:30am nonetheless, there so many people already parked on the roads that I had to park about a 1/2 mile from the trail head. I also had my doubts about the hike as not only did I have to go over a highway but the first part of the path was paved.
As I got further into the trail, we were back on the standard Cali fire road/canoe trails. Much like my hike of Parker Mesa, while the hike was not technically challenging, it does burn the legs as it is a steady hike uphill with only brief respites of flatland.
Due to the number of people on the trail, I actively explored side trails. Boy was that a mistake. I hope I don't come off on this blog as an expert, just a really enthusiastic hiker with a pretty good sense of direction. Well enthusiasm only gets you so far on the side trails of Rocky Peak. Many trails go nowhere or go so far afield from the main trail that they may as well be dead ends if you haven't hiked there before. I must have screwed around for 10 minutes at a time down trails that lead to salamanders nothing else.
Back on the main trail, its very clear that California offers a wide variety of terrain. This place was unlike anywhere else I have ever been so far in my travels. It was like a moonscape with grass. It also made me think of Utah or at least the "127 Hours" conception of Utah.
In fact, VERY much like "127 Hours"
There are so many caves at Rocky Peak. They all had some semblance of human existence
and I was constantly struck by how it would be a great hiding place from Johnny Law...until they read this blog of course.
Eventually after hiking a piece
you get to the crest of the hills and have the option of either continuing on to canyon country or looking for a spur to the best mountain top vista I have been on in awhile. Modern Hiker laid it all out but I couldn't find the spur because of the damn fun run (Thwarted Again!) I ended up hiking .3 miles only to turn back because I could see the mountain but I just couldn't get to it.
Once you find the spur, you are in for a treat, no one on the trail, it goes uphill in tough country surrounded by awesome scenery and crows. The last .2 of a mile or so will definitely give you a good work out and eventually you make a boulder summit (gee, wonder why they call it Rocky Peak?). Even though I was the only one on the summit, someone had beaten me to it.
Satanists (and probably not the fun ones either)!
Whatever you think of Beelzebub, the summit has amazing views that come with a great sense of accomplishment for such a short hike.
There was a another rock summit but with "127 Hours"-type big boulders to scramble over, I decided not test them.
From the summit there was a kayak/bushwhack trail going downhill that is definitely worth taking. It is very steep with loose rocks in places so definitely take your time.
The hike is short and sweet and with the views as killer as they are, it definitely worth your time to venture to the County of Ventura.
Here is a a great map to consult: http://www.lamountains.com/maps/rocky%20peak.pdf
Of course, Modern Hiker with the great rundown: http://www.modernhiker.com/2009/01/17/hiking-rocky-peak/
Posted by Peter Flanigan at 7:43 AM