JUNE 12, 2013 – Sycamore Cyn + Blue Cyn & Chamberlain Trails

Another unseasonably cool weekend and my extreme need to ‘get away’ led me to the Rancho Sierra Vista parking lot in Newbury Park on Sunday. Immediately, it was plain to see that things were not normal. “Special Rules” were in effect due to last month’s Springs fire.
Partially burned cactuses were seen on the west side of the trail, across from the visitor’s center.
Here’s the border into Point Mugu State Park and the last few feet of trail leading to the infamously steep downhill into Sycamore Canyon.
It’s an easy coast down on a bicycle, much slower walking and even slower yet walking back up.
This is the view east from the downhill. Utter devastation. The cool ocean breeze carried a strong smell of ash.
On approach, the bridge at the bottom of the hill looked okay except for the railings.
A closer look hiking across showed more damage. Bike riders should be careful.
Both sides of the paved trail were mostly burnt, all the way to the ranger’s house where I turned east. The closest cache is Don’t Fence Me Out!!(GC12HE9).
My day’s goal was to check on my cache Our BBT Megahike Lunch Stop (GC3YBV0) and 7 more hidden by my geofriends, Foocachers, bleed_blue_LA and EcuaDeb. And I needed all 7 of those to increase my Spinal Tap (GC1C4Y4) cache count.
My cache’s survival odds didn’t look good.
And sure enough there was no trace of it, not even any recognizable ashes. So I hid a replacement mini-decon. The camo on the Albackore designed/manufactured containers works especially well in burned out areas. The colors really blend in.
Fog rolled in as I continued east.
This Foocachers container was protected from flames by its rockpile. It melted slightly but remained intact and the log was fine. The fire pooped out 50’ east of the cache.061013_burned_jar
There was no burn damage for several hundred feet until GZ for this EcuaDeb hide. A spot fire here seared off most of the wire-hanging bison tube’s bright red color. The inside was still completely red and the log was undamaged.
There were 5 more caches ahead. Burn damage was sporadic along this section of the trail. I think that I was near the fire’s eastern edge.
Wind whipped fog blew across this ridgeline. I crossed quickly and looked down to the east (right side).
The fire may have been stopped here. Everything beyond was green.
Once across the ridge I easily found 3 closely packed caches, all undamaged. Earlier in the day I’d planned to turn around at 3:30pm to minimize the possibility of my car being locked in the parking lot at sunset. My actual turnaround time was 3:34pm. Close! I then did the entire hike in reverse. Freed from staring at my GPSr, I looked closer at the scenery. The only animals were flies, a few lizards and a flock of screeching parrots. And almost everywhere there were signs of recovering plant life.
It took 22 minutes from the bridge to go back up the hill. At 6:15pm I was on top, sitting on a memorial bench checking e-mail and facebook. It was nowhere near sunset so I rested my sore legs (12.7 miles hiking) for a half hour before hiking the last flat ½ mile to my car. I didn’t see ANY trail closures. But I read elsewhere that the one leading to the windmill is still closed. The firefighters did a fantastic job of containment. And I give high marks to officialdom for NOT reflexively shutting down the ENTIRE area for months or even years. I hope that their fast cleanup and reopening of the trails sets a precedent for the future.


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