MARCH 25, 2014 – Upper Las Virgenes (Ahmanson-west)

March 25, 2014

I hadn’t hiked in over a month. So it was a relief to ditch my responsibilities for a few hours and cache a counter clockwise loop at the North end of Las Virgenes Boulevard. The temperature was in the mid 70’s and a slight breeze kept me from overheating in the bright sun.
032314_trailhead
It was great to hike in an unburned area. There was even water at a crossing. But it was just a big puddle from the rains 3 weeks ago and not the usual flowing stream that’s there in non-drought years.
032314_puddle
Beyond the single puddle, the ground was dry.
032314_beetle
My first stop after a left (West) turn was Not a mammoth mountain (GC2Z2ZQ) above the main trail. There was an unexpected mini-trail system up top. It even led to MY cache, Crossover to Cheeseboro Canyon (GC16V89). I didn’t have to do my planned cache maintenance because the temporary replacement left by gcstraggler was better than the one I brought. Thanks!! The cache is within 1 foot of the picture.
032314_crossover
This is the view from ground zero.
032314_wide_angle
At the Northwest part of the loop a sign read that Juan Bautista de Anza did NOT pass this way in 1775-1776. I didn’t either. I made a left (S) turn onto the Cheesboro Ridge Trial.
032314_not_taken
Dark brown ants covered this tree and the ground around it. I couldn’t get close enough to grab the cache inside.
032314_tree_hole
Farther along the loop the trailside was littered with calabazilla Coyote Gourds. The reason for the Latin species name “foetidissima” became apparent. PU! Oh and there’s a cache where the trail meets the water tank at the top of the picture.
032314_calabazilla
Just before the tank a 2’ gopher snake basked in the middle of the trail. I hope it moved before bikers ran over it.
032314_snake
Finding BWidget caches along the way, I kept going on the up and down switchbacks. Near the end of the hike there was an interesting depression in the trailside rock wall.
032314_rock_hole
I emerged at this trail head on Las Virgenes Boulevard, 200’ from my car after 3-1/2 hours and 6.8 miles.
032314_exit