FEBRUARY 29, 2016 – PCT Bouquet Canyon Road (S)

February 29, 2016

I’ve been obsessed with hiking the PCT for about a year. On the offhand chance 🙂 that I’d win the lotto I prepared for the 5 month 2,653 mile “thru hike” from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. I researched & bought all the gear, all the books & maps, read the blogs, watched youtube videos and immersed myself in thru hiker culture. But I didn’t win and therefore have to keep working. So I’m relegated to hiking small pieces of the PCT on weekends.

This time I chose a trailhead where the PCT crosses Bouquet Canyon Road. Cacher Vanichiro51 had very helpfully placed a string of PCT caches extending several miles both north and south of Bouquet Canyon Road. I parked in a small dirt lot, hung my Adventure Pass on the review mirror and walked a few feet to the south side trailhead. For PCT enthusiasts that’s: Section CA E2, mile 465.55. The trailhead cache is: P.C. Trail # 1 (GC2EF7J).
From the beginning the trail went gradually but relentlessly upward. The greenery was evidence of recent rains though there were no trail washouts or mud. Conditions were excellent throughout.
A cool breeze kept the 85 degree temperature from becoming uncomfortable. The Bouquet Reservoir, closed to the public, was visible for the early part of the hike.
I started finding caches with Don_J’s signature last on the log. I stamped underneath and left a memorial wooden nickel. Back at home I saw that there were online logs dated after Don’s finds. But those people didn’t sign the paper logs. Hmmm…
In addition to cache/hiking, I scout for “forest hikes” for my friend Christine (cacher sissopolis). I’m sorry to report that this hike definitely doesn’t qualify.
Finding caches every 600’ or so I arrived at a place where the soil abruptly changed from grey-brown to reddish. The vegetation became more dense at that spot.
Fortunately the caches were mostly very large containers, not too far off trail. But they were old and in various stages of decay.
This one was destroyed.
Just before the top of the last hill a forest of sorts appeared for a few hundred feet.
At the top the ‘forest’ ended in a wide plateau.
This is the view South from just beyond the sign on a dirt road. The town of Agua Dulce and Vasquez Rocks are in the middle. And the white line across the center is the 14 freeway.
I walked around for the best view, sat for a few minutes to enjoy it and hurried back down in order to reach my car before sundown.
022716_11_selfieThe RT hike was 7.4 miles with 1,200’ elevation gain. Going up and searching for 15 caches, finding 12 took 3 hours. Coming back down and searching for & finding 2 caches took 1 hour & 20 minutes. Eventually I’m going back with an earlier start time to find the many caches along the dirt road at the top. Maybe I’ll start from the other (South) side.


FEBRUARY 12, 2016 – Western Plateau? (Camarillo)

February 12, 2016

For as long as I can remember, the area on the North side of the 101 between the Camarillo plain and Wildwood Park has been called the ‘Western Plateau.’ This past weekend I saw signs there that variously read Camarillo, Hawk Canyon and Hill Canyon. I unexpectedly ended up there when another location had extreme dust filled wind gusts. Sissopolis and EcuaDeb chose the plateau as Plan B. My last visit was on Black Friday 2013. What I noticed this time was the utterly empty pay parking lot and the almost full free lot. Strangely the free lot was much closer to the trailhead! There wasn’t much dust but it was still windy enough to keep some tumble weeds rolling.
The bridge over the North-flowing artificial stream led to the trailhead.
This guy probably didn’t know that the water is the output from a sewage treatment plant!
Early February in So Cal, 85 degrees and cloudless. We passed so many dog walkers that we thought there was a dog event nearby.
Because we hadn’t planned for this location we had no pocket queries or caches in our GPS units. Phone signals were sporadic and the GC.com app was slow. So we probably walked right by several caches.
These palms could be long ago escapees from someone’s landscaped garden.
I whined and whined about needing to find “at least 1 cache” so much so that siss & Deb indulged me. They went out of their way to go with me to COSCA’s 23rd Annual Trail Work Day cache (GC4CFBZ) and a neighboring cache.
Having found the caches I was unstressed and took the time to observe the scenery.
Here are Siss & Deb on a conveniently placed scenic bench, just steps away from No more house overlooking Mars! (GC50ZFQ).020716_09_mars_bench
We were very careful not get blown over the side by wind gusts into the canyon below.
Behind us was the newly named Elliott Mountain. We remembered reading about a memorial cache. With strong cell service we found the coordinates and Deb led the way. Both the mountain and cache are named after Burt Elliott (cacher Big Eagle) who gave decades of volunteer service to local trail and recreation organizations.
The summit was so windy that we only stayed long enough to find the cache, The Eagle’s Roost (GC5WF2J).

The descent was easier than expected.
020716_14_lichenWe rejoined the main trail and looped back to the parking lot.
After the 7.9 mile hike we had a Vietnamese/Californian fusion lunch at 9021PHO in Thousand Oaks. Spicy!!