FEBRUARY 12, 2016 – Western Plateau? (Camarillo)

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!!


2 Responses to FEBRUARY 12, 2016 – Western Plateau? (Camarillo)

  1. Mitch says:

    LOVE the Pho!!!

  2. Jim Carleton says:

    Enjoyed reading this, Ken! I was out there a few days earlier with paleolith (Edward Reid). It’s one of my favorite hiking areas 🙂

    A few comments/clarifications that might help you understand the area…

    A) The large pay parking area was installed by the County when it refurbished the old, run-down park area and made it very horse-friendly. The free lot is exclusively for the use of hikers. COSCA got permission to do it after many complaints were lodged with the County, which had originally forbade parking along the road after they re-did the park. And as COSCA had paid for the bridge over the creek, it made much sense to have a parking area for it.

    B) The creek is actually not artificial: it’s Arroyo Conejo, a natural stream course that carries much of the drainage out of Conejo Valley and down to Santa Rosa Creek and then Calleguas Creek. The water treatment plant treats run-off from all the storm drains, etc, and is built across the stream.

    C) The parking area, stream and bridge are in Hill Canyon. The general name for the entire area west of Hill Canyon Road is “Conejo Canyons”. The Western Plateau is actually the flattish, meadowy area above and to the west of Hill Canyon; that bench you photographed is on the edge of the plateau.

    D) Hawk Canyon is a new name, given it by COSCA. I assume that they felt a need to give it a name. I always referred to it as “Poison Oak Canyon”. You might remember a hike that you and i were part of, a decade or so ago, with BLIG; most of that canyon was terribly overgrown with P.O. back then, and it still infests the canyon. I do not know why COSCA chose the name it did; I’ve never seen hawks in it.


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