A Secret Camping Spot
I used to live in Jamestown, Colorado, and I was lucky enough to stumble upon a great camping spot within a mile or two of my house. At that time I had a four wheel drive vehicle (had to have, actually) so I could get within a few hundred yards of this spot during the summer. In the winter I could get within about a mile.

On our recent trip to Boulder, I took Linda up to this area and we discovered that the four wheel drive road had been closed by the county. I wasn't expecting to use this road in a rental car, anyway, so we hiked in and found the camp even more primitive than I remembered it, probably because of the road closure. The total hike was nearly four miles, but it brought back a lot of nice memories for me.

Bear Creek
This weekend we camped at Bear Creek along the Sespe Creek trail, on the way to Willett's Hot Springs. The hike itself was beautiful, but somewhat marred by the large number of people also enjoying the trail. The campground itself reminded us of car camping, what with people camping so close together. The hike was our longest yet at just over 4 miles and we felt it the next day.
Back To Nordhoff Ridge
Our first camping trip of the season was great. We had less trouble with the hike than we expected and the camping was wonderful. Here's a pic of some milkweed we found.
Second Trip to Nordhoff Ridge
Last weekend we again hiked Howard Creek Trail up to the Nordhoff ridge and stayed in the campground with the fire pit and table. We really like it up there because of the views and the peace and quiet, but that last mile is a killer. Coming down was easy, as always, and we met a range with a group of volunteers doing trail maintenance. Here's a view down onto a private lake along the trail.
Hiking From Pine Mountain Road to Chorro Springs
Friday we drove up to Pine Mountain and took the road to the top of the Chorro Grande Trail. It was really beautiful up there and we collected some amazing pine cones, but when we hiked down the trail to the Chorro Springs campground we were greeted with a heavy swarm of gnatty bugs and flies. It really was uncomfortable. The hike back up was steep and strenuous and more uncomfortable still because of the large amount of flying insects. It was a beautiful place, but, as you must now know, way too buggy.

Camping on the Nordhoff Ridge
This weekend we hiked the 3.2 mile Howard Creek trail up to the Nordhoff Ridge where we found a camp complete with a table. It was beautiful up there, with marvelous views in all directions. Linda especially liked the quiet. We could see the fire lookout on the top of Nordhoff peak. This hike went well, though it is quite strenuous. Lot's of poison oak along the trail.
Hiking the Pratt Trail
This weekend we took a day hike along the Pratt trail, which begins at a parking lot in Ojai, and eventually ends up on the Nordhoff ridge road at an elevation of nearly 5000 feet. It was very hot and the trail is a strenuous one, so we only went about two miles and turned around. We weren't terribly fond of the fact that much of the trail goes through private property and right next to houses, but once we got past that section it was really quite lovely. Here's the sign where we turned back.

Camping At East Fork Lion Camp
Last weekend we camped at the East Fork Lion Camp off of Lion Valley near Rose Valley. We hiked in about four miles over the connector trail that links to the Rose Valley campground. We had previously hiked to this camp from the Middle Lion campground about three years ago in some monstrous heat. This time it was warm, but nothing like it was back then. The campsite is nice, and there weren't nearly as many bugs as we encountered the first time.
Murietta Camp
Yesterday we did the short hike to Murietta camp across from Matilija valley where we had camped previously. The hike totaled 2 miles one way along the road to the trail-head and then a nice single track well shaded by mature trees. The campground itself was nice enough and is situated near the stream with a nice pool below. There were a couple of girls hanging out at the pool who we later agreed must have been on hallucinogenic drugs. They appeared to be reading a book about hippies and trying to re-enact things they read. They had a rattle with them and they couldn't stop giggling. They left well after dark, leaving behind a water bottle, a blanket, and a straw hat, going down the trail to the light of a glow stick. I hope they made it OK.
Camping Along the Chorro Grande Trail
This weekend we hiked the lower portion of the Chorro Grande trail, up to the first campground which Linda's pedometer indicated was 2.3 miles from where we parked. We didn't see anyone at all on this hike, and it looked like this trail hasn't seen much activity in quite a while.

We camped at the lower of the three campsites we found and liked this spot as much or more than any campsite we've been to this year.

The upper campsite is larger and looks like a great place for a party. However, it was very clean and very close to the stream. We used our new water filter for the first time to no ill effect. 

Overall, we really liked this trail and camp and look forward to going back to explore the rest of the trail going up to Pine Mountain.

Camping at Piedra Blanca
Camping at Piedra Blanca

We returned yesterday from an overnighter at the Twin Forks campground on the Piedra Blanca trail. Luckily, the skies were overcast Friday as we hiked in, otherwise it would have been a scorcher.

The white rocks are beautiful and the trail is excellent. On our way in we met a trail-building crew complete with five pack horses. They had been working up around the Pine Mountain Lodge area.

It's It's about a 4 mile hike to the Piedra Blanca camp, and another half mile to the Twin Forks camp, where we stayed. The camp was great, well shaded with a good clean stream running nearby.

I saw a couple of dear, and there was a water snake in Piedra Blanca creek, but otherwise we didn't encounter any critters.

Linda made a beautiful bouquet out of plants growing around the camp.

Camping Along Matilija Canyon Trail
Friday we drove up to Mitilija Canyon and hiked in about 3.5 miles, past the Middle Matilija campground.

We had to park at a gate and walk down a private road that gave access to the canyon. It was a beautiful day. I fell into the creek and cut my leg pretty good, and Linda tripped over a branch and hit the ground hard. We both survived, but it became obvious that we were carrying too much weight.

We had to build our own camp. It was Memorial Day weekend, after all, and there were plenty of hikers and campers about.

Saturday morning we hiked another mile or so up the canyon but didn't make it all the way to the Upper Matilija campground. The bugs were out in force, so we hiked back out and came home. 

Camping Along Sespe Creek
Yesterday, Linda and I returned from an overnight camp along Sespe Creek out of Rose Valley. We had originally planned to visit Piedre Blanca but took a wrong turn and ended up hiking the trail towards Willett's Camp.

We're not sure how far we hiked, but it seemed like three to six miles, one way. We actually hiked at least a mile beyond where we ended up camping, coming upon a series of switchbacks that seemed to have no end (and we were getting pretty tired). So, we hiked back to a spot we had seen from the trail and made camp on a sandy spot next to the creek.

We found some old folding chairs nearby, left by hardier folks than us, and put them to good use next to an excellent firepit.

There was a terrific pool right next to the camp.

The creek was very clear and likely as high as it will be all year.

We had a great time, and for our first backpacking trip of the season, didn't get too sore or sustain too many injuries. We forgot the butter, but didn't really need it. All in all, a recommended trail, especially in May with flowers in bloom and the creek clear and inviting.