summer solstice begins on June 20, 2021 at roughly 11:33 pm Eastern and lasts 24 hours. You could legitimately call either the 20th or 21st Nude Hiking Day. Since the 20th is a Sunday with the potential of weekender hikers on the trail – and since it was still only down to 100 degrees here – I decided to go out on the 21st. Temps should also drop a few degrees between now and tomorrow.
This isn’t about a nude hike.
Surprise! (That didn’t happen until the 23rd.) Seriously, some of my hikes aren’t nude.
This is used to be part of Lake Piru. Notice the lack of water. It only gets water from Piru Creek, which depends on the water released from Pyramid Lake. To find water you have to go a mile downstream to the right. At this point, the creek is entirely underground. Welcome to the new reality in Southern California.
This road goes back and forth between National Forest property and that of different ranches it passes through. Not a good choice for freehiking.
This is a cowbird trap. A male and female cowbird are kept in it. This attracts other cowbirds which are not native to the area. Cowbirds are like cuckoos. They lay their eggs in the nests of other birds – up to 200 per year! Their chick hatches early. When any other chick hatches, they smother it, and then the parent bird raises it alone. There is food, water and shade provided and it is checked daily.
The road crosses back and forth across the creek where the water has been forced to the surface by underlying rock. A look north shows a shallow waterway lined with cattails. I noticed a bit of trailishness heading south, so I follow in to find a lovely sand-bottomed swimming hole. It is deep enough to jump and swim in. There are huge trout swimming in it.
I cross thru the water and immediately come across a ranch. There also happens to be another deer right there. There are NO TRESPASSING signs all over the place. According to the map and all the reviews I’ve read, this is supposed to be Whittaker Ranch, an abandoned “site.” Not an occupied working ranch. I quickly hike on by. Soon I come to a locked gate with more signs. Why is there a locked gate on what the map indicates is a public road? I probably have a legal right to continue hiking – this is the only route to the Agua Blanca trailhead. But this hiker is overly cautious, even when fully clothed, and I don’t want an argument. I turn back. Someday I’ll have to get legal clarification.
Out of the corner of my eye I catch a bit of trailishness so I follow it. Miles from anywhere, I think I’ve found a homeless camp. I’ve found them before, far from civilization.
These are called the “Wind Caves.” I guess when the wind is just right they make an eerie sound. The largest ones are big enough to sleep 3 or 4 people. There’s a geocache here but I’m too lazy to find it.
These are poison oak seedlings. The larger one has turned red due to dry conditions. Note the 3 leaflets that look vaguely like white oak. The entire plant contains an oil, urushiol, which most people are allergic to. If you touch it, be sure to wash it off with soapy water within a couple of hours. Failing that, use a wet wipe of some sort or use plain water and a natural soap alternative if you can find one. You can also get it from clothing and pet hair that has been exposed and not washed. Antihistamines, calamine, and hydrocortisone are effective treatments if you don’t wash in time.
Back at the parking area. It is also the trailhead for the Pothole Trail, which is another post.
I am finding these posts that are just photos and captions much easier to do.