Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Lockwood Valley to Pine Mtn Hike
Gene Marshal Piedra Blanca Nat'l Scenic Trail
Sespe Wilderness, Calif.
Aug. 2011

I have always wanted to do the Gene Marshal Trail in one big non-stop through hike. Judging from the topo map it will be one heck of a journey on foot. You start down in Lockwood Valley and climb a good 3000 feet up the backside of Pine Mountain to the top of Haddock Mountain. Then after catching your breathe you plunge 3000 down into Rose Valley and cross the Sespe River a handful of times. When you are sufficiently bedraggle you climb another 3200 feet to the tip top of Topa Topa Mtn. Hopefully your second wind has just about kicking in right there as you then have to descend 4700 feet down to the Ojai Valley. If everything goes as planned you pop out after 34-ish miles just outside of downtown Ojai.

There is no way I could do that in 24 hours right now. I am simply way too chubby and otherwise inclined to laziness these days. Instead I decided to scout out the approach to Haddock Mountain. I hoped to determine if this first big climb would be doable in a manageable amount of time. A 16.2 mile hike with an elevation gain of over 3000 isn't exactly a picnic. I figured it would serve as an adequate barometer of my performance and readiness to do the whole 30+ mile push. If I made it up then I would at least have a better understanding of the trail and the conditions for the real hike.

I had been warned that the trail may be "a little overgrown".

3 Miles in.

Back to camp just before sunset.


Lake Elisabeth, Calif.
Aug. 5, 2011

Cool thing #17 about being unemployed; International IPA Day! Ok so anyone can and obviously millions the world over do in fact enjoy Int'l IPA Day while being gainfully employed. The really cool thing about being unemployed however when Int'l IPA Day rolls around-- if you don't have to get up the next morning or the next week and someone else is footing the bill it is so much more enjoyable. You are free to imbibe without an early morning hanging over your head or worry about eating through or in this case drinking through your rather meager bank account.

The Soldiers.