Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Black Friday

Black Friday
Surfer's Point
Ventura, Calif.
Nov. 2011

The malls and big block stores may have been crowded from midnight onward as people pepper-sprayed there way to gorge on rampant consumerism. Thankfully $200 flat screen TVs made by 8 year olds in China kept the wackos off the beach and out of the line up. Always have to find the bright side.

Walk in.


Ventuckey, Calif.
Nov. 2011

Climbed the hill, parked on the bench, watched the sunset sink below the islands. Brilliant.


Day Hike

Day Hike
Reyes Peak>Haddock Peak>Piedra Blanca; 16.5 miles
Sespe Wilderness, Calif.

Nov. 2011

For some places in SoCal fall is well underway. You would never know it by the 80 degree heat, flush palm trees, and the the tiny bikinis here at the beach. Head up into the mountains and it is a different story. Already the mountains have seen record lows, incredible high velocity winds, and even a few snow storms. With winter threatening to close most of the access roads and trail heads to the mountains we ventured out for one last epic hike, one last hurrah.

I was feeling a little under the weather so to speak so we pushed off a few days later then anticipated. This was actually a blessing really. The day we had originally planned on tackling this walk saw temps pushing well into the low 80s int he backcountry, it would have been murder. When we woke up with the sunrise temps were a brutal 30 degrees. The clean fresh mountain air cut through our multiple layers of high-tech modern day active wear. Every bone in my body was screaming to crawl back into my warm sleeping bag and call it a day. Somehow we got dressed and chipped away some ice for coffee.
Finally with some warmth in my belly I woke up Sparky. As his bushy sleep-deprived head popped out of the tent like a whack-a-mole on downers you could easily tell he was thinking the same thoughts as I-- screw this. Only Tessie was excited to start the day. She was jumping around bouncing off of pine trees trying her best to get Sparky and I motivated and on the trail. Eventually we got moving. Thankfully.

Despite our early morning reluctance the walk was a brilliant adventure. The first section up to Haddock peak is an amazing ridge line walk. We were covered in old-growth Pinon Pines the entire way. The footpath was covered in a deep carpet of dried red pine nettles. Huge grotesque sandstone boulders, carved by the wind and rain jutted up along the ridge line. The views were expensive and rewarding. From the ridge you have uninterrupted views almost down towards the beaches of Ventura and the backcountry of Santa Barbara. Despite my upset stomach we made good time early and reached the summit of Haddock in short order. From there the punishment began in earnest.

We climbed a few miles down to meet up with the Gene Marshal- Piedra Blanca Nat'l Recreation Trail. The climb down was choked with sharp brambles, incredibly painful as we shredded forward. Once we hooked up with the Gene Marshal the trail leveled out for a bit. We followed a meandering river down through the valley. Surrounded by the bright yellows, crisp reds, and vibrant oranges of fall it was easy to get lost in blissful thoughts. The serenity ended abruptly when we hit the Rollercoaster. The name is well deserved. The Rollercoaster marks a back-breaking section of trail with incredibly steep ups and downs with no break. Up up up, suck air, bitch, moan, up up up, suck air, down down down, up up up, consider possibility of taking a nap, up up up, suck air, down down down, praise Jesus, up up up, I spoke too soon, up up up, suck air, curse the hills, down down down, and well you get the point. Sparky blazed through with ease. I wasn't so lucky and slowed considerably.

Eventually though I tumbled into Pine Mountain Lodge camp and plopped down next to the stream for a quick break.
Pine Mountain Lodge is a little misleading as there is no lodge, not even a coffee service waiting for us. I was a little perturbed. A latte and maybe a spa treatment or at least a cold beer and a hut tub would have been a nice treat at this point. No such luck. Thankfully getting to this camp was my biggest concern. The difficult climbs and gut busting sections were behind us. From here to the Sespe River it was all down hill. Literally. Seven miles of downhill without a break. It would be grueling in its own right but at least it wasn't the Rollercoaster. I was soaking up the gentle sunshine enjoying the afternoon while Sparky impatiently hopped around and huffed and puffed to get me going again. After an all together too short of a break we set out yet for the home stretch. After about 20 minutes I was over the downhill crap. It was unpleasantly steep and loosely packed sand and gravel. A few times I thought my knees would end up lodged in my throat.

The temps barely made it above 55 all day, cooler in the shade. It was predicted to be in the 20s after sunset. Tired and soaked with 6 hours of sweat this was not a pleasant thought. We were chasing the setting sun and had no interest in getting caught in the cold dark. We motored on. My knees and ankles screamed in protest at the fast pace but we kept on. Eventually we made it to Piedra Blanca and admired a brilliant sunset to the west. The car was only a few short miles away. Reinvigorated by the end of the downhill we cruised over to Lion's Camp and the refuge of the car. We beat the setting sun by about 20 minutes.

16.5 miles of brutal but amazing walking in 8 hours. Not bad for a chubby old man. Not bad for a Thursday.
Can't wait to go again.




Sunday, November 13, 2011

Refill Shoppe

Refill Shoppe
Main St., Ventura
Fall 2011

The newly minted Bickfords hit up the left coast for a lazy weekend. They swung through Ventuckey for an afternoon to check out new sights and revisit old haunts. We stopped by our friends shop for the afternoon. If you haven't been by the Refill Shoppe on Main Street you are missing out. The Refill Shoppe is an eco-conscious store challenging the standards of consumerism by offering quality bath, body, home and cleaning liquids in bulk. By allowing you to refill your own bottle you can do your part to reduce waste in a fun way! You can even add custom mixed scents to your soap, lotion, oils, cleaning supplies, etc. Its a pretty rad idea everyone should check out!

Custom Scents.


Vice Vickford refills his favorite lavender white chocolate message oil.

The Old Gang.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Fall 2011

Dude, pie. Fall is here and in the Toothless Hippy household that means cheesecake-- Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie to be exact. Yah I know, I rock.


Last Slice.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival
San Francisco, Calif.
Oct. 2011

3 days, City by the Bay, 6 stages, 100+ bands, 600k spectators. I'm not sure where to even begin.

Mother Hips.


1st Hips show!


After party, (Tessie snuck in).