Backpacking in the Chumash Wilderness Los Padres

7:35 p.m. on November 8, 2017 (EST)
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First post here, so first off, hello!

A couple of months ago, my wife and I went on a short backpacking trip in the Chumash Wilderness area of the Los Padres National Forest. We hit Mt. Pinos, Sawmill Peak, and Grouse Mountain before staying at Sheep Camp. It was a lot of fun and we made this video. Hope you enjoy!

Explore the Outdoors!

Pete & Lauren

Angeles Explorer(s)

10:56 a.m. on November 9, 2017 (EST)
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Explorer,

There are some really nice places around LA with very long hiking seasons.  This is a great one and I love to see the old ppines growing there.  I used to hike Icehouse Canyon in the winter on Mt Baldy and never saw anyone.  I would just be careful about broadcasting your secret spots, because there are a lot of people that may follow you out there.  Having a couple days of peace and quiet living in so Cal is very important. I used to go all the time when I lived there. 

I like the Los Padres a lot.  The desert is the other place in the winter to escape people. 

5:32 p.m. on November 9, 2017 (EST)
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ppine said:

Explorer,

There are some really nice places around LA with very long hiking seasons.  This is a great one and I love to see the old ppines growing there.  I used to hike Icehouse Canyon in the winter on Mt Baldy and never saw anyone.  I would just be careful about broadcasting your secret spots, because there are a lot of people that may follow you out there.  Having a couple days of peace and quiet living in so Cal is very important. I used to go all the time when I lived there. 

I like the Los Padres a lot.  The desert is the other place in the winter to escape people. 

 That's a good point! But so far we've only "found" places to go that other people have described online, so I am very appreciative that people share. But you're right about the hiking areas adjacent to Los Angeles. There are tons of people! That's why I venture up to the Los Padres.

1:30 a.m. on November 11, 2017 (EST)
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PPine:
I graduated from the Claremont Colleges in the early 1970s, located at the foot of Mt Baldy.  I hitchhiked from there on a regular basis to do overnighters in Ice Canyon.  Back then, as you should recall, Ice  House Canyon was lightly visited, but today much has changed.  Gone is the tavern whose dirt parking lot served the trailhead.  The now paved parking lot still serves the trail, but the venue is no longer a lightly used path; rather it is a major thoroughfare, with hundreds enjoying the walk on any given fair weather weekend.  But if one is willing to dry camp on the ridgeline above the canyon, one can still find privacy, not to mention spectacular night vistas of the city lights to the south and west.
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Pete & Lauren:

There are USGS area maps of the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains you can purchase as hard copy or download (PDF format).  I love using area maps to discover new venues.  There is lots of geography but relatively few trails in these mountains.  One can enjoy total seclusion if willing to bush whack.  I use these maps to identify potential venues, then counter check against 7.5' scale maps, verifying such details as water availability.  Start bush whacking by initially doing day hikes.  The goal here is perfecting special skills, such as determining the difficulty of traveling of various canyons - vast tracks are almost impenetrable due to dense thorny flora.  You also need to understand how seasonal influences affect streams; some streams are seasonal, regardless the maps show them as perpetual.  You will learn to predict which are which over time.  Also you will learn how to select and use a stick to flush potential snakes hiding on the far sides of logs or in cover adjacent to your next foot step, how to locate and exploit game trails, as well as other specialized skills for such terrain.  Lastly you will learn the local geology, its variations and how to discern it on the maps, facilitating your search for efficient routes, and benches and other flat spots for your camp.

Wherever you venture in these mountains I caution you keep a keen eye on the sky for smoke.  Wildfires can cover lots of ground quickly and be on top of you in a few hours regardless it originated in a different drainage miles away.  I have bailed on three occasions, once requiring us to abandon our gear and camp, such was the urgency.  (We were able to reclaim our gear a week later.) 

Ed

 

   

9:49 a.m. on November 11, 2017 (EST)
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Ed,

It saddens me to hear of the changes around So Cal.  I have the fondest memories of Yosemite, the Ortega Highway, living in Trabuco Cyn, Johsua Tree, Frazier Park in winter, the Los Padres and many others back when it was quiet.  I am reluctant to visit those places now.  I have not been back to Trabuco since I left in 1981 after hearing of 10,000 new houses on the nearby mesa and the new road. We used to backpack from the house without getting in a vehicle. 

I rode horses every day working as an independent consultant from the house. I lived in a log house built in 1918 with wood heat.  In the winter, temperatures were in the 20s a lot and the neigborhood smelled like wood smoke.  We could ride to the local Mexican restaurant and tie up our horses at the hitching post outside. The post office was the local meeting place. We would sit outside on benches and hear stories from old cowhands that used to take Mrs Irvine to town once a month in a wagon to buy groceries. 

9:55 a.m. on November 11, 2017 (EST)
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Oh such perfect weather!  I assuming you both have smartphones.  Download Avenza Maps and then create pdf maps on caltopo dot com.  Upload the maps to dropbox and transfer it to your phone.  The pdf maps in caltopo have the georeferencing data imbedded in the map and it can be accurately viewed off line through the Avenza app.  I've been using it recently and it works.  I have subscribed on caltopo and can print maps up to 13x19.  I generally use maps in the 1:24,000 ratio aspect.  Here's a screenshot with a 2016 Forest Service map:


Screenshot_20171111-080137.png

10:46 a.m. on November 11, 2017 (EST)
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If one desires solitude (and that would certainly include me) then producing a glossy video publicizing less known areas would be counter productive, at best....

 Southern California continues to grow, (I agree there are too many here; immigration should have been halted in Feb, 1985, right after I arrived) but there are still places with plenty of isolation.  one would be a large National Park in the area with very low overall visitation; its back country is ha rdly seen at all by visitors.  Don't expect me to blab and open the flood gates. If you want to find less visited areas, topo maps are your best tool; with your visit to Los Pinos etc. you have barely scratched the surface of Los Padres.  If you delve deeper into LP, turn off the friggin' video!

10:41 a.m. on November 12, 2017 (EST)
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Ed, 

Thank you for all of that information. We haven't as of yet gotten into bushwacking, but I'm sure that would be a great way to find new places with fewer people. I tend to use GPS, and another tool I use to check a route is Google Earth. Most areas are well photographed and it's got a good 3D representation of terrain. I usually carry Too Harrison maps as a backup. I will definitely look into your suggestions.

Rob R,

Thanks for the tip. I will check that app out.

Hikermor,

My wife and I were both born in Southern California, and I'm about three generations here. I enjoy sharing these videos and have no plans to stop. You must remember that all of the hikes that I do are not secret locations that I've personally scouted. They are well documented in books, on maps, and on websites (ie hikelospadres) long before I videoed them (and long before 1985 as well). And my videos are functionally no different than the hundreds of trip reports with dozens of beautiful photos that others post online (to my great appreciation).

I believe everyone has the right to enjoy these protected National resources. If it becomes an obscure activity that few people engage in, these lands will have no guarantee of continued protection. If solitude is what you're after, my opinion is that the more difficult hikes and outdoor activities will always offer solitude because they will be self-filtering. Also, trailheads located further from major metropolitan areas will see less traffic because they are just less convenient. Even the most popular hikes are pretty empty on weekdays. Just my opinion and thanks for the feedback.

6:22 a.m. on November 15, 2017 (EST)
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P&L:

Point of clarification: I have been planning trips to the BC for over 50 years.  I know the resources you currently use, but personally I find area maps to be better suited to initial trip research and planning.  Make the investment, they don't cost much!

When I mention area maps I mean maps that represent large swaths of geography.  The entire San Gabriel Mountain Range, for example, is printed by the USGS on two "breakfast table size" sheets of paper.  Area maps are far superior to any other format or media, when initially researching a trip.   I find hand held devices and computer screens too small, often capable of presenting only part of a trip on the screen at a time.  Likewise 7.5' USGS maps are great for detailing a plan, but a pain during the research stage as trips often cross into adjacent maps and that is a hassle... Harrison maps and similar products often cover fairly large areas, but they are not as detailed and often omit smaller streams and similar pertinent details.  JMO...

Ed

2:50 p.m. on November 15, 2017 (EST)
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Thanks Ed!

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