My first hike of 2011 was the Aliso Canyon Loop in the Los Padres National Forest. It is exactly 45 miles from my front door in the beautiful Santa Ynez Recreation Area. The day was beautiful and I was the only one on the trail that I could see. My trip started with a stop at the Rangers Station to pick up my yearly Adventure Pass. I know most people bristle at paying for this but I felt good doing so. Think about it, it cost over $60 for a day at Disneyland and only $30 for a years pass to one of the best hiking, camping, and outdoor space in the whole country.
The trail is 3.5 miles long and the first mile on the interactive part was a fun up and down hike crossing the Aliso creek several times. I was checking that part out to see if I would take my family on Martin Luther King Day but most of the trial is too tough for my little ones, maybe next year. Once you get done with the first mile get ready for the tough part. When the guide says you will ascend 700 feet it means that it will happen almost all at once. The back part of the trail was my favorite for its beauty and serenity. The trail was still wet and the clay stuck to my shoes which made it slippier and heavier but not dangerous at all.
Once you get towards the top you get some awesome views. Be careful though because if you have your cell phone your service will come back on and my phone started ringing and texting. I took my iPhone to listen to music while I hiked. I got some great photos that I will post later. The ridge walk was amazing and the views were so clear on a warm wind free day. After one last jaunt up you walk for awhile on the ridge then you start your descent. The descent was a bummer because you know you are almost done and at points can be hard on your ankles. No place is really difficult or dangerous if you are watching where you are going just stressful from the impact of the steepness.
Once you join back up with the interactive trail you cross the creek several times and that ended up being my most memorable. It took me back t the time when I was a boy and we would go up to Bouquet Canyon and go hiking. I am looking forward to more hikes in the area. I am taking my Mountain Bike next week so I can cross the river to get to Red Rock. There is 18 inches of water right now which means I can’t drive my truck over but it also keeps the drunks out of the area as well. Should be awesome. Will post about that next week.