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Backpacking in Los Padres National Forest


Permalink 01:45:08 am, by fumanchu Email , 545 words   English (US)
Categories: General, Photography

Backpacking in Los Padres National Forest

Ryan (my fellow IT worker), Chris (his girlfriend), and I took a well-deserved five days and went backpacking on the Pine Ridge Trail in the Los Padres National Forest (Ventana Wilderness).

On Thursday, we left San Diego at 1:00 AM so that we could get a full day's hiking in. It's over 10 miles to Sykes Camp, plenty of time to reacquaint oneself with California's gorgeous trees:

Twisted trees on the Pine Ridge trail Entwined trees on the Pine Ridge trail Tall dark trees in a deep canyon

Once we arrived at Sykes, we partook of the hot springs. Here's Chris standing in a very small one:

Chris standing in a hot spring

The next day, we didn't move camp—just wandered up the Big Sur River in search of cool things. We found quite a lot of them, but I don't have any pictures to show you, and I probably would hide them from you if I had any. No sense making such a fantastic place too popular. Ryan found a turtle, maybe this pic will tide you over:

Floyd the turtle on Ryan's head

Saturday, we decided to hike on over to Cienega Camp, which sits above the North Fork of the Big Sur River. Here's a panorama of the North Fork valley:

Panorama of the Big Sur North Fork valley

That day...wasn't the best. Cienega is six miles away from Sykes, but the last three miles are a tough fight through thick brush. Wear pants if you ever try it. I didn't. ;) Once we got there, we found Cienega to be little more than a wide spot in the trail, so we turned around and backtracked the three miles to Redwood Creek Camp, which was much nicer:

Wall of redwoods at Redwood Creek Camp

Deep shot of redwoods

In the second picture, I hope you can see that the forest floor is a long way down. The "small" trees in the gaps are the same size as the near trees, just much further away.

Sunday, we continued our return trip, this time passing Sykes and stopping for the night at Barlow Flats Camp. Once there, Ryan and I decided to wade down the Big Sur River. I wanted to see the point where Logwood Creek fed out into the river, and once there, I cajoled Ryan into scrambling up its whole length until it rejoined the trail. Sure glad we did; this waterfall was 20 feet high, and fed into a pool at least 20 feet deep:

20 foot waterfall

This is only one of the many cool waterfalls we navigated on our way up.

In Barlow Flats Camp, unlike the other camps, the nearly-full moon was visible, and astoundingly bright. I spent a lot of time trying to get the perfect moon shots:

Moon behind a deciduous leaf Moon and Big Sur River

On Monday, we headed back to the parking lot, having traveled about 40 miles in all. Here's a last pic of the trail which I particularly liked, due to its spiral structure:

Trail with hint of a spiral

We left the park about 1:30 PM, stopped for pizza in Monterey, and tried to head home. After road closures, rain, flash floods, accidents, wrong turns, and too many leftover snacks, we hit San Diego about midnight! But I got a neat picture of the moon over Tehachapi. Note that, for all of these moon pictures, I used anywhere from a 4 to 15 second exposure, and never had a tripod—just me holding the camera as steady as I could.

Moon over Tehachapi, CA

To Dan, I just have to say, we should have gone to Los Padres instead of Kern last month. ;)


Comment from: Cairns Logo Girl [Visitor] · http://cairnslogo.com.au/

Hey there, no pictures coming up? I'm on Mozilla Firefox. Interesting read though!

06/21/10 @ 19:27
Comment from: Waterfall Pictures [Visitor] Email · http://www.forestwander.com/waterfalls

There aren't any pictures, just captions. Any way this reads like it would be a great place to visit. Hopefully you can get some pictures posted soon.

04/22/11 @ 15:07
Comment from: John Vantine [Visitor] · http://johnvantine.com

I wish the photos worked. Thanks for sharing though, planning a similar trip in oct/nov.

08/20/12 @ 18:34

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