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central and southern bpl ers checking interrest in some spring/summer trips
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kevin smith
central and southern bpl ers checking interrest in some spring/summer trips on 03/15/2011 14:30:45 MDT Print View

i was chatting with jumpback jack today and happened to mention we should try and

host a central and southern ca bpl hike and see if there is any interrest

jack and i both attend trips with the bay area bpl ers and they are all fantastic people however we usually end up driving 3-1/2 to 6 hrs to go on thier trips

because we are located it cental ca (bakersfield) nothing against the long drives but we were thinking why couldn t we host a trip for the central and souther bpl ers

so we are inviting all central ca and southern ca bpl ers to chime in and lets see if we can get a trip together jack and i will handle securing a site/permit/whatever else we need to have to make it happen

maybe we can get a spring trip in the southern region and if that turns out good head for the sierras for a summer trip

all suggestions and comments are welcome come on guys hiking season is almost here lol

let us know what everyone thinks


Edited by divr6347 on 03/15/2011 14:32:26 MDT.

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Southern/Central CA BPL trip on 03/15/2011 17:47:21 MDT Print View

I'd be interested...

The Henry Coe trip sounded like fun but was a long haul for a short weekend trip. Something like it closer to home could probably persuade me to attend.

As far as locations, much of the Los Padres is accessible and hikable right now. No permits needed for most of it. Of course, finding a campsite big enough could be a challenge. But there's a few I can think of around the SB/Ventura backcountry depending upon how far folks wanted to hike.

Please keep me posted.

- Nick

Aaron Benson
(AaronMB) - F

Locale: Central Valley California
From Fresno... on 03/15/2011 18:14:57 MDT Print View

The Aerins (Aaron & Erin) went to the Henry Coe gathering and had a great time. It was about 3 hours from Fresno, which worked out well for a short weekend.
We'd definitely be interested in getting a bit south for a gathering, but wouldn't venture south of the Grapevine.

I'll be keeping an eye on this thread!

kevin smith
destination on 03/17/2011 13:56:33 MDT Print View

i know nothing about this area but the trail is 17 miles long and lined with campsites along the way so you can hike as far as you want and choose a site when you get ready looks like water would not be an issue however im guessing it gets hot there later in the year

any thoughts ??


Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Sespe River on 03/17/2011 15:15:57 MDT Print View

Hi Kevin,

There's some nice sites along the Sespe, some of which are probably big enough to accomodate a large group. Bear Creek being one, Willett Hot Springs being another (the famous Sespe Hot Springs are a ways farther in).

Bear Creek is a big sandy flat area under some alders/sycamore/cottonwoods. The river is nearby. It's a popular campsite with the scout troops and there's enough sandy areas in the vicinity to hold quite a few camps. Willett is a little ways up off the River. It's got a couple of old cabins that some of the old timers still use. Lots of room for tents, etc., just a little less scenic than Bear Creek. There's a spring that thay may or may not be running in the camp and up a nearby canyon there's a natural hot spring that's piped into a big round trough to make a pool for soaking.

Plenty of parking at the Piedra Blanca Trailhead parking lot. No official permits needed other than a campfire permit (free from LPNF) and an Adventure Pass to park your car in the lot ($5/day or $30/yr).

The Sespe will have lots of water in it through spring and there's some good swimming holes along the river. It gets HOT(!!!!!) as you get later into the year... I personally don't really venture back there after May.

Other possible ideas would be somewhere up around Pine Mountain, where folks could access it via Hwy 33 from the coast or inland from the 5/33, or somewhere along the Sisquoc River (like Manzana Schoolhouse or South Fork Station), both of which could be accessed from routes out of Cuyama area or from the Santa Ynez side. Some of the trails to the Sisquoc sites might be a bit more adventurous though (i.e., not as well maintained/heavily traveled).

Anyway, just thought I'd give you some feedback on the Sespe suggestion.



kevin smith
sespe on 03/17/2011 15:32:46 MDT Print View


thanks for the advice on the sespe im thinking if everyone would be up for it
we could plan this trip for end of april or beginning of may it looks like after then it will be hot and miserable

it does look like a good weekend trip and fairly close to home


Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
Socal BPL on 03/17/2011 16:05:50 MDT Print View

Nah. I prefer to drive 7 hours. Kidding! I'm in.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Socal BPL on 03/17/2011 16:59:27 MDT Print View

'bout time. Shoot I had to drive 7+ hours this year. Need to do a FarNorCal, Southern Oregon trip too. Kevin and Jack. Go for it. Plenty of BPLrs down south. I would love to see more regional gatherings. Maybe a BPL traveling show could be next...

Cache Creek should be easier accessibility for more folks next year...

Plenty of good places to hold one down south too.

Rob Vandiver

Locale: So Cal
So Cal BLPers on 03/17/2011 17:12:21 MDT Print View

Sounds like a hoot! Count me in on anything south of Frisco.

David Lutz

Locale: Bay Area
"central and southern bpl ers checking interrest in some spring/summer trips" on 03/17/2011 17:59:17 MDT Print View

Be sure to treat the water.....


kevin smith
so cal trip on 03/17/2011 18:02:18 MDT Print View


i was wondering when you would chime in maybe jerry will be up for it too we will see

the trip is shaping up any dates that work good for anyone in the next two months??

we will announce an official destination and date after we have some more input on what works for everyone

for the aarons
are you aaron and erin up for a hike in the ojai area or would this be too far for you guys ?? if you could just get to bakersfield we could carpool from there if needed its not that far from here

let me know


kevin smith
david wage ?? on 03/17/2011 18:05:38 MDT Print View

david wage ??

interrested or too far for you ??


Jerry Bridgeman
(jerry2636) - MLife

Locale: Huntington Beach, Ca.
BPL South Cal Meet on 03/18/2011 09:09:38 MDT Print View

I will go.

Please add to the first post with latest location and time so I know the "offical info".


Aaron Benson
(AaronMB) - F

Locale: Central Valley California
Ojai on 03/18/2011 09:36:21 MDT Print View

Kevin - Thanks for the consideration. Thanks for the carpool offer, too; we appreciate it.

Looking at a rough [Google] map online of the Ojai area, the northern section seems to be in the 3 hour time range and the southern, closer to 4 hours? Of course, we much prefer something closer to 3 hours, simply because of tight schedules (and Grad' homework for me). But it is just "two" of us and can make another trip at another time if this one doesn't work out.

kevin smith
ojai on 03/18/2011 10:15:01 MDT Print View

hey Aaron

thanks for the reply

from where jack and i live we would be able to get to the trailhead via the north side of hwy 33 its about 1 hr 15 minutes from here we would take hwy 166 west to hwy 33 and go south about 35 miles so from fresno it would probably be 3 hrs 15 minutes

i will post an update with all the info after i talk it over with jack and call the ranger district to get info on parking and trail/creek conditions

right now i think the best option is to leave from the piedra blanca trailhead

and hike toward bear creek campground i will ask the rangers about the best options and go from there

also forgot to mention if any of the bay area bpl ers want to go and are willing to drive /carpool let us know

update comming soon

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Sespe! on 03/19/2011 13:20:02 MDT Print View

Couple of photos of a Sespe swimming hole to help pique some interest!

Sespe Creek

Sespe Creek at Sunset

Edited by NickB on 03/19/2011 13:25:29 MDT.

kevin smith
update on 03/20/2011 20:42:33 MDT Print View

ok guys i talked to the ranger station in ojai on friday

they were really cool and encouraged me to come out and take the trip they said it is usually nice out there at the end of april

there are no bear canisters required and no wilderness permits however every vehicle must have an adventure pass in the window in able to park overnight at the trail head these are $5 per day or $35 for a 1 yr pass the passes are availible at the ojai ranger station which is open 8 am to 4-30 pm weekdays
the other option is to go to fraizer park and get one from the mt pinos ranger station
or any of the stores/mini marts in the town of fraizer park have them

they basically told me we can camp anywhere we wish along the trail as long as we do not venture a long ways off the trail and camp on undissturbed terrain

fires are allowed and wood gathering is not a problem but we will need a campfire permit which i will download and print before the trip

fishing is allowed however it is all catch and release and a barbless hook rule is in effect for the sespe

the ranger at mt pinos station told me that if we were to park at the reyes creek campground and catch the piedra blanca trailhead from there that thereare no adventure passes required for vehicles parked overnight he then proceded to tell me that the trailhead leaving from that side has most of the climbing on it
so i think the lions campground side would be a better entry point
we will have to cross the sespe at least twice so zip off pants and tevas may be in order but the ranger told me it is usually not more than calf high at the sections where you have to cross so i guess we will see

as to a date what does everyone think about april 29 th thru may 1 st
i know its kind of short notice but those dates might work good because it will still be nice out there and not too hot everyone please chime in and let me know if it works for you hopefully it will

i will post a list of attendees and a definate date with the trip location and dates after i hear back from everyone it looks like it will be a nice spring trip with great views of the local mountain range so im looking foward to it

lets make this happen guys


Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: update on 03/20/2011 20:58:14 MDT Print View

Good job Kevin. I hope it is a great success!

kevin smith
thanks on 03/20/2011 21:30:17 MDT Print View

thanks ken

hopefully this will be the kickoff to some more great central area bpl trips

keeping my fingers crossed !!


Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Adventure Pass and other odds and ends... on 03/20/2011 22:15:02 MDT Print View

Good job Kevin.

Just to add a few more things...

As I recall, there's at least one or two creek crossings between the trailhead and Bear Creek. The river crossings are typically in the shin to just-over knee deep range if there hasn't been a lot of recent rain. It's usually so hot and dry out there though that I just walk right through and my shoes dry pretty quickly on the other side. The bottom of the river is all cobbles and boulders, so barefoot crossings are no fun.

The trail itself is an old dirt road for most of the way, now closed to all wheeled vehicles as part of the wilderness designation. If folks come in at different times, it will be no problem for them to follow it on their own. It's well maintained and heavily traveled by LPNF standards.

The Bear Creek Campground isn't signed but there's a couple of fire rings in an area of a sandy clearing. The trail goes right through it. It's about 4.3 miles in from the Piedra Blanca parking lot/trailhead, right at the confluence of Bear Canyon.

If folks want to get a map of the area, Tom Harrison Maps has a good map of the Sespe Wilderness.

Almost the entire Sespe area burned in the 2006 Day Fire. The area is coming back nicely but be prepared for vistas dominated by evidence of fire. The riparian corridor along the river will be green and lush though.

One positive outcome of all of our recent fires... firewood is in great abundance all through the LPNF! No need to carry that stuff in, just collect in camp.

The Piedra Blanca/Lions Trailhead is a significantly shorter walk compared to leaving from Reyes Creek area. It's worth the $5 parking fee. The trailhead has lots of parking and restrooms. Maybe water too... can't remember, but if not, the first river crossing is almost right after leaving the parking lot. To get to the trailhead, turn off of Hwy 33 onto Rose Valley Road. Follow the main road until it ends at the trailhead parking lot, probably about 6 miles in.

If folks have extra time, the rock formations just north of the parking lot that give the area its name (Piedras Blancas) is worth taking a couple of hours to go explore. They're HUGE sandstone monoliths with lots of caves, crags, etc. Very cool! There's a few spots with evidence of Native American habitation in the area.

Adventure Passes can be had at certain sporting good stores in the area as well. You'll have to check the LPNF website, but they usually sell the passes at places like Sport Chalet, Big 5 Sporting Goods, etc. These places might be easier to get to than the LPNF offices or ranger stations which keep odd hours. Also, if folks already have an annual adventure pass (required for the LPNF along with the Angeles, San Bernadino, and Cleveland National Forests), they can buy a second annual pass for $5. Also, if folks already have the annual inter agency pass (for the National Parks, etc.), I believe that will cover you for parking in the LPNF as well.

Late April/early May is a nice time out there. Plenty of water still, probably some wildflowers hanging on and the weather is warm enough for a swim!

Edited by NickB on 03/20/2011 22:22:55 MDT.