Hey Morgan, may I inquire as to your exact route as a loop from Piedra Blanca? Is it really a loop or out-n-back? I'm rather familiar with the area, and there's quite a few "feral" trails that are utterly impassable after years of disuse and overgrowth, and that's not an exaggeration.
I haven't reviewed your gear list, I don't really get interested in that. But here's some wisdom:
- Animals: Yes, there's quite a few bears. But they're not like Yosemite bears, acclimated and expectant that people mean food. These are bears that want nothing to do with you and your camp smells. You are the worst thing in nature and they know it. So, hang your food off the ground but don't worry more than that. Don't bother with sprays and such. There are rattle snakes so be mindful. Mountain lions are around, I have never ever seen or heard one. But you find their scat. Just watch out if you are on the move after nightfall and the brush is tall with visibility low. Make noise. Camp will be fine, don't worry.
- Bushwhacking is nearly non-existent. The brush is prickly and unforgiving and will tear holes in UL materials, including your tender skin. So, don't try whacking your way around routes.
- Poison Oak is prevalent on the South/West sides of the major river/streams. If your route is along the Sespe toward the hot springs, you must watch out as it encroaches the trail. Bring Teknu! Rinse hands with cold water often.
- Don't worry about shelters, the weather is that mild and predictable. Just check NOAA or call the stations. I haven't done anything other than sleep out in my bag since I first started learning the area.
btw, you won't need the dri-ducks at all and they will get shredded. absolutely. I know how hard it is when we buy gear and look forward to using it. but that's not a piece of gear for these areas.
Look at Los Padres and most of our So Cal/Central Cal Wilderness as the best opportunity for UL. Because you need almost nothing and will be totally fine. Here's what my list looks like, I'm packed and out the door in an hour (food can take me longer):
Shorts or pants (I wear pants because of the Poison Oak)
Trail Runner and light socks with gaiters(or not)
Sun hat and sunglasses
sleeping pad (foam, even a thinlight depending on your personal sleep needs)
Puffy jacket (think Montbell Alpine Light in rating)
Change of socks
Knife (Mora full tang, light not fussy)
Bic lighter or striker
Pot and Stove and utensil and cup, etc (whatever you like)
Water for easy access
Water Tank for camp
Water Purification (I stick with a pump filter because of funk and sediment)
Whisky and Beer or decanted wine!!! (why else am I so light and minimal? to bring more beer!)
If you're staying at a hot spring or want to swim, bring a damned towel, it makes life better.
I feel like my post takes the fun out of UL Spreadsheets. But isn't the fun supposed to be on the trail?