Leaders: Joe Young, Stag Brown
On Saturday morning, 45 hikers met at the Woodland Hills carpool point for a drive through Ojai on Highway 33 to Beaver CG, about 15 miles north of Ojai on Highway 33. On the way, I stopped off at the Forest Service Ranger Station in Ojai to pick up the combination to the lock at the Nordhoff Ridge Road gate at Rose Valley CG. When we assembled at Beaver CG, claiming about half the sites for our campout that night, some of the hikers had gotten lost. We reorganized into carpools for the drive to the roadhead for Reyes.
At 10:30AM we began the caravan, joined by one latecomer. We were flattered by the presence of two of the Angeles Chapter's hiking legends, Randy Bernard and Bill T. Russell. At 11:35AM we began the hike to Reyes (Stag leading) and gained the summit in a half hour. We celebrated Roy Stewart's 200th peak on Reyes. We then followed Stag to Haddock, picking up an additional hiker en route who had become lost while driving but had found her way to the roadhead and had started hiking on her own.
Hiking in very pleasant weather, we arrived at Haddock for a brief rest, returning to the cars at about 5:00PM. Some of the group checked out immediately; others returned to Beaver CG and left the group there. After some more shuffling around, about twenty of us drove down to Ojai and picnicked. Then we attended the Ojai Music Festival's evening performance at 8:00PM. After the concert we paused for libations at the Firebird Restaurant.
After a pleasant evening we rose early and left camp at 7:30AM, heading north on Highway 33 to the turnoff to the Ortegas, where we collected a couple of hikers. At the roadhead, we added Laura Webb and then twenty-nine of us proceeded to brushy Ortega Hill, which has not yet fully returned to its pre-fire inpenetrability. After a brief stay we headed back up the road toward Ortega Peak. We traveled through some brush and over a narrow ridge to arrive at the summit in mid-morning. We returned to the cars at about 11:45AM.
At that point we returned one last time to Beaver CG and partied for about an hour. We then headed to Rose Valley CG and shuffled bodies into the fleet of four wheel and/or high clearance vehicles.
The gate at the beginning of the Nordhoff Road was open, but when we tried out the combination provided to me by the Forest Service, it didn't work. We were concerned that although we could get onto the ridge road, on return we might be locked in. Luckily a ranger came by and changed the combination to a new setting and told us the correct combination to use later on. So the fleet headed off to the take-off point for Chief. Along the way we encountered Frank Dobos and Ruth Lee Brown hiking back from Chief.
We followed John Backus' write-up, but I found that when hiking towards Chief, one should hike over the first bump and almost to the base of the rock outcropping, then scramble through light brush to the right where the outcropping is easily reached. There are ducks leading (south) to a point below the outcropping which takes one unnecessarily out of the way.
After a brief stay on the chilly, breezy summit we returned to our vehicles and proceeded to the bonus peak: Hines. Twenty-five hikers then edged their way over the narrow ridge at the base of Hines and scrambled up the steep slopes to the summit, the first arriving in about 35 minutes. After a short stay Stag, racing with Bobcat Thompson, led the group quickly down the slope to the cars, the last arriving after 5:00PM. Everybody proceeded out to the Rose Valley CG and many reconvened after I locked the gate. Twelve of us met at a restaurant in Ojai for even more post hike revelry.
It had been a long weekend with a lot of starts and stops, packing and repacking, driving and hiking. Most people seemed to have fun and I think the music festival attendees enjoyed themselves at the concert. The idea of sandwiching cultural activities between hiking events is a bit unusual, but some participants expressed interest in doing something like this again sometime. Perhaps Stag and I will consider this when we plan next year's "Eighth Annual First Sunday in June Hike with Stag" - doo dah, doo dah.