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Old Man Mountain, Monte Arido

23 March 1996

By: Charlie Knapke

Leaders: Charlie Knapke, Alan Coles

These two peaks have not been kind to me. I've attempted to lead these peaks three separate times in the past. Each trip was over almost before it began. The first attempt was canceled because we could not cross the river. It had rained hard the day before and the normally quiescent stream 1/2 mile from the parking area was 5-6 feet deep and flowing briskly. The second attempt failed because it was 80° at 6:00 a.m. at the trailhead (not a good sign for these peaks). On the third attempt, I incorrectly listed the trip in the schedule as a two day trip - no participants. This time everything worked correctly.

We had two no-shows at the Matilija Lake trailhead but everyone else was prompt for the 6:00 a.m. start. We started up the paved road passing some houses where despite our attempts to be quiet, we were greeted vigorously by dogs and peacocks. We found the stream to be at its normal level and we walked across on the rocks without mishap. Soon after the stream, a trail branches to the left. We followed this trail up to a trail-camp and on up to where it rejoins the road (dirt now). Here the road climbs to the saddle at Murrieta Divide. After a short break, we turned right and followed the road north all the way to the summit of Monte Arido. Here the wind was howling. As we sought shelter on the lee side of the summit we discovered a case of military MRE's (meals ready to eat). The register shows a lot of helicopter crews from the navy had been there the previous few days.

We then hiked south along the road to the saddle north of Old Man Mtn. Here we left the road and traveled cross-country up to Old Man. The brush has been busy growing along this ridge. The normally easy route is now closed in spots requiring some bush-whacking. The register showed no signs of helicopter landings here. This is no surprise since Old Man has no broad summit or road-bed like Monte Arido.

We picked our way down to the road on the south side of the hill and retraced our steps back to the cars enjoying the site of the blooming Cienosis along the way.

The participants were Mark Adrian, Terry Flood, Cathy Reynolds, Don Borad, Rose Stein, Lois Olson, Howard Gross, & John Carna. I would like to thank Alan for his excellent assistance despite his having led this 24 mile 5100' gain death-march twice before!

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