California Poppies Along the Lower Stagecoach Trail

California Poppies Along the Lower Stagecoach Trail above Corriganville in Simi Valley

Rounded a corner on the Lower Stagecoach Trail, above Corriganville, and was suddenly immersed in a sea of orange.

The area was burned in a potentially dangerous fire, the Peak Fire, that started along the 118 Frwy on November 12, 2018, while the Woolsey Fire was still being fought. The fire threatened homes in the eastern Simi Valley and Box Canyon, but was aggressively attacked by firefighters and quickly knocked down.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Downtown Los Angeles Rainfall Surpasses Normal Rain Year Total

Rainbow at Ahmanson Ranch a few months after the Woolsey Fire.

Yesterday’s atmospheric river event increased the rainfall total for Downtown Los Angeles (USC) since July 1 to 15.50 inches, surpassing the normal annual Rain Year total of 14.93 inches. Last year, as of February 14, Los Angeles had only recorded 1.97 inches of rain.

As a result of all the wet weather, we’ve also been much cooler this December – February than last year. Since December 1 the average high at Downtown Los Angeles has been more than 7 degrees cooler than last year.

The Climate Prediction Center has just issued an El Nino Advisory for the presence of weak El Nino conditions in the equatorial Pacific. However, it is the interaction of the ocean and atmosphere that matters, and the atmosphere is behaving as if stronger El Nino conditions are present.

For the date, Los Angeles rainfall is at about 165% of normal and there’s still more than two months left in the rain season. We’ll see if the wet trend continues!

The title photo is from a  recent run at Ahmanson Ranch. This open space area was burned in the November 2018 Woolsey Fire.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Sage Ranch Shooting Stars

Shooting stars (Dodecatheon clevelandii ssp. patulum) at Sage Ranch Park.

Shooting stars (Dodecatheon clevelandii ssp. patulum) love wet weather, but produce capsules that help protect their seeds should the weather turn suddenly dry.

These shooting stars are on a new section of the Loop Trail at Sage Ranch Park. The Loop Trail was rerouted due to the ongoing cleanup at the Santa Susana Field Lab.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Running and Riding at Ahmanson Ranch

Mountain bikers climbing a small hill at Ahmanson Ranch

Out at Ahmanson the other day I happen to run into the same group of mountain bikers twice, and both times was on hills. One time was on the easy hill pictured above and the other was on a hill named “The Beast” by 70’s era cross-country runners.

The Beast climbs up to Lasky Mesa from East Las Virgenes Canyon. The turn (south) off of East Las Virgenes Canyon Road to the Beast is about 2.25 miles from the Victory Trailhead and 0.7 miles from the Las Virgenes Trailhead. A short descent leads down a dirt service road to the start of the hill. The climb is about 0.8 mile long and has an average grade of around 9%-10%. Here’s the Strava run segment and ride segment for the climb.

Riders were much faster than runners on this short uphill. The average speed of the top rider was about 1.5 times faster than the top runner. The fastest rider did the Beast in 4:34 and the fastest runner in 6:49. The top 10 riders averaged 5:19 up the hill and the top 10 runners 7:36.

On this moderate hill the bike’s mechanical advantage and efficiency more than make up for its weight.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Ceanothus at Sunrise

Bigpod Ceanothus in Topanga State Park

Bigpod Ceanothus is normally the first of the Ceanothus species in the Santa Monica Mountains to bloom each year. It is a foundation species in the range and can be found along most trails. These were along Fire Road 30 (Temescal Ridge Fire Road) near the beginning of a run to Trippet Ranch.

In some years it seems every shrub in the chaparral is a big pod Ceanothus and the hillsides are carpeted in white. Along a trail thick with the blossoms you may notice a subtle earthy fragrance with a spicy edge. On that same trail in the Summer, you may be startled by a loud “Pop!” when a heated pod explodes, releasing its seeds.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Images taken on trail runs, and other adventures, in the Open Space and Wilderness areas of California, and beyond. All content, including photography, is Copyright © 2006-2019 Gary Valle. All Rights Reserved.