Here is a little write up from our latest small family adventure here in California. On long weekends and school breaks we try to make it a point to go somewhere a little different then our usual same old, same old haunts. At first we had wanted to make a long day trip up north to hike, but after considering time, finances and Christmas holidays coming up we decided to find something a little closer to home this time.
Internet search to the rescue for some quick re planning and up pops the Los Padres National Forest. It’s about 1/2 hour drive north from Ojai, CA up the mountains. Now to me National Forest makes me think of tons of tall trees and well, a woodsy feel. Not so with this forest. It’s pretty dry, hilly and filled with brush. I am very happy we hiked in November, I imagine it being very hot in the summer.
As with any of our hiking adventures we try to learn as much about the area and trails as possible. With kids you need to be as prepared as you can. With that in mind we packed the jogger, water, snacks and a picnic lunch. There are picnic tables, outhouses and a small horse corral for those that bring their horsey friends at the beginning of the trail. We really let the kids lead the hike pace and duration, whiney grumpy kids equals whiney grumpy parents! Ain’t no one wanna spend their vacation that way. So instead of having a fast paced destination oriented hike, we plod along trying to keep the kids on the trail and enjoy some of the scenery.
No jogger accompanied us on this hike. The trail started off flat, but got hilly and narrow quickly. It wasn’t a difficult trail and our littles at 5 and 2 (& 8 months) were very easily able to keep up.
Rocky and hilly ground to climb
Various stages of the happy hikers. The trail certainly appealed to the whole family,
though the big boys would have liked to go off the trail and climb the big rocks
L: Three monkeys posing under the big rocks R: Hubbs keeping a close eye on those little adventurers
This little boy could not stop running, climbing, leaping and jumping!
It doesn’t look it, but that rock was taller than him! I may or may not have uttered
something shocking the first time he jumped. Brecks was a good little trooper and
walked/ran for about 3 miles, parents had to carry him the last mile out! Huff, puff, he’s getting heavy.
Azure asked ‘When can we go on another family trip?’ and was very happy with the mini adventure.
A little tired, but still in good spirits at the end of 4 miles.
There are a bunch of different trails in this area they don’t seem to be jogger friendly, but it’s pretty easy for the kiddies. Other families had small kids in tow and for being such a remote location, there were quite a few vehicles in the parking lot. Everyone working off that turkey dinner I guess. There is a $5.00 fee to use the area which we discovered when returning to the car. An envelope that you mail the fee to was on the windshield.
All said, I was very happy with this hike close-ish to home and enjoyed the fact that the trail was easy enough for the kids and that the weather wasn’t unbearably hot. I would love to visit this area again in the spring, maybe there are more greenery and colors to be seen. We also heard of a waterfall in this general area on another trail. So definitely more adventures to be had here.
So there is another family fun adventure to be had in our wonderful state! How did you spend your holidays?