Pine Mountain Nature Hike on the Fall Equinox

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Photo: Erika Klohe

An intrepid band of nature hikers set off with Lanny and Rondia Kaufer on the Reyes Peak Trail on a surprisingly chilly 50° day atop Pine Mountain at 6900 ft. elevation. It was September 22, 2013, the Fall Equinox.  Having driven a little over an hour from warm, sunny, late-summer Ojai and the flatlands beyond, they felt like they had suddenly entered a new season in a different time zone in a strange and exotic land.

 

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As soon as they set foot on the trail they entered the Sespe Wilderness.

 

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Skirting the north side of Reyes Peak, they found themselves in the White Fir forest.

 

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Photo: Erika Klohe

A short while later, openings appeared in the forest to reveal the Cuyama Valley to the north.

 

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Photo: Erika Klohe

 The forest became a mix of Jeffrey, Ponderosa, and Sugar Pines along with the White Fir.

 

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There was even a lone Incense Cedar tree.

 

The White Fir saplings looked like Christmas trees which is exactly what they are.

 

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Looking up the trail, they could easily have been hiking in the southern Sierra Nevada.

 

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Just shy of their destination on the ridge, they learned about the dreaded Western Dwarf Mistletoe, pictured here sucking water and nutrients from a Jeffrey Pine.

 

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Photo: Erika Klohe

On the ridge, they gazed across the southern slope of Reyes Peak (elevation: 7514 ft.) at the Channel Islands.

 

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Photo: Erika Klohe

Looking east they saw Haddock Mountain (elevation: 7434 ft.)…..

 

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Photo: Erika Klohe

…..and to the south, clear skies afforded spectacular views of five Channel Islands. Shown here are Santa Cruz Island in the center with Santa Rosa a little beyond on the right.

I hope you enjoyed this virtual Nature Hike. Now, if you send an email to lanny@herbwalks.com I will send you a list of all the plants we identified, including common and scientific names and families.

Photos by Erika Klohe and Lanny Kaufer

 

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