Nature Hike to Potrero John Camp @ Maricopa Plaza for carpool
Jul 2 @ 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Hikers entering Potrero John Gorge. Photo by Jill Forman

Please join me and a friendly group of like-minded learners and lovers of the outdoors for a Nature Hike to Potrero John Camp deep in the Sespe Wilderness of the Los Padres National Forest on Sunday, July 2.

The hike will take place on Potrero John Creek, 20 miles north of Ojai. We will cover 1.7 miles each way on a mostly level trail with some elevation gain through chaparral and riparian settings, beginning at 3700 feet. Our destination is a (bring-your-own) lunch stop in the shade of large oak at Potrero John Camp.

The focus, as usual, will be on identifying both useful and poisonous wild plants and learning about the many ways that they have been used by the Chumash people, herbalists, campers, and gardeners for food, medicine, wildcrafting, survival, landscaping and more. We’ll also look for birds, butterflies and other wildlife. Discussion will include the ecology of the southern Los Padres National Forest, traditional and modern methods of sustainable foraging, and resource conservation, among other topics generated by the participants’ interests.

Lanny teaching on the trail to Potrero John Camp. Photo: Rondia Kaufer

This hike is presented under a Special Use Permit from the Ojai Ranger District Office of the U.S. Forest Service designed for guides who provide recreational and interpretive services to the public.

The day will begin with a carpool from the Maricopa Plaza parking lot in Ojai at 9:00 am and return there by 4 pm. The cost is $25 for adults,  $20 for seniors 62 and older, and $15 for students 13-18.  Kids 5-12 can go free, with one per adult, by prior arrangement. Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. Toddlers must be in a carrier. No dogs or smoking, please.

Register at the link below or by calling 805-646-6281. You will receive a confirmation email with all necessary info. No pre-payment is required, just your promise to let us know as soon as possible if your plans have to change.

(The background photo for this website was taken in the gorge at the mouth of Potrero John Canyon.)

PLEASE NOTE: Light rain will not cancel. Heavy rain or thunderstorms will. Once you register you will receive weather updates.


Arroyo Hondo Herb Walk @ Street parking on Hope Ave. for carpool
Jul 15 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Hollister Meadow at Arroyo Hondo Preserve. Photo by James Wapotich.

I was introduced to this beautiful coastal location by writer and hiking guide James Wapotich who says “Arroyo Hondo is considered by many to be the jewel of the Gaviota Coast.” The preserve is managed by The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County. The Arroyo Hondo Preserve features a year-round creek surrounded by coastal chaparral and grassland. It is where the Chumash village of Tuxmu was once located.

Photo by James Wapotich

We’ll start with a 2-stage carpool. First, at 8 a.m., those of us in Ojai will meet at Maricopa Plaza to carpool to 23 S. Hope Avenue in Santa Barbara where we will meet the Santa Barbara, Ventura, and other contingents. Then at 9 a.m. we’ll carpool from there about 30 minutes up the coast to Arroyo Hondo Preserve. All carpools are optional.

The plant diversity there is exceptional. In the creekside riparian habitat we’ll see a wide array of Southern California native trees including White Alder, California Bay, Blue Elderberry and Bigleaf Maple among others. The creek is also home to California Newts.

Under the canopy we’ll look for Giant Horsetail, Humboldt Lily, Fuchsia-Flowered Gooseberry, Stream Orchid, Hummingbird Sage, and Giant Chain Ferns. In the sunnier chaparral areas Toyon, Black Sage, Coastal Sagebrush and Greenbark Ceanothus are thriving.

Rondia in a primeval forest of Giant Chain Ferns

After some easy walking, identifying plants, and stopping for a lunch/snack break, we’ll plan to depart from the Preserve at 2:30 for a 3:00 p.m. arrival at the Santa Barbara carpool location.

Once you are registered you will receive an email with more information and directions to Arroyo Hondo if you prefer to meet us there at 9:30 a.m. The cost for the day is $25. There is no pre-payment required to register. Participants will receive an email afterwards with notes and a complete list of all plants and animals observed.


Wild Gourmet and Medicinal Beers with Pascal Baudar @ Maricopa Plaza for carpool to Wheeler Gorge
Jul 22 @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

pascaltoyoningPascal Baudar, author and renowned professional forager for L.A.’s top chefs, will return to Ojai as our special guest on Saturday, July 22, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. He will join me for an Herb Walk on Wheeler Gorge Nature Trail and then lead a field workshop on making wild gourmet and medicinal beers and other creations from his best-selling 2016 book, The New Wildcrafted Cuisine: Exploring the Exotic Gastronomy of Local Terroir.  Pascal will have copies of his book on hand for sale and signing.cooking_new_wildcrafted_cuisine2

In addition to the wild brewing demonstration, snacks will include primitive menu items like acorn hummus, crickets, pickled black walnuts and similar wild-foraged delicacies. Exact items to be determined as the date gets closer.

Last year’s event sold out quickly so pre-payment is highly recommended to secure your space. See PayPal link at bottom of page.

Left: Horehound and California Sagebrush (Artemisia californica). Middle: Fresh Mugwort leaf and Sugar Bush berries (Rhus ovata) – very lemony. Right: Mild Hops flowers

Pascal Baudar is a professional forager, wild food instructor, and a self-styled “culinary alchemist” based in Los Angeles. His locally sourced wild ingredients and unique preserves have made their way into the kitchens of celebrated restaurants like Trois Mec in L.A. and such star chefs as Ludo Lefebvre, Josiah Citrin, Ari Taymor, Michael Voltaggio, Chris Jacobson and Niki Nakayama. His website is

Over the years, through his weekly classes and seminars, he has introduced thousands of home cooks, local chefs, and others to the flavors offered by the wild terroir of southern California.

Pascal has served as a wild food consultant for several TV shows including MasterChef and Top Chef Duels. He has been featured in numerous TV shows and publications, including Time magazine, the Los Angeles Times, L.A. Weekly, and the New York Times. In 2014, he was named one of the 25 most influential tastemakers in L.A. by Los Angeles magazine.

His unique primitive brewing techniques were featured in a January 2016 article in Craft Beer & Brewing magazine entitled “L.A.’s Wildest Homebrewer.”

The $50 fee includes the walk and all foods and beverages to be sampled. Click on the link below to register. Otherwise, you may pay by cash or check on the day of the event.



Number of participants