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.
As soon as they set foot on the trail they entered the Sespe Wilderness.
Skirting the north side of Reyes Peak, they found themselves in the White Fir forest.
A short while later, openings appeared in the forest to reveal the Cuyama Valley to the north.
The forest became a mix of Jeffrey, Ponderosa, and Sugar Pines along with the White Fir.
There was even a lone Incense Cedar tree.
The White Fir saplings looked like Christmas trees which is exactly what they are.
Looking up the trail, they could easily have been hiking in the southern Sierra Nevada.
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.
On the ridge, they gazed across the southern slope of Reyes Peak (elevation: 7514 ft.) at the Channel Islands.
Looking east they saw Haddock Mountain (elevation: 7434 ft.)…..
…..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 [email protected] 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