Misadventures: No camera, the Wills-Rice Loop, and the Mishe Mokwa Trail

Wills-Rice Loop (Ventura River Preserve)
Miles: 6.5
Elevation Gained: 500′
Difficulty: Moderate
Critters: None

Mishe Mokwa Trail
Miles: 6.4
Elevation Gained: 850′
Difficulty: Moderate
Critters: Note

This past Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, I went up to Agoura Hills to spend some time with friends and family, in addition to taking a few hikes in the area. However, I forgot to bring my camera, and so I didn’t get to snap pictures like I wanted to. While there was a certain freedom in not stopping every 5 minutes to point my camera at things, I did miss the chance to document two good hikes, even though the first hike was never meant to happen.

Oak Woodland in Wills Canyon

Taylor and I set out on Monday to hike Reyes Peak and Haddock Mountain. Reyes Peak is about an hour north of Ojai on Highway 33. When I say that this place is remote, I am talking REMOTE. Out in the boonies. Nothing around for miles. We got up at Ass AM and drove out to this highly anticipated hike. As we rolled up to the access road, we saw that the road was closed until August to car traffic and foot traffic. We had driven out that way for nothing.

And so the Wills-Rice Loop in Ojai stepped in as a pinch hitter. This hike, located within the Ventura River Preserve, features a lot of classic SoCal scenes: craggy, chaparral covered hills, grassy meadows, oak woodlands, and stream-beds. It’s a great hike in its own right, and we found ourselves not regretting the misadventure. I didn’t bring my camera, so a few iPhone shots were all I could muster. This hike was 6.5 miles, with about 500 or so feet of gain. Easy hiking, with a lot of nice places to sit and relax.

The follow-up for the next day was a stroll along the Mishe Mokwa Trail at Boney Mountain. This recreation area sits on the eastern edge of Point Mugu State Park, which recently burned during the station fire. Mercifully, Boney Mountain was mostly spared, and there is very little evidence of fire up on the top. There are some burnt bushes over near Tri-Peaks, but unless one walked to Boney’s western escarpment and looked down into Sycamore Canyon, nobody would be the wiser that this area suffered a cataclysmic fire.

Sean, Taylor, and I took the hike slow, as we stopped at numerous places to relax and catch up. In the above shot, we stopped to hoot and pant at Echo Cliffs, where the echoing produces a fantastic surround sound affect as it ping-pongs around the canyon. The mist further contributed to the fun, as I imagined Native-Americans going on vision quests during June gloom and worshipping the easily-anthropomorphized volcanic rock outcrops.

Although I was clearly off, at least on the first hike by not planning ahead, checking the conditions, and bringing a camera, I got to enjoy two great hikes with two great friends. More importantly, I set my expectations aside and managed not to get too disappointed that my plans had not worked out. Without expectations and disappointment, most hikes can turn into great hikes.

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