Matilija Canyon Ranch; Trail 23W07 – Upper North Fork Matilija (#1)

This wasn’t my first time up this trail, only the first time I’m blogging about it. The farthest I got on this day was to the stream right above the first camp site (1/2 mile up the trail). I prefer to go hiking in the evening so it was merely a time constraint on why I didn’t get very far. Plus, I’m the worst person to go hiking with because I constantly stop to take pictures. I don’t go hiking with the intent for physical activity, I go for the experience, the memories, the serenity, and to get true mental clarity. It’s so serene out here (which I’m sure it is on every trail), but this one is my favorite so far out of all the trails I’ve been on since moving to California. Then again, compared to avid outdoor enthusiasts, I haven’t seen anything yet.

I love the hiking apps Yonder and All Trails because it not only shows commonly known trails, but also hidden gems that people find along their exploration and want to share the wealth of natural beauty. There are some impeccable spots along the way but the most heartbreaking issue with hikes in California is how dried up they are. This area used to be weaved with an active stream and now, it barely has a trickle in some spots. This time, I sat and meditated on the big rock on the side of the stream (pictured below) for a few minutes before I headed down. It’s a nice area to really clear your mind and get at peace with your soul if at least only for a moment before you go back home and get stressed out about daily life all over again. Practicing meditation and grounding yourself is such a key role in avoiding that daily stress, by the way. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend you do. Meditation doesn’t have anything to do with your religion, and there are many types of meditation and they all or only one could work best for you. Now, keep in mind, I am not a professional photographer, so please don’t be unnecessary with critiquing of the quality of the pictures. What I find picture-worthy, you may not, and that’s okay because you don’t have to like the pictures I take. Consider that more of a motive to go out and see the trail yourself to find something that captivates you out there.

When you start the trail, it begins on private property and there is a Wildlife Refugee Camp there which I think is AWESOME! They house geese, ducks, and (wait for it…) PEACOCKS! They are so gorgeous and cute but rarely ever fluff out their feathers so you can’t see them well in the pictures (sorry!). The owners of the property have the right at any time to close off access for hikers through this entrance which would resort people to take the entrance on Highway 33, so I ask ahead of time that everyone please respect heir property and don’t ruin it for the rest of us. You’re going to see a lot of pictures of paths; that’s just one favorite thing I love about nature. I love how natural paths are made and how nature creates these “hallways” of itself that you walk through.

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A major concern I hold dear to me heart is how severe this drought has been. It has only progressively gotten worse over the years and it seems like the continuance of no one caring will proceed. This used to be a steady waterbed that you would have to hop on rocks to get across and due to the severity of the drought and no reversal of the affects, plants have had the ability to start growing where they once weren’t able to.

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On another note, you do get to see the creativity of other hikers and their rock stacking skills. 🙂

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And of course, another dried up waterbed. 😦

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Now, I thought this was the cutest stone chair just perfected by nature and had to stop for selfie.

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This is such a cool, huge rock that looks like a stage for performing campers. Just kidding, but again, I’m so intrigued by how nature creates itself into these unique shapes and platforms.

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The first campsite has a few areas so more than one group can have their own little area to sleep, cook, and build a campfire to enjoy and it’s right by the stream in case you need to wash up or get some water to boil.

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There’s that big hunk of zen I mentioned that I meditate on while taking in the ambiance and scenery.

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Did I mention I made a friend? His name is Gary and he was up there camping. He is from San Diego and was visiting this area for the first time. We didn’t get to talk much because he was hiking up to the second campsite (2.5 miles further up) while I was only enjoying the area for a little bit before heading back to beat the sunset.

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I’m in such awe in how the creative the universe is and it’s ability to play an epic game of Tetris with the Earth!

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Below is a picture of the Dent House. I’ve never been inside but from what I’ve learned, it’s a bed and breakfast and they host events for weddings and other formal occasions.20160912_18273520160912_18274820160912_18275220160912_182801

And American pride, can’t beat a glorious image like that! 🙂

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Oh yeah, I made another friend! Say, “hello,” to the cutest donkey! He was such a sweetheart and walked over to me and let him pet him for a little bit before walking away to much on some tasty greenery.

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