Mt. Pinos

This weekend I stayed in Southern California and drove 2 hours North tomeetmy hiking partner Hannu Haarma.Hannu had an orienteering meet at Mt. Pinos. Orienteering is a little knownsport in this country but very popular in the Scandavian countries of theworld. It was an Olympic sport at one time.Hannu was one of the best in the world and competed on the Fin Nationalteam.The competition involves running overland routes to various coursecheckpoints, utilizing the provided topo map and a compass. This course wasabout 8K.Hannu finished with a good time but badly twisted his ankle early on.Always the warrior, he heavily taped it and we went on a moderatelystrenuoshike up Mt. Pinos and along the Los Padres forrest ridgeline. The Mt. Pinosarea is Southern California's winter destination for cross country skiiing.Mt. Pinos at 8831 is the highest peak in the Los Padres National forrest.This hike involved continuing along ridges to the summitt ridge of GrouseMountain.It afforded great views of the San Quaquin valley, the most fertileagricultural area in the world. We went for about 11 miles start tofinish.I rate this hike a 7.5 It is one of the best in the area.The next day we chose to hike "Pothole" close to Lake Piru. Hannu's anklewas quite swollen and blue as a glacier, but wanting to get a workout afterhis long drive to Southern California. He had flown back from Virgina onFriday night and didn't get home until past midnight. He got up at 3 in themorning to drive South from his home in San Ramon Northern California."Pothole" ended up not being a good choice. The 1994 California Hiking bookis in need of update. We had to hike an additional 3 miles to gain accesstothe trailhead.The road had been closed. Once we finally found the trailhead we climbed1000+ ft on a very feint trail to the top of a ridge. We spooked a herd ofcows that were sleeping in a side canyon and almost got crushed in astampede. I hate bovines!!!!!!Death to Open grazing!!!From here it just got worse. The trail was so badly overgrown we werepummelled bysharp branches and our legs were attacked by stickers. This "trail" hadnotbeen used for years. We were defeated! We would not get to the beautiful?natural depression caused by an earthquake fault , filled with grass andlined with trees.The views of Lake Piru gave us some salvation but overall this 11 milepunishing walk was not my idea of being in Harmony with nature. I thinkthatHannu liked it because it was similar to orienteering!Not recommended -Overall rating a 2It was great to see Hannu-we have other adventures planned this summer. Iheaded back to Marina Del Rey for a nice relaxing 15 mile bike ride on thebeach. Hannu headed for Northern California. He had an early flight out thenext morning.

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