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Silent Hiker by Silent Hiker - 1M ago

I really needed to switch things up for awhile. Over the last year and a half many of my hikes involved walking out my front door with only a vague notion of what lay ahead. No planning, no driving and most often no camera. This offered a tremendous sense of freedom. On the days I did stick a camera in my pack, the following photos are the result.

While hiking down the beach one day I stumbled upon the most incredible sight.  Dozens of migrating whales swimming just offshore.  Some were so close it seemed I could dive into the water and play with them.  I had my little camera with me so this photo is poor, but this day was one to remember.

Point Dume

Over these months I have expanded my hiking territory and have around 30 completed hikes that I will be releasing slowly, about one every two weeks. I will be writing these from memory so I apologize if the details are a little fuzzy. In other news, I started Peaceful Tourist, a second blog, which profiles fun stuff and interesting experiences. It’s a work in progress that I am rarely working or progressing on at the moment.

The Guardian

Scenes from the Enchanted Sycamore Grove

Finally, expect one major change here at Silent Hiker. Soon, when I can figure it out, the content on this site will only be accessible via a totally free, minimal info subscription, the easiest and simplest I can find. Sorry for the inconvenience. I am doing this for an important reason. Over the years I have hiked on trails and through streets.  I’ve heard angry locals say things like, “The Internet has ruined this place”. The thought that I may have a hand in the damage large crowds tend to inflict weighed heavy on my mind. I was quite conflicted because I really enjoy creating for Silent Hiker.

I looked for a solution. I found a blog that would only give driving directions to the sites they profiled with a subscription. I also considered having certain hikes which run through sensitive areas be restricted, a kind of private reserve. In the end I thought it best to go completely behind the virtual curtain.

I think back to my first real hike, with my 20-something friends, to Sturtevant Falls and beyond. I was so naive I only brought one 16 oz. water bottle for a seven or eight mile hike. I thought there were probably water fountains along the trail. As we hiked in our tennis shoes, yelling back and forth, throwing rocks around and so on, we passed an old grizzled hiker who stared a hole through us. Now I understand.  When I see trash on the trail, or graffiti or people trampling delicate poppies, I understand. Me in my 20’s, the loud guy on the trail, would never sign up for a website like this and I’m good with that.

I figure if someone is willing to take a couple minutes to sign up then they probably love open spaces and want to protect them. There is so much redundant info available on the Internet that I truly believe a casual browser will click away instead of taking even a few seconds to become a member.

Ending the Day Well

Those of you who make the effort, I believe you respect nature and neighborhoods, whether you hike or not. I thank you and I extend a most sincere welcome, please enjoy all 200+ hikes. More info and sign-ups coming very soon.

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Silent Hiker by Silent Hiker - 1M ago

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Hiked August 9, 2017

Yet another day of short hikes, two in Ventura and one in Oxnard. Summertime is the perfect time for short hikes and cool ocean breezes.
Ventura Botanical Gardens: 3 miles
Emma Wood State Beach: 2 miles
Silver Strand Beach: 2 1/2 miles
Total: 7 1/2 miles

The trailhead for the Ventura Botanical Gardens is behind Ventura City Hall.  I parked down the street and walked up because I wanted to check out the buildings. It’s pretty cool, lots of decorative details and a statue of Junipero Serra welcoming visitors.

               

   Interesting priest heads on City Hall.  Their eyes follow you.

               

Ventura Botanical Garden is kind of unusual. It’s not a traditional garden. Rather it’s a winding trail with benches and other fun stuff along the way. Currently there aren’t that very many plants. In a few years, when this garden becomes fuller and more established and everything goes according to plan, this could be one of Ventura’s premiere destinations.  At the beginning of the trail there are a few interesting plants, mostly native to Chile.  As I wound my way up, I passed view points with rock benches and stone walls.

               

             I spied the Amtrak Surfliner below.  The Ol’ 452 barrelling through Ventura.

               

I reached a paved road and crossed over. Photo 2 – Bad Robot!

In the background, the Ventura Pier; In the foreground, a railroad trestle; Later in the day I would drive right between them on that curved freeway on-ramp.

   As I hiked I had a flash memory. When I was a kid my dad would take me to a shooting range just a couple minutes walk from where I was standing. Before that I had no clue I had been here before, so many years ago.

               

   Photo 1 – I passed a set of stairs heading steeply up a hillside. I would be coming down them in a few minutes.  Photo 2 – Roads and Destinies Converge  Photo 3 – I hiked west, over to a flat area with nice coastal views.

               

               

Photo 3 – The Ventura County Fair in full swing below. Photo 4 – Tower on a nearby hill.  I wonder if I can climb to it someday.

               

        I backtracked a bit and found myself standing at the entrance of the old shooting range. It’s now closed to the public.  I saw a man climbing up the hill next to the range’s fence. I decided to follow suit. It was quite steep and I had to use my hands a couple times to keep my balance.

               

RIP Groot

Quite a view of East Ventura.

An even prettier view down the coast.

          

Photo 3 – The saying on this stone pretty much summed up my day. I forgot all about the clock, all the human measures of time,  and took as long as I wanted or needed.

     

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Silent Hiker by Silent Hiker - 8M ago

After a much needed sabbatical I am returning to Silent Hiker.  Expect new posts in the spring of 2019.  In the meantime, please check out my other website, Peaceful Tourist.  It’s shiny and fresh and has that new blog smell!

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Silent Hiker by Silent Hiker - 8M ago

After a much needed sabbatical I am returning to Silent Hiker.  Expect new posts in the spring of 2019.  In the meantime, please check out my other website, Peaceful Tourist.  It’s shiny and fresh and has that new blog smell!

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Silent Hiker by Silent Hiker - 1y ago

Nothing to do with old age. Growing up in Malibu, going over the hill meant traveling from the ocean side of the Santa Monica Mountains to the inland side, usually on Kanan Dume Road or Malibu Canyon Road. I made four stops today.  I began on the inland side with Lake Eleanor Open Space in Westlake Village, and then worked my way over to Malibu with stops at David M. Brown Overlook, Serra Retreat and Malibu Bluffs Park. This trip was very therapeutic.
Total hiking miles: Around 8 mies

Driving Directions:

Lake Eleanor Open Space:  From the 101 Freeway in Westlake Village, exit on Westlake Blvd. and go south.  Drive one mile to Triunfo Canyon Rd. and turn left.  In about 0.5 miles turn right.  Drive another 0.5 miles up Highgate Rd. to its end.

The Rest of the Day:  Please read below.

               

I began by going around the side of a fence at the top of Highgate Rd. A few yards beyond an unmarked trail breaks off to the right.  Immediately I was met with a cool-looking rock formation.

               

   Lake Sherwood soon came into view.

Dark Skies, Cold Lake

I recognized landmarks in the hills to the east.

               

I spotted rock formations that reside off of Kanan Dume Rd. and the house/vineyard that can be seen for miles around.

On my a right, a gorgeous formation appeared.

               

Close-ups.  Golden grasses seem to flow from the fissures.

               

Every time I’d turn a corner, I enjoyed another “Wow!” moment.

               

               

I read that Lake Sherwood got it’s name because they shot a Robin Hood movie here in the 1920’s.  Photo 2 – Close-up of a building on the lake, I’m not sure what it is.

               

Photo 2 – Smiling rock dwarfs houses below it.

             After a mile and a half the trail ended at the top of a residential street. I was at my turnaround point and realized I hadn’t seen Lake Eleanor. I checked my map and discovered the lake sits right beneath that fantastic rock formation I passed earlier. There are three knolls beside the trail. One must climb to the tops  to get glimpses of the lake.

               

   Photos taken from the knolls

Lake Eleanor is quite tiny but it’s also very close, right below the trail. Westlake Blvd. runs next to it. I’ll drive past one day if I can.

               

Views from the northernmost knoll

               

Photo 1 – Skeleton of a primitive shelter

        I went too far and missed my turnoff.  Suddenly, I was lost lost. I even lost the trail momentarily.

               

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A day of short hikes. I visited four bodies of water – Hollywood Reservoir, Echo Park Lake, Silver Lake Reservoir and Lake Balboa.  All were unique in their own way.
Hiking Distance:
Hollywood Reservoir – 3.6 miles
Echo Park Lake – 1 mile
Silver Lake Reservoir – 3.2 miles
Lake Balboa – 1.75 miles
Total – Around 9 1/2 miles

Driving Directions
Hollywood Reservoir: In Hollywood, exit the 101 Freeway on Barham Blvd.  Go north 0.2 miles and turn right on Lake Hollywood Dr.  Follow Lake Hollywood Dr., winding up the narrow street to a crest.  Just beyond Wonderview Dr., Lake Hollywood Dr. takes a sharp right and heads down steeply to the entrance of Hollywood Reservoir.  Park on the street.

Echo Park Lake:  Backtrack to the southbound 101 Fwy.  In a few miles, take the Glendale Blvd. exit.  Follow the signs and circle around to Glendale Blvd. heading north.  The lake will appear on the right.  Park anywhere on the street next to the lake.  To return to the 101 after the hike, from Glendale Blvd., turn right at the end of the lake onto Park Ave.  Take the next right onto Echo Park Ave.  Echo Park Ave. will take you right back to an exit for the southbound 101 Fwy.

Silver Lake Reservoir:  From the southbound 101, after driving just a little over a mile, exit on Silver Lake Blvd. Take Silver Lake Blvd. until it intersects with Armstrong Ave. Park on the street.

Balboa Lake: Backtrack to the 101 again, this time heading north.  Drive about 15 miles and exit on Balboa Blvd.  Turn right onto Balboa Blvd. and look for the sign for Anthony C. Beilenson Park on the right.  The sign stands parallel to the road so it’s hard to see (I blew by it, anyway).  Pull in and follow the road to plentiful parking right off the lake.

To get into the spirit, a few days prior I stopped at Lake Eleanor in Westlake Village. I had viewed it from the ridge above on my hiking adventure I named Over the Hill Day. Now I was able to see it from ground level.

             I began at Hollywood Reservoir for a reason. My guidebook said that it opens at 6:30 a.m. and then closes and then closes at 10 a.m., then re-opens at 2 p.m. and stays open until 5 p.m. Hours listed elsewhere seem to be different.  Anyway, I knew if I hiked it first thing then there would be no access issues.  Photo 2 – The mountain directly across from the reservoir has an American flag planted on top.

                       The reservoir is completely fenced in. Good for protecting the water, not so good for photography.

   Mighty Mulholland Dam, holding back a billion gallons of water.

               

   I turned the corner and came face to face with a deer. She was very calm and even approached me before turning back.

        The highlight of the hike is passing over the dam.

My jaw dropped.  What a view!

               

In the morning hours the reservoir throws off amazing reflections of Mount Lee and the HOLLYWOOD sign.

   To the west of the sign stands Burbank Peak, marked by a lone tree.

               

Concrete bear heads decorate the land side of the dam.

               

Photo 1 – Straight down the hill is the landmark Capitol Records building, and a mysterious castle.  Photo 3 – Sitting just inside the fence, a turtle. Or is he a tortoise? He had wandered pretty far from the water.

               

I circled around, now heading north and straight into more awesome views of Mount Lee.  Photo 2 – I noticed a structure, like a teardrop shaped pod, set up with a great perspective.

        I came to a gate at Montlake Dr.  I turned left here and followed the dirt path next to the road. Soon I was back at my car.

   A few minutes drive led me to Echo Park Lake. I parked at the northern end just before Park Ave., which is a prime spot. I assume it was left open because of all the homeless people napping a few feet away.

               

I began the short loop around the lake.  The northern tip is a lagoon rich with plant and animal life.

               

Photo 2 – Handsome turtle with a moss covered shell.

Mama and ducklings swim through thick algae.

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