Thanksgiving was upon us, time for the yearly ritual of long drives and bad
traffic to visit family in Southern California. I picked up my daughter from
Santa Barbara at noon, then suffered the drive south on the Ventura Freeway.
Traffic this time seemed worse than usual, perhaps due to the gawking that
slows traffic following the Woolsey Fire that swept across the freeway and
burned its way to the Pacific Ocean. It has been many years since this area
has burned so completely and I must confess I did my own share of gawking to
take it all in. We stopped in the Thousand Oaks area off Lynn Rd to visit the
Wildwood Regional Park for a hike. We visited two of its features,
Lizard Rock and the park highpoint of Mountclef Ridge. We spent about
an hour and a half visiting on our hike. The Mesa Trail cuts across the
park with a spur trail going
to the top of Lizard Rock. Use trails can be found going up to Mountclef Ridge
by various means. We went up one of these and down another,
finding a bit of fun scrambling along the ridge. The highpoint
itself was a little disappointing,
just a small collection of rocks half-buried under brush and stunted trees,
old clothes strewn about one side as though someone had camped up here at one
time. The views in general from the ridge are nice, south across the park and
north into Santa Rosa Valley.
The fires burned the western edge of the park and appear to have been
stopped at Lizard Rock by a combination of hastily-made
firebreaks, existing trails and a drop of fire retardant.
Though the stuff
looks redish-orange from a distance, it is bright pink up close. It was
interesting to note which trees and shrubs managed to survive the fast-moving
fire and which were decimated. After shaking the dust out of our boots back at
the trailhead we got back on the freeway and continued our journey. It was
Jackie's first hike since being dropped off at school so she was grateful for
the opportunity to stretch her legs...