Sunday, September 17, 2006

A Hike with Mike

Yesterday, Ethan and I went for a 4.75 mile hike in Wildwood with IvyMike. Our goal was to introduce Mike to the sewage processing plant and Lizard Rock. Mike's goal was to get us excited about geocaching. With a bit of sweat, dirt, and bushwhacking, I'd say we accomplished both. Instead of trying to describe this chapparal hike using only words, this time I've got pictures. (I'll try to let them do the talking, but you can't expect me to forgo words completely. Have I written a short blog post yet?)

Here's Ethan and I giving a thumbs up at the teepee as we take a water break and I check out my GPS.

Look! We made it to Paradise Falls. Anyone for a swim in algae-ridden Conejo Valley storm drain water? I didn't think so. Please don't dump your oil, chemicals, or trash in the gutters.

Ethan gives another thumbs up because we just found our second cache of the day. We managed to find four in all.

After passing by the sewage processing plant, Ethan takes a short rest on a bench in the middle of the steepest part of the trail up to Lizard Rock. If you draw a straight line from the right of Mike's GPS on the bench to the top of the snap, you can see Lizard Rock, that tiny spec on the crest of the ridge behind the dried yucca flower stems.

We made it to the top of Lizard Rock! The low point on the canyon trail is approximately 280 feet above sea level according to our GPS. So, from this point next to the sewage processing plant to the top of Lizard Rock, which is approximately 930 feet, we climbed 650 feet. Not bad, I'd say. In the background, to the left and down, you can see the teepee we left behind.

Another snap to verify that IvyMike made it to the top too. He's doing his best Austin Powers impersonation here, I guess. Notice the sewage processing plant 650 feet below. Oh, and note that Ethan is a little less comfortable when dad isn't holding him. It's the last 8 feet of Lizard Rock that gives him the willies. He's thinking, "Hey, Dad, get me off this rock! This isn't a Hitchcock film."

My first money shot. Lizard Rock, late afternoon sunlight cascading down, dried mustard plants in the foreground, the pensive hiker atop, admiring the view. (No, we'd didn't leave Ethan up there.) I expect some comments from Damonomad.

Ethan is heading down toward Mesa trail across the edge of the canyon. Another possible vertigo moment.

And here's what you see from that cliff-hugging trail--our very own sewage treatment processing plant. The wind was blowing in from the West through the canyon, so although it didn't smell bad up here, it was pretty ripe on the canyon floor below.

Here we are above box canyon, which is next to the Santa Rosa valley to the North. Ethan loves following the caution signs for the natural gas pipeline that runs alongside Mesa trail. Here, I think we fear an explosion.

An explosion of a different sort? No, this is just my second money shot. A scenic mountain that only a five-year old truly appreciates and never forgets to comment on. "That's not a rock! It's poo!"

Here we are on the gas pipeline. (This is becoming an unfortunate theme.) Notice that the light has a yellowish hue. This is due to a cloud of smoke from the Day fire that is moving across the sun. Santa Ana winds just started earlier that morning, so I'd say we're officially into fire season.

Just a cute snap of Ethan at the gate on Mesa trail. Next year, I guarantee he won't be able to get under it without crouching. See the smoke cloud coming in?

Mike and Ethan running over the last "speedbump" hill. I think they both are feeling a little tuckered out. Mesa trail runs like a ribbon out to Lizard Rock in the distance.

A snap of the ridgeline above Mesa trail, smoke coming in from the Northwest.

And finally back down to the trail head to rest our weary legs.

Thanks for the hike, Mike! Ethan had a great time and thought you were pretty funny. Next time we'll go find those caches on Santa Rosa trail.


At 10:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loved the fotos! What a beautiful day and beautiful kids!

However....ah, er, um, having worked for the City and at the plant, I must share:

1) It's called the Hill Canyon WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT, not what YOU called it :)

2) It's (arguably) the single most valuable asset in Thousand Oaks - one recent valuation had it about $200 million to replace!

3) Just think what our environment would be like WITHOUT the plant! It treats all the wastewater (other than creek water) from Thousand Oaks to "tertiary" or highest standards, and the effluent is actually "safe for body contact" - not that we'd want to try that out, right?

So that's what I have to say about the plant - it's really a cool place to visit, actually, as the processes really mimic how nature "cleans up" things as well.

Bottom line - am so glad you found my Papillon cache and wish you many future great cache expeditions. Look forward to meeting you sometime!

Thanks again for sharing the photos. Wildwood is such a lovely place!


At 8:43 AM, Blogger Berzinator said...

Thanks for the comment and the great cache. It was the last one we found on our hike and the most rewarding. See my other post Wildwood Wonders for a kinder, gentler "treatment" of the wastewater treatment plant. I agree with you, it is one of our most valuable assets, but it still processes sewage and it sure can be stinky. Now, if we can just get folks to stop dumping crap into the storm drains.


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