A group of us went to hike a loop to the Fishbowls. The Fishbowls is north of Pine Mountain and Reyes Peak. We parked at one of the three trailheads to the Fishbowls.
We would end our loop here where we parked. The area had been affected by the 2007 Day Fire. All the signs were brand new and there was a brand new outhouse so clean you could eat off the floor.
We hiked down the road to Cedar Creek trailhead to begin our loop.
There were interesting rock formations along the way.
Still some water in the creek.
The area features that wonderful Southern California high country plant life. Lots of pines, including pinyon pines, rabbit brush sage, the occasional juniper, dry clear sunshine and a delicious clean smell in the air.
This looks like some kind of buckwheat.
We found the trailhead but lost the trail almost immediately.
We found the trail after wallowing around in the creek for a little bit.
We joked that we had 17 GPSs. None of them agreed on anything.
The trail was gentle and almost flat most of the way.
Interesting overhanging rock.
Nice pool beyond the overhanging rock.
Columbine in the creek. Reminded me of the Pacific Crest Trail.
Before it fell, it had been a woodpecker granary.
The holes were all empty of acorns.
We finally started to climb. This part reminded me of the Buck Creek trail. The trail I missed on my hike from Santa Barbara out to the Pacific Crest Trail. It made me want to go hike the Buck Creek Trail. Unfinished business that is bugging me.
Soon we had great views of the high mountains in the area. We wondered which one was Mt. Pinos. We weren't sure.
We rounded a bend and came to a breathtaking scene. My stupid pictures don't show how beautiful this was, not even close.
It was all sculpted, multi-colored sandstone cliffs.
The sandstone was full of interesting swirls of color.
We came to a junction. We went to the right. We came to a number of junctions like this one and we always went to the right. It looked like the ones to the left met up eventually but were steeper.
Finally we met up with the Gene Marshall Piedra Blanca trail.
We continued on into the oaks. We were now descending. We would descend the rest of the way to the Fishbowls.
There were some interesting hoodoos off in the distance.
The oak trees had classic oak-shaped leaves.
We reached Fishbowls camp where a couple of guys were camping and then we hiked a little beyond the campsite to the actual Fishbowls. These are them.
This was the deepest and bowliest of the fishbowls.
There were more bowls above the big one. This reminded me of Fish Creek near the Manzana trail.
We stopped here for lunch.
I soaked my feet in the cold water. Felt good!
Last time Sean was here, he jumped into the cold water and the coldness shocked his vagus nerve and he passed out in the water. Naturally we had to egg him on to try again. We promised we'd poke him with our trekking poles if he passed out again.
In he goes! He didn't pass out this time. He said it wasn't as cold.
We relaxed here for a while.
I noticed a snake in the pool below.
Two-striped garter snake. They swim amazingly well!
On our way again, we discovered a tree covered in berries. We thought it might be a wild plum. The berries tasted awful. Maybe they weren't ripe. Maybe they weren't plums.
There was another campsite just down the trail from the main Fishbowls camp turnoff.
We hiked down the creek for a while. We startled a bear in the creek! I didn't see him though because Trailhacker was busy clearing a big branch off the trail.
Look at the size of the bear's poo! Yes, that's what I wore on this hike.
The rest of the way the trail was flat like this.
Hiking along in my sandals, I was just thinking about things and then suddenly I was like, "Oh wow! That's Poodle Dog Bush!" I could have gotten a bad case of that on my feet.
Here are more pictures so you can recognize it. You can get a bad rash like poison oak, but I've heard it's worse than poison oak.
Often it's taller than this and usually the flowers are much bigger and more attractive. They are usually quite stunning leading you to want to take a closer look and maybe pick some.
The landscape opened up and we walked along this broad valley for quite some time.
Then we came upon a nice shallow creek. The trail now looked like an old road.
We were back in the old burn zone. Not too bad though.
We started climbing again. There was a confusing spot just before this marked with a small duck. It marked a junction with the trail we are on which is newer with the older trail that emerges a little south of where we parked our cars.
My dirty feet at the end of the hike. Actually, they're less dirty than they get on a lot of hikes. It's fun to hike in sandals. I made these myself from instructions on Barefoot Ted's website. This was the perfect trail for hiking in such "barefoot" huarache sandals.
Now we are driving back home. The Fishbowls trail is 75 miles from Ventura. We are hurrying to get some dinner at the Deer Lodge in Ojai. It was sad to see such a gloriously perfect day of hiking come to an end.
This is the last picture. It's of a lonely valley with the Toptopas in the distance.