Gridley Trail, Ojai, CA

by Lorraine on October 11, 2008

I have been a volunteer with the U.S. Forest Service the last three years and we meet the first Saturday of each month at the Forest Service Office in Ojai, CA.   I really enjoy doing my volunteer days and I’ve made many new friends.   What is really great for me, is the fact that I’m spending the day on a trail, away from town, traffic and crowds and being outside.

What we do, is to maintain the trails above Ojai in the Los Padres National Forest that includes the Sespe Wilderness area.   This is just so beautiful and I have done quite a bit of hiking over the years and fell in love with it at that time.  Hiking the Sespe was a big influence in my love for native plants and became my inspiration for my native plant garden.

Our event on October 4th., was kept closer in to town because it was lightly raining.   The original plan was to go further out into the backcountry and work a re-route on another trail, but due to the weather, the plans changed.  I was at first a bit disappointed, because I was looking forward to seeing some Fall colors at the higher elevations, but as it turned out as you can see from my photos, there was plenty of beautiful colors to satisfy the heart.

Along the Trail with Mist

Along the Trail with Mist

Because if the light rain, everyone managed to get pretty wet, although we did have some waterproof clothes, but cutting back brush was very messy business and all of us got pretty dirty in the process.

Because it was raining, the moisture on the plants made them particularly beautiful.   The Buckwheats have blossoms that are rounded and they looked shiny and glowed in the low light of the day..   They reminded me of beautiful, red marbles and I’m wishing that I had taken a closer picture of them to share.

Buckwheat (Eriogonum) & Sage (Salvia apiana)

Buckwheat (Eriogonum) & Sage (Salvia apiana)

I’ve been on this trail during the Summer and it can be a really uncomfortable hike because most of it is south facing and very rocky tread.   When it’s hot, it’s brutal and not much fun, so the light drizzle was welcome.   Along one section of the trail, that was facing more to the north, were these giant ferns!  They were so beautiful that I took several pictures of them.

Giant Chain Fern (Woodwardia fimbriata)

Giant Chain Fern (Woodwardia fimbriata)

In this particular section of the trail, there were a number of Giant Sycamore trees growing as well and the trail was covered in their leaves.   Needless to say, I was getting my wish for Fall colors, fulfilled when I saw all of these georgous leaves on the ground and making my heart very happy.   Of course, I took lots of pictures of the them but here’s one for you.

Big Sycamore Leaves

Big Sycamore Leaves

I saw quite a few plants blooming and I didn’t take photos of all of them because a number of them are in my garden, such as the Fuchsias.   One plant that I don’t have is the Holly-Leaf Cherry (Prunus ilicifolia) and they were in quite a few places along the trail and covered with their fruit.   The fruit looks a lot like Cherries and guess what?

Holly-Leaf cherry

Holly-Leaf cherry

 

Bears love them!   In fact you could tell that the bears had been gorging themselves on them, as we came across quite a few bear “poops” in the middle of the trail ( they can’t be polite and do their business off the trail).   They can’t digest the big seed in the berries, so as you are meandering along the trail, you get to come across these rather large displays of poop filled with seeds.

Now, I’m not going to give you a photo of that, but here is one of the Sugar Bush!

This is a really long post, so I’ll close here with one final picture, looking along the trail in the area of where the ferns were.   It was a great day, lots of fun and having some hot coffee back in Ojai with my friends, concluded the day.

Ferns & Sycamore Trees Along the Trail

Ferns & Sycamore Trees Along the Trail

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 casey 10.15.08 at 3:48 pm

That isn’t sugar bush, it is holly-leaf cherry (Prunus ilicifolia). Otherwise, great write up. This is one of the best trails for plant diversity and flowers.

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