I've camped a lot in California with wildly varied experiences. I've found the further from Los Angeles you get the better the trip. This is a blanket and sweeping statement to be sure, but that has been my history.
We're up camping in Lake Casitas because Skye is attending a week-long Shakespeare workshop that is being held at the campground. It's a wonderful program through Much Ado About Shakespeare. She has participated in their classes in the past, in fact, she played Juliet in one of their shows when we were still LA centered.
We got to the campsite at the end of a long day which had us brunching in Venice with Cindy to celebrate Father's Day before checking out of our wonderful loft and sending Cindy off in a taxi to get a flight to return to Atlanta. Our car was packed so full there was only enough space for one passenger.
Skye and I had to head to our storage deep in the east Valley to swap some of our bags for our camping gear and then finally off to Ojai.
We of course hit traffic and I could barely keep my eyes open.
When we got to the campground, well, let's just say I was thrilled that one of Skye's best friends was staying in the adjoining camp-site.
Forcing Myself to Run
More times than not, my biggest struggle with running, is getting motivated to get out and run, particularly when I haven't been running regularly, which is usually the case. So I didn't run the day we got there or the next day. Finally I reminded myself how much I loved running in nature, on trails and got myself to get up and out of the tent.
I had a map of the campground but it was a bit bulky, so I left it in the tent.
I started up the trail head which went through 100 feet of oak and pine forest before running alongside the park's maintenance facility and then opening up to the main entrance and parking lot to the campground.
I headed down what looked like a trail, only to have it narrow down to nothing, ending up first in the mucky mud of little creek draining into the lake and then climbing up out of it and deep into the RV camping area.
I jogged back towards our neck of the woods and tried without success to find off road trails or even dirt roads.
I was having no luck. Even the fire roads were a problem, because the surface consisted of churned up dirt, rock and gravel making running on it terribly unpleasant.
One road did lead up to this nice view of the lake.
You might have noticed the weird squiggles of man's making in the picture of the lake, or the power-lines cutting into the top corner.
Earlier, I had put on my headphones to drown out the sounds of the nearby highway.
At every turn there were sings of humanity and every bit of "nature" had our hand-prints on it.
I watched a rowing team glide quietly across the lake. Minutes later I heard a coach bellowing out instructions over a bull horn.
The Road Less Traveled
I skirted around the road block that prevented unauthorized vehicles from heading up this not-for-the-public road.
I thought there might be less noise and trash and...
I did get up close and personal with this big ol' turkey vulture and found a nice big feather for Skye.
I also saw a little fox and loads of bunnies hoping around.
And in the end I did get out and jogging for almost an hour.
I know there are better trails up here. A friend that knows the area told me about a beautiful one that skirts along the lake. I think I even saw it from the highway, I just need to figure out how to get to it.