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The Herb Walks with Lanny Kaufer program will make its way up the scenic Maricopa Highway to Pine Mountain on Sunday, June 24, for a Summer Solstice Nature Hike. Attendees will visit some of the most spectacular scenery and natural habitat that Ventura County has to offer with Ojai native plant guide and Herb Walks founder Lanny Kaufer as their guide.
The outing will start at 9:00 a.m. with a carpool caravan of about 35 miles up Highway 33 from the Maricopa Plaza, (1201 Maricopa Highway, Ojai, CA 93023) to the Reyes Peak trailhead. The group will hike into the Sespe Wilderness from the trailhead (where there is a restroom) at 7000 feet elevation, stop for lunch (not provided) among the Jeffrey Pines, and return to the trailhead by 3:30 p.m., arriving back at the Maricopa Plaza by 4:00 p.m.
Hiking a well-used trail through Mixed Conifer Forest habitat, Kaufer will stop along the way to identify and discuss native trees, including a relic stand of White Fir amidst Incense Cedar, Canyon Oak, Jeffrey Pine and Sugar Pine, in addition to other native plants, birds and signs of wildlife. This intermediate level hike is suitable for moderately experienced hikers or physically fit beginners. There will be some elevation change skirting the north side of Reyes Peak, occasionally traversing hillsides on a narrow trail. The total hiking distance will be about 3 miles.
Weather and marine layer permitting, there will be panoramic views of the Cuyama Valley to the north and the Channel Islands to the south. This hike is another in a series of backcountry walks and hikes under a Special Use Permit from the Ojai Ranger District Office of the U.S. Forest Service designed for guides who provide recreational and interpretive services to the public.
Kaufer’s Herb Walks series (HerbWalks.com) offers interpretive walks, hikes, and workshops throughout the year in Ventura, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles counties with an emphasis on edible and medicinal plants, those classified as “herbs” for their culinary and medicinal properties. The educational goal of these outings is to learn to positively identify native plants in their natural habitats and discover their roles in the ecology of the area as well as their applications for humans. Nature Hikes are longer, usually more strenuous versions of Herb Walks.
The cost is $25 for adults, $20 for seniors 62-up, and $15 for students 13-18 years of age. Kids 5-12 can go free, one per adult, by prior arrangement. Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. No dogs or smoking, please.
To register, visit HerbWalks.com or call 805-646-6281. Registrants will receive a confirmation email with all necessary details.