Over the weekend I had to hit the trail! On Saturday, I thought the skies would clear by the afternoon. They never did so we had a case of cabin fever and needed to get outside. So the girls and I jumped in the truck and headed up to Thousand Oaks. The plan, if there was a plan, was to hike the Satwiwa Loop and hike to the waterfall which is part of the Santa Monica Mountains. Seemed pretty straight forward.
We arrived around 8:30am and the parking lot was pretty empty which could have been because of the clouds and fog. There were only a few other cars at the trailhead and so we got out used the restroom, read the little informational kiosk, and grabbed a map which showed more trails than what I head read about and gave more information than my hiking book.
Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa
Welcome to the western edge of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. This site was home to the Chumash, Spanish Rancho El Conejo, and modern ranching and farming operations. Stroll through serene hills, view Boney Mountain or experience cultural traditions at the Satwiwa Native American Indian Cultural Center.
For many years, the Santa Monica Mountains sustained the Chumash and Tongva/Gabrielino cultures. Sycamore Canyon, which cuts through Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa, which means “the bluffs,” was the name of a nearby Chumash village. To reflect this heritage, Satwiwa Native American Indian Cultural Center and Natural Area was established. A Native American guest host or park ranger is on hand to answer questions from 9am to 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Native American workshops, programs and art shows occur throughout the year.
Rancho Sierra Vista
Local ranching history began in 1803 when former soldiers Jose Polanco and Ignacia Rodriquez were granted Rancho El Conejo by the King of Spain. Through the years, this 48,672 acre land grant was subdivided and sold to various landowners. modern ranching began here in 1937 when Carl Beal christened the area Rancho Sierra Vista. Carl Beal constructed the most current ranch buildings and hi house and barbeque pit in Sycamore Canyon. The last private landowner of this property was Richard Danielson. For 32 years, he and his family farmed and ranched here. The National Park Service purchased the property in 1980. The western boundary of present day Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa reflects the original land grant of the Rancho El Conejo.
We were off. First stop would be the Satwiwa Native American Cultural Center, it wasn’t open, but what I was most interested in was the semi-reconstructed dwelling. Lately, I’ve become more and more interested in Native American cultures and kinda of thought of this as a way for me to continue to keep exploring the subject. Had the cultural center been open I probably would have been tempted by books and I’ve been really good lately and just working through what I already have and not adding more to the mountain.
From there we headed out to the windmill across grassy fields where we saw five deer standing near the chaparral. The buck’s antler were starting to come in and were covered in velvet. It’s been months since we’ve seen deer so it was nice to take a few minute to watch them watch us.
We hiked down to the waterfall. Or maybe I should say where the waterfall should have been. Thanks to the lack of rain it was just a dried up creek bed. It was disappointing and all I could think was that our hiking trip had not taken very long. I wasn’t ready to hike back to the truck even if I was getting wet and muddy. So I checked the map and decided to head out the Hidden Valley Overlook Trail. Given the weather I didn’t think we would see more than 100 yards if we were lucky. But off we went.
The trail was empty and when we reached the end I was really surprised that I could actually see the Hidden Valley. I let the girls off the leash where the immediately rolled in the wet grass and boonie crashed through the brush and I took a few picture with my phone. I had left my camera at home in my purse. Great place for it huh?
It started to drizzle and my shoes were finally soaked through so I thought it might be time to return to the truck and head home. I let the girls run around and blow off some built up energy. Thankfully, Abby did very little in the way of full body tackles with Lexi, however Lexi still managed to poke herself in above her left eye. Nothing major thank god.
On our way back to the truck my sister called. Who knew you had cell reception? It was really weird to be talking on the phone and hiking. Usually, the places I’ve hiked in the past have no cell reception and the only reason I take my phone is for the camera.