Monday, January 10, 2011

01-08-2011 Briggs Canyon

Last April, Megan, Mike, and I did a short exploration hike up a no name creek near Beaver Camp. Ever sense then I've wanted to go back, and explore some more. So Frank, and I prepared for a day-hike, and drove up the 33 to the Middle Sespe trailhead. For some reason (not thinking mostly) it didn't even occur to me that there might be snow up there. Soon after we started winding up the 33 past Ojai, we began to see tons of snow that had been plowed off the side of the road. I started cursing myself for not bringing more layers. It turned out to be fine though. Once we parked, and got moving, the actual temperature was pleasant. There was snow all over the ground.

The snow was really crunchy under our boots. The Sespe was flowing pretty briskly. The water temperature was 42F. Carefully we crossed the river. Then we made our way back up the no name creek I had been to before. Thanks to Craig Carey I now know that this creek runs through Briggs Canyon, best of luck finding a map with it labeled as such. Crunch, crunch, crunch, we hiked through the snow. After about half a mile the creek got rocky-er. There were a couple of small waterfalls that spilled into some nice little pools.

There was definitely some bushwhacking, and some stemming involved in getting up the creek. We even had to do a little edge work.

Slow and steady

We got to a narrow section in the rocks that had been frozen over. We got there at just the right time to see the melted water bubbling underneath the ice. It looked like the rock was alive.

As the elevation got higher, the snow on the ground seemed to melt away. Also the flow of the creek got less, and less. There was a small rock where the creek seemed to disappear into the ground.

The headwaters of Briggs Canyon Creek

A few hundred yards more and we were at the top of the creek. To the east I could see the sandstone formations of Rock Creek. But it was just to far away to try and connect to it. Immediately to our west was the before mentioned Rock Saddle. We tried to bushwhack over to it, but quickly lost our motivation.

The Rock Creek Rocks

Rocky Saddle

We found a good sized boulder to rest at. We had traveled a few miles, but from where we stood we could still see the 33 clearly.

As we made our way back I was struck by how beautiful the hike had been. This was one of the most pleasant day-hikes I have ever taken. Once we got past the Sespe we didn't see any signs of people, no trash, no footprints, nothing. On the way back we found a a neat little creek streaming in from the west. It had a interesting little cave.

We got back to the Sespe easily. We crossed the river, and headed back home. I loved this hike, and someday I'll come back and try to finish the loop.

Good Times