Posted by: James Wapotich | February 9, 2017

Backpacking Made Easy

Backpacking class instruction workshop Santa Barbara hiking trails Los Padres National Forest wilderness

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Backpacking class instruction workshop Santa Barbara hiking trails Los Padres National Forest wilderness

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Through this class, you will learn the basic skills and awareness to set out on our local trails and craft your own backpacking trips. Many of these skills can also be used for day hiking as well.

This class is unique in that it takes place on our local trails. As the best place to learn something is in the context in which it applies, in this case outdoors. You’re also probably interested in backpacking because you want to get out on the trails and experience nature more. 

Past participants have said: “James and Sierra make a perfect team. They made the richness of the backcountry accessible to me, even though I started with very little experience. They helped open me to a level of connection with nature I had never experienced.”

“The best part was the combination of practical skills and teaching with the nature connection, as the two together inspired the confidence that I can do this.”

In general, the class covers three main areas: wilderness navigation; nature connection; and gear/trip planning.

Our approach to wilderness navigation is also somewhat unique. You will learn route-finding and orienteering skills that are not dependent on having a GPS or compass. While we do use these tools on occasion, knowing how to navigate without them can help build the confidence to hike anywhere.

Nature connection is also a big part of our time out on the land. For many of us, the whole point of carrying gear out into the wild is to immerse ourselves in the elements and feel a deeper sense of connection with the natural world around us.

We will cover the gear basics and provide insights into how to evolve your own gear set. You don’t need to buy the latest gear in order to head out into the backcountry; what’s more important is to have the basics covered so that you can get out there and get started.

Backpacking Made Easy

March 11 – 25

Santa Barbara and Ojai are home to a variety of incredible backpacking destinations, and yet, often the biggest obstacle is simply having the knowledge and skills to get started.

Through this immersive workshop, you will learn the basic skills needed to comfortably explore and enjoy our local trails.

Hot springs, waterfalls, epic views, and unspoiled wilderness are just some of the rewards for those who are willing to make the journey.

Each class takes place outside, on one of our local trails, and provides a mix of hands on instruction, immersive exercises, and council sharing circles that allows for learning on many levels.

Lay of the Land
March 11th 9AM-3PM

Learn how to orient yourself to the local landscape, and begin learning the skills and awareness that will help you remove the word lost from your vocabulary. Become familiar with maps and creating your own mental maps. Learn about the different gear options and how to choose equipment that suits you.

Nature Connection
March 18th 9AM-3PM

Venturing out onto the land is even more enjoyable when we take time to develop a meaningful connection with it.

Learn to see the natural world around you as an ally, rather than an obstacle to overcome, and shift your hikes from feeling like endurance contests to journeys of discovery. And learn how to feel at home in the woods. Practical skills include trail navigation, menu planning, personal care and basic first aid skills.

Pathfinding
March 25th 9AM-3PM

Many of our local trails are overgrown, particularly those off the beaten path. Learn how to read the trails, practice route-finding, and develop your own sense of “body radar” to help you navigate in the wilderness. Practical skills include trip planning, campsite evaluation, water assessment, and camp set up.

Optional Free
Overnight Backpacking Trip
April 1-2

For those who are interested, we will help organize a free, optional backpacking trip. Here’s a chance to put all these great skills to use, and build on the material covered so far.

Length of the hike and destination for the overnight trip to be determined according to current conditions and the capabilities of the participants.

Guides:

James Wapotich is a Volunteer Wilderness Ranger with the Forest Service and the author of the Santa Barbara News-Press hiking column, Trail Quest. James leads guided hikes and has hiked many of the trails in our local backcountry.

Sierra Boatwright is a UC Certified California Naturalist, council facilitator, and nature connection guide. An alumna of Pacific Crest Outward Bound School, Sierra has backpacked in the Appalachians, Sierras, and our local backcountry.

Workshop is $225 per person, or bring a friend and both 20% off.
Limit 12 students. Must be able to comfortably hike 3-4 miles.

To sign up or for more information please contact:

James (805) 729-4250 jwapotich@yahoo.com
Sierra (805) 708-4058 seraphimasierra@yahoo.com

Posted by: James Wapotich | February 9, 2017

Hiking Santa Barbara’s Wilderness Trails

Hiking Backpacking Santa Barbara Wilderness Trails Los Padres National Forest

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Hiking Santa Barbara’s Wilderness Trails

Free Slideshow Presentation with Q&A

Wednesday, March 1st, 7:00PM
Karpeles Manuscript Library
21 W. Anapamu St., Santa Barbara, CA

Santa Barbara County is home to more than a quarter million acres of designated wilderness. Within these wild lands are waterfalls, quiet meadows, homestead sites, and miles of trails to explore. This talk will highlight a number of backpacking and day hike routes through this rich and ever changing landscape that’s right next door to where we live.

Join local author James Wapotich as he shares images, stories, and trail conditions from his treks through our local backcountry. James has hiked many of the trails in the southern Los Padres National Forest. He is a Volunteer Wilderness Ranger with the Forest Service, and is the author of the Santa Barbara News-Press hiking column, Trail Quest.

For more information call (805) 729-4250 or email jwapotich@yahoo.com

Posted by: James Wapotich | February 7, 2017

Trail Quest: Hiking above Seven Falls

Hiked above Seven Falls weekend before last. A nice off trail scramble to see the famous series of pools and cascades, as well as the lesser known three pools above Seven Falls. All the falls are flowing, however the waterslide at the uppermost of the three pools is currently unusable due to the pool being silted up; the water is not even knee deep at the very base of the slide.

 

Article appears in Section A of the February 6th, 2017 edition of Santa Barbara News-Press.

Older articles can be seen by scrolling down or using the search feature in the upper right corner. Articles from the News-Press appear here a couple months after they appear in the paper.

Posted by: James Wapotich | February 1, 2017

Trail Quest: Wildlife camera tracking with David Lee

I’ve been looking at getting a couple of wildlife cameras to take with me into the backcountry and stumbled upon David Lee’s camera tracking class. David is a local wildlife biologist who’s been putting wildlife cameras at various locations in the Ventura/Ojai area such as the Ventura Hills and Ventura River Preserve. Over the past four years he’s captured images of everything from coyotes, bobcat, bears, mountain lions, foxes and deer to various birds and even ringtails with his cameras.

David’s next class will be Thursday, March 2nd, at the Carpinteria Public Library, for more details or to see some of his photos and videos go to www.venturawildlifeguru.net.

Article appears in Section A of the January 30th, 2017 edition of Santa Barbara News-Press.

Grey Fox David Lee wildlife camera tracking trapping Ventura River Preserve Ojai Valley Land Conservancy

Grey fox photographed at Ventura River Preserve, image courtesy David Lee

Older articles can be seen by scrolling down or using the search feature in the upper right corner. Articles from the News-Press appear here a couple months after they appear in the paper.

ringtail cat david lee wildlife camera tracking trapping ventura river preserve Ojai Valley land conservancy

Ringtail photographed at Ventura River Preserve, image courtesy David Lee

David Lee wildlife camera tracking trapping Big Rock Preserve Ventura River

David Lee installing a wildlife camera along the Ventura River at Big Rock Preserve

Posted by: James Wapotich | January 23, 2017

Trail Quest: Refugio to Gaviota, Part 2

Hiked from Refugio to Gaviota a couple of weeks ago. The hike is about 9.5 miles one way and is best done as a shuttle trip. A minus tide is best as it more or less eliminates the need to worry about the route being passable. Lots of great scenery along the way. Part 1 covers from Refugio to the train trestle at Arroyo Hondo. Part 2 covers from there to Gaviota.

Article appears in Section A of today’s edition of Santa Barbara News-Press.

Gaviota Coast beach walk hike low tide Refugio Arroyo Hondo

Scenery along the Gaviota Coast

Older articles can be seen by scrolling down or using the search feature in the upper right corner. Articles from the News-Press appear here a couple months after they appear in the paper.

Posted by: James Wapotich | January 17, 2017

Trail Quest: Refugio to Gaviota, Part 1

Hiked from Refugio to Gaviota weekend before last, about 9.5 miles one way. Part 1 covers from Refugio to the train trestle at Arroyo Hondo. Part 2 will take it the rest of the way to Gaviota.

Article appears in Section A of the January 16th, 2017 edition of Santa Barbara News-Press.

Older articles can be seen by scrolling down or using the search feature in the upper right corner. Articles from the News-Press appear here a couple months after they appear in the paper.

Refugio State Beach Tajiguas Gaviota Coast hike Santa Barbara Goleta

View looking west near Tajiguas Beach

Tajiguas Beach Gaviota Coast Refugio walk hike Santa Barbara Goleta

Tajiguas Beach

striped thin-line shore crab gaviota coast refugio state beach walk hike

A striped or thin-lined shore crab watches from the rocks

Posted by: James Wapotich | January 9, 2017

Trail Quest: The Big Three

Visited the Big Three over Christmas Weekend. Hiked in the rain the first day, which turned to snow in the middle of the night, and so was treated to snow in the mountains. On the second day hiked down to Santa Cruz Peak, and on the last day visited San Rafael and McKinley Mountains. These three peaks are collectively known as The Big Three and are three of the 15 peaks in Santa Barbara County over 5,000 feet on the Sierra Club’s Hundred Peaks List..

Article appears in Section A of today’s edition of Santa Barbara News-Press.

Older articles can be seen by scrolling down or using the search feature in the upper right corner. Articles from the News-Press appear here a couple months after they appear in the paper.

San Rafael Mountain 100 peaks hike trail wilderness Mission Pine Los Padres National Forest snow

The top of San Rafael Mountain is seen from Mission Pine Trail

McKinley Mountain Mission Pine Trail 100 peaks hike backpacking Los Padres National forest snow

McKinley Mountain is seen from Mission Pine Trail

Santa Cruz Peak Fire Trail hike 100 peaks Los Padres National forest

Santa Cruz Peak is seen from McKinley Mountain

Mission Pine Trail hike San Rafael Wilderness Los Padres National Forest snow

Snow covered pines are seen from Mission Pine Trail

MIssion Pine Trail hike snow San Rafael Wilderness Los Padres National Forest

Snow covered ridge is seen from Mission Pine Trail

Posted by: James Wapotich | January 2, 2017

Trail Quest: Five places to explore in 2017

I was asked to write a 5 hikes/trails for 2017 type article for the new year. The five trails I picked were Matilija Falls (because the access issue has been resolved), Ellwood Mesa (because it’s butterfly season), Pelican Bay (because the Channel Islands duh, and because foxes are cute), Indian Canyon (unique/remote backcountry destination), and Mount Pinos (as with the islands a great summertime destination when the rest of the backcountry is too hot enjoy – also highest mountain in our area).

Article appears in Section A of today’s edition of Santa Barbara News-Press.

Matilija Falls West trail hike access creek ojai Los Padres national forest

Matilija Falls

Older articles can be seen by scrolling down or using the search feature in the upper right corner. Articles from the News-Press appear here a couple months after they appear in the paper.

monarch butterflies coronada main grove eucalyptus ellwood mesa goleta hike trail

Monarch butterflies gather on eucalyptus trees near Devereux Creek at Ellwood Mesa

Santa Cruz Island jay hike trail pelican bay prisioner's harbor Channel Islands national park

Santa Cruz Island jay

Santa Cruz Island fox hike trail pelican bay prisoner's harbor Channel Islands National Park

Santa Cruz Island fox

Indian Canyon Falls creek maiden pool Dick Smith Wilderness trail hike backpacking Los Padres National Forest

Indian Canyon Falls

Mount Pinos pines hike trail Chumash wilderness backpacking Tumamait Trail Los Padres National Forest

Pines grace the hillside along Tumamait Trail

Jeffrey Pines sheep camp north fork lockwood tumamait trail hike backpacking chumash wilderness los padres national forest

Jeffrey Pines are seen near Sheep Camp

Tumamait Trail hiking backpacking chumash wilderness los Padres National Forest

Scenery along Tumamait Trail near Cerro Noroeste

Posted by: James Wapotich | December 28, 2016

Trail Quest: Big Caliente Hot Springs

Backpacked to Big Caliente Hot Springs weekend before last while the road was closed and had the place all to myself. Soaked under the stars at night, and then with the nighttime temperatures dropping below 30 and into the 20s, felt the need to take another long soak in the morning to thaw out.

When the road is closed it’s about 18 miles roundtrip from the nearest trailhead. Hiked in via North Romero Trail to Blue Canyon and then along the road to Rock Campground, lots of great scenery along the way.

Article appears in Section A of the December 26th, 2016 edition of Santa Barbara News-Press.

Agua Big Caliente Hot Springs Rock Campground hiking backpacking Santa Barbara backcountry Los Padres National Forest pendola

Creekside pools at Big Caliente Hot Springs

Older articles can be seen by scrolling down or using the search feature in the upper right corner. Articles from the News-Press appear here a couple months after they appear in the paper.

Agua Caliente Canyon Big Caliente Hot Springs Los Padres National Forest hiking backpacking Santa Barbara Los Padres National Forest

Agua Caliente Canyon

sierra blanca limestone Blue Canyon Trail hike Santa Ynez River Los Padres National Forest

Outcropping of sierra blanca limestone along Blue Canyon Trail near the Santa Ynez River

North Romero Trail Blue Canyon hike backpacking Santa Barbara los padres national forest

Blue Canyon is seen from North Romero Trail

Posted by: James Wapotich | December 19, 2016

Trail Quest: Montecito’s Olive Mill Grove

Hiked the Peter Bakewell Trail last week. The trail follows an easement through the undeveloped property south of Casa Dorinda. The oak grove there is part of the former Gould estate as are the olive trees. George Gould’s neighbor to the south, William Gould, operated the Olive Mill that gives Olive Mill Road its name.

Article appears in Section A of today’s edition of Santa Barbara News-Press.

olive mill road trees oak grove Gould Casa Dorinda Peter Bakewell Trail hike Montecito

Olive trees from the Gould estate are seen from Peter Bakewell Trail

Older articles can be seen by scrolling down or using the search feature in the upper right corner. Articles from the News-Press appear here a couple months after they appear in the paper.

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