Hike of the Week: Palo Comado/Chesebro Canyon/Shepards’ Flat Loop

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I am renaming this loop because I can’t exactly figure out what its true name is. Maybe it doesn’t have a name. This is how we approached it. (Again, I just follow Deb, but I am fondly recalling the hike via my memory and the photos I took of this gorgeous spot.) Here is where David of Nobody Hikes in LA, my hiking spirit animal, describes the approach from the opposite direction.

On a gorgeous Friday morning, we parked near the trailhead at Doubletree and Sunnycrest in Oak Park (take a right on Sunnycrest if you’re going north on Kanan). That trail leads you to Palo Comado Canyon fire road, and you can only go left or right.

We turned right and headed quickly left up the very steep fire road which takes you to Chesebro Canyon trail, through a wooded area and a non-smelly spot called Sulphur Springs. The terrain along this trail changes from rolling meadow, to oak covered creekside, to rocky desert. It’s breathtaking.

IMG_7535I was expecting to see characters from The Princess Bride pop out.

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IMG_7548It’s really not that steep. We figured that this sign is for bikers so they don’t bite it on that little drop-off ahead.

IMG_7556During the zombie apocalypse you can find me hiding up here.

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You have to watch your back though because this area is very popular with mountain bikers and trail runners. We saw a few women out that day but mostly it was good looking men. So, if you’re a single woman, this is may be a good spot to fake an injury and pick up an active guy. Or vice versa, of course. I’d hate to be thought of as sexist…

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Anyway, this trek takes you up to another crossroads at Shepards’ Flat. We took the Sheep Corral Trail to the west and turned south on Dead Cow Trail, which is a smaller trail that hugs a high ridge and meets up with Palo Comado Canyon fire road, which we took all the way back down to where we started.

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IMG_7581Dead Cow Trail

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IMG_7586That hill in the background was the first climb we tackled at the beginning of this hike.

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The loop, Deb calculated, was just about 7.5 miles long. The steep ascent at the very beginning made my legs work pretty hard, so I was sore for a few days. It took us about 4 hours, and we weren’t going very fast. Just enjoying the morning, and a well-deserved lunch after that.

Summer Camp at the Apple Store – FREE!

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insert your kid here

Did you know that Apple stores across the nation offer summer camp workshops for kids 8-12? Registration opened yesterday for these free sessions where campers work to create a film – first they create a story board, then shoot their own footage and create an original song in GarageBand on an iPad, and use iMovie to put it all together. Camp ends with a “Film Festival” where campers debut their masterpieces.

During the school year, the Apple stores offer Field Trips for K-12 students and teachers who can visit their local Apple Store to use Macs and iPads to work on class related projects. My second-grader’s class went to the store at The Oaks Mall in Thousand Oaks for a field trip this spring. The kids teamed up to make a film, and every student came home with a (too-big but super cool) T-shirt and a USB drive with his or her movie on it. Here is the movie my son made with his friend:

And here is an example of a Field Trip that took place this spring in Santa Monica, recorded by KTLA Los Angeles tech reporter Rich DeMuro:

The free workshops take place in 1.5-hour sessions over three days. The Oaks store still has room in their 12 scheduled sessions of Apple Camp, so sign up soon! Visit the main page to learn more.

Weekend Activity: Free Museum Visits!

My son, then 3, helps animals enter Noah’s Ark, two by two.  Photo by Lisa Kelly.

Several museums are opening their doors to SoCal dwellers for FREE this weekend as part of an event called Museums Free For All in Los Angeles that aims to encourage people to visit these fortresses of culture.

I mean, how many times can you stand taking the kids to Chuck E. Cheese when it’s raining?  I’m not gonna lie – I resort to a few hours at the mouse house on occasion, but I usually need a nap and a Vicodin afterwards.

Why not take this opportunity to branch out and learn something?  The Skirball Cultural Center is one of the participating locations.  Free admission and first-come, first-served access to the Noah’s Ark interactive exhibit for children both Saturday and Sunday.  See a full list of participating museums on Skirball’s site.