March 16, 2012: Hines Peak & The Topa Topa Bluffs, 22.4 Miles, +6200' of elevation gain. The plan was to get up to the Sierra's to some snowshoeing, but there was a potent winter storm that ended up dropping three to five feet of snow in the upper elevations. That same storm would drop a couple of feet on the local mountains as well. So, my window was to get a local hike in on Friday in advance of the storm. I wanted to get some miles and elevation gain in, so off to the Sespe Wilderness I went.
The trailhead is only forty five minutes from my house opposed to the two hour drive to the Gorgonio wilderness, so this really felt local. Hines Peak is 6,716' and my trailhead today is at 1,750'. I started at 8:30 am in a cool overcast canyon. Nothing to see for the first five miles but fog. The fog lifted at 4,500' and the views were pleasant. I have done this hike before so nothing out of the ordinary was expected or encountered. I made it to the summit of Hines Peak in four hours and enjoyed some Pop Tarts for lunch. The valleys below were shrouded in fog still. The views of the Topa Topa ridge to the east were impressive as was the view north to the Sespe River drainage.
I backtracked from the summit of Hines Peak and made my way back to the Topa Topa Bluffs. It is an easy walk up with great views of the swirling fog. Normally you get a grand view of the Ventura County plains and the Channel Islands, but not today, the fog wasn't having it. I made my way back to my truck and arrived at 4:30 for a nice eight hour jaunt in the Sespe Wilderness.
|Hines Peak Summit Ridge|
|Looking East From Hines Peak Summit|
|Hines Peak From Below Topa Topa Bluffs|