Gary Valle's Photography on the Run
Images taken on trail runs, and other adventures, in the Open Space and Wilderness areas of California, and beyond. All content, including photography, is Copyright © 2006-2014 Gary Valle. All Rights Reserved.
# Monday, March 01, 2010

Winter into Spring the purple flowers of wishbone bush (Mirabilis californica) are found along sun-warmed sections of low elevation trails in much of Southern California.

The plant's common name refers to the stems of the plant, which are repeatedly forked.

From today's run in the Simi Hills.

Monday, March 01, 2010 10:28:22 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #   
# Sunday, February 28, 2010

View from Simi Valley to the Sea

Rain-washed skies resulted in some long views from Rocky Peak road this morning. Fifty miles to the west, the Channel Islands were easily seen, and to the east Santiago Peak could be seen above a layer of low clouds, some 75 miles distant.

From today's run from Corriganville to "Fossil Point" on the Bandit 30K course.

Sunday, February 28, 2010 8:40:51 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #   
# Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Chumash Trail, Simi Valley, California

The 2.5 mile run down the Chumash Trail is my favorite section of the Bandit 30K course. Mike Kuhn and the Rancho Simi Trail Blazers work hard to keep this single track trail in top shape. Th trail is technical, but fast, and the views are superb.

The Bandit course has a character all its own, with a great mix of spectacular scenery, challenging terrain, technical single track trails, and wide open fire roads. This year, the 14K course has been extended to 15K, turning around at the junction of the Chumash Trail and Rocky Peak Road.

The Bandit trail runs are coming up in two weeks -- Saturday, March 13. For all the details see the Bandit 30K/15K web site.

Update 12/09/10. The date of the 2011 Bandit 15K/30K is Sunday, February 20th. A 50K distance has been added! Here's a Google Earth flyover of the Bandit 30K course, created from a GPS trace of the 2010 race.

Photos are from today's run on the Chumash Trail.

Related post: Bandit 30K 2009

Thursday, February 25, 2010 10:50:05 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #   
# Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Winter Clouds and a Sycamore

From a January run in Malibu Creek State Park.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 3:28:39 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #   
# Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lang Ranch Open Space

Green hills, partly cloudy skies, and superb trail running in Lang Ranch Open Space, near Simi Valley California.

From today's run from Long Canyon to Simi Peak and China Flat.

Related post: Long Canyon to Simi Peak and China Flat

Sunday, February 21, 2010 4:31:32 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #   
# Sunday, February 14, 2010

From this morning's "see how worked my quads are after the Twin Peaks 50K" run at Sage Ranch.

The answer -- pretty worked!

Related post: Filaree

Sunday, February 14, 2010 4:07:44 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #   
# Saturday, February 13, 2010

It had been a long time since I was on the summit of Santiago Peak (aka Saddleback). The last time was in 1975, when I flew from the peak on a Sunbird "Butterfly" hang glider. That day had been spectacular, and this was turning out to be a spectacular day as well.

In the throes of an El Niño Winter, Southern California had been pummeled by a series of Pacific storms. With all the rain and snow it seemed unlikely that the Twin Peaks 50/50 would be run as planned. But the key access roads didn't wash out, most of the snow melted, and blue skies and great weather greeted runners race day morning.

Saturday, February 13, 2010 10:35:25 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #   
# Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The weather has calmed in Southern California. Medium range models are forecasting a break of about a week in what has turned out to be a very busy rain season. Over the last 90 days a precipitation pattern typical of El Niño has emerged in the western U.S. This is reflected in rainfall total for Downtown Los Angeles (USC), which is now at 13.2 inches for the water year -- 4.78 inches above normal.

The dry weather could not have come at a better time for those affected, or threatened, by mudslides and debris flows. This small slump along a road at Ahmanson Ranch is indicative of the instability that can develop when soil becomes saturated. Had our recent wet pattern been more persistent, mudslides and debris flows might have been much more widespread and devastating.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 10:22:28 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #   
# Tuesday, February 02, 2010

California peony (Paeonia californica)

California peony is fairly common in the Santa Monica Mountains and other lower elevation, open space areas of Southern California. It can be found in a variety of habitats, including Coastal Sage Scrub and Chaparral.

It is a perennial, and has adapted to our demanding climate by dieing back when conditions become hot and dry.   Its leaf growth tends to parallel that of annual grasses, and as these grasses become long, lush and green following early Winter rains, you'll usually find flowering peonies somewhere in the area.

From Saturday's trail run in Malibu Creek State Park.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010 8:22:44 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #   
# Saturday, January 30, 2010

View west from the Lookout Trail to the former site of the Reagan Ranch.

While running the Phantom Trail a couple weeks ago, it occurred to me that the Grassland, Talepop, Liberty Canyon and Phantom Trails could be combined with the Bulldog Loop to create a challenging -- and very scenic -- twenty-something mile trail run.

Just how much longer than twenty depends on which trails you use to connect the Phantom Trail to Crags Rd. I opted to use the Cistern, Lookout, Yearling, and Deer Leg Trails. This variation works out to a little more than 24 miles. Tack on an out and back to the Mesa Peak overlook and you have a marathon length scenic tour of Malibu Creek State Park!

Here's a Google Earth browser view of a GPS trace of my route.

The title photo is a view west from the Cistern Trail to the former site of the Reagan Ranch.

Note: Check for ticks when running here -- particularly in the Winter & Spring!

Related post: Malibu Creek State Park Shadow & Sun

Saturday, January 30, 2010 2:30:52 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #   
# Friday, January 29, 2010

Rocky Peak vernal pool

One of about a dozen vernal pools in the Rocky Peak area. More than just a puddle, these rainy season pools form as a result of the area's unique geology.

In my experience, excessive rainfall is not necessary for the pools to form. Normal month-to-month seasonal precipitation is usually sufficient. Their persistence depends on several factors, but in a season with normal to above average precipitation, the pools can last for several months.

From Wednesday's run on Rocky Peak.

Related post: Vernal Pool at China Flat

Friday, January 29, 2010 8:17:45 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #   
# Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Moon, Rocks and Clouds

From this evening's run on the Hummingbird Trail in Simi Valley, California.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 8:16:47 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #