Refocus/ Mount Pinos and Sawmill Mountain, Los Padres National Forest

Where is the blog heading to now?

Sometimes I shift the focus of the blog from insights, creative writing, and photography; however, I continually refocus to find more specific things I want to write about. From now on, the blog will focus on the pursuit to devour life. The blog is now focusing on places YOU can go to (mostly) in a day and live an adventure. Also, I believe life is an art, so photography is a big component of all my adventures and I’ll share the photography aspects of these trips as well (either in the posts or in the photo gallery tab).  Life, its an endeavor to live because it isn’t easy for anyone. In my short twenty-three years of life, I realize it’s important to squeeze out the flavorful juices the world has to offer, and since I tend to feel like I have a busy life I want to challenge myself to continue the endeavor and write about it. Most of my posts will be about recent places I’ve been to, and places that are accessible for people in Southern California. Also, I want to say thank you to those of you who’ve been following my blog, you rock! Now. . . for the post.

Location

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Frazier Mountain Park Road

From Los Angeles, the drive to Mount Pinos and Sawmill Mountain is about a 100 mile drive north depending from where in L.A county you may be driving from, but the drive is pretty much all done on the I-5 North until you reach exit 205 Frazier Mountain Park Road in Kern County. It’s not a bad trip at all, and the hike can be done easily even if you leave L.A around 10 a.m. If you’re on a road that reminds you of that hipster film Into the Wild then you’re on the right track.

The Hike

If you’ve never summit a mountain, this is a pretty scenic and fun hike to do. Also, you’re in luck because you get to summit two! It’s a moderate hike for those of you who aren’t used to trekking the outdoors. I would recommend starting here if you want to get into hiking. Altogether, the hike is about a 7.4 mile round-trip.  Sawhill-7

There are lots of good spots for bird watching. You’ll mostly get little guys like this blue bird in the photo. But there are several open spaces throughout this hike where you can see birds of prey like the California Condor flying around.Sawhill-19

The weather was slightly cloudy when I went, but It created some nice views for photography. The meadows on this hike are nice places to relax under the clouds, and maybe do some writing or meditation. Get your inner hippie out you know? During Spring and early Summer you can even enjoy some nice wild flower blooms. And, for the photographers out there, its a good hike for bugs, landscapes and, closeups of nature’s art.

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Selective Shot of a Monarch Butterly  (bugs)

 

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Backpackers and the Mountain Range (landscape)
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Metamorphic Rock (nature’s art)

Before you know it, you’ll be at the top of Mount Pinos at 8,848 feet, which sounds like a lot, but keep in mind you drive most of the way to the top of the mountain. The top of the mountain may not actually seem like a peak either. There is some sort of cell tower up there, but it doesn’t take any beauty away from nature if anything the contrast between nature and the manmade shows how remote the location is.

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Mayhieu

The peak offers some breathtaking views of California. If you don’t have any motivators to get out into the great outdoors then this should be one of them. It’s a clear blue sky. There’s no smog, no noise, no traffic, and no cell reception. It’s just you and mother nature.

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I later found out that day from a wise old U.S Forest Service sign that this land used to belong to the Chumash Indians, and Mount Pinos was their sacred shrine! It’s beautiful, so no wonder it was sacred to them. They actually believed that it was the center of their cosmos. Far out!

The second half of the hike is the most demanding, so I didn’t get many opportunities to snap photos. You get a sharp decline then a sharp incline and you make it to Sawmill Mountain. The trail is filled with rocks and thorny bushes, but it’s not as terrible as it sounds because you might run into some deer and on a different occasion my friend Mayhiue ran into a black bear cub.

Once you get to the top of Sawhill Mountain, you get another great reward– the Chumash Spirit Tower.

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Chumash Spirit Tower: Inner Hippie
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Inner Ninja

I’m not sure about the history of this cool Icon, but this was the first time I’ve ever seen anything like it. The flags connected to the tower had Buddhist symbols on them, so I don’t know if it’s a true symbol of the Chumash or if it’s a symbol of coexistence of people with differing religious viewpoints. All I can really say is that it’s impressive. It’s nice to take a break here, reach for your inner hippie or ninja (whatever your soul is feeling), practice some action shots with your camera, or bask in nature. If you get lucky, you may even hear the wind blow through the forest. It almost sounds like the spirit of the forest is howling.

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