Hiking in Ojai is one of my favorite pastimes, especially when it’s done early in the morning with friends or family, followed by a delicious lunch at Papa Lennons Pizzeria. I had been wanting to do this very long, very rigorous, 14 mile hike up to Nordhoff Peak for quite some time. This hike is very well known by locals, and is probably one of the toughest hikes you can find in Ojai. The pictures show just how much of a climb it is, reaching an elevation of 4,426 ft above sea level. Ojai is a valley, so from the town itself there is no way of seeing the ocean. Once reaching the top of one of the mountain ranges, the ocean, along with Lake Casitas, are clearly visible. These photos were taken in July, right around the time when the heat really started to pick up. My friends Tiffany, Harrison and I strategically decided to wake up at 6:00 AM to be sure we left for the hike around 7:15 in order to beat the heat. We made it back by about 1PM after having stopped at the top for some water, snacks, and a moment to take in the spectacular view.
As we were making our way up the windy trail and progressing deeper and deeper into the wilderness, we passed a sign that read “Likely to see bears and cubs– hike at your own risk.” Harrison had just been backpacking across the Sierra’s, and actually completed the John Muir Trail just weeks before. Although the sign quite literally made me panic at times, looking over my shoulder every few minutes to make sure a large black bear wasn’t trailing behind us, I felt more comfortable knowing that I was accompanied by a knowledgeable hiker who was obviously well trained and prepared to take on such an encounter if one were to happen. I surely wasn’t about to let a sign like that force me to turn around out of fear, considering I had driven home to Ojai the night before after having worked in LA all day and wanted nothing more than to successfully complete this hike. I would certainly recommend it to others, as long as they’re familiar with hiking and feel like they’re in well enough shape to push through the 14 miles. The pictures don’t do justice to how amazingly surreal the encapsulating the view from the top was!
- 9.21.13 – Gridley Trail to Nordhoff Peak Lookout (summitascents.com)