Rocky Peak, Hummingbird Trail, and the Simi Hills
This turned out ot be a really fantastic hike, perfectly timed -- the hills were basicly all sandstone, and the fresh rains resulted in lots and lots of beautiful little waterfalls. Even without the water, the sandstone was wildly eroded, with all sorts of dips and caves and deep cuts into the rock.
On the way up, we passed a creek that was running in a slot cut probably 15 feet deep into the sandstone. It was wonderful to hear it tinkling along down below us, and to have to carefully peer over the lip of the slot to actually see it.
Strangely enough, the mountains were were hiking through were a complete mix of dirt and rock. The rocks poked out everywhere, but there was enough earth for plenty of what our leader, Mary, called PLFs -- Pretty Little Flowers. It turned into a reasonably long hike -- all the more so, since most of us had taken at least a couple weeks off from hiking during the holidays -- that ended up at Rocky Peak.
I'd been slightly bummed that I wasn't going to be bagging a peak today, but it turns out the Rocky Peak is on the Lower Peaks list, so I did in fact get one. It wasn't clear which of the four or five largish rockpiles was actually the highest, so Brookes and I set out for the farthest off, rockiest summit, and bagged that, while the rest of the folks sat down to lunch. It turned out that there was a strange, six-pointed star painted up on the summit -- is this from Jewish pagans, or what?
On the way back, Mary showed us a cave formed by the falling boulders, not so far from the start of the hike. It was too wet and slippery to really go back in there, but I could imagine that during the summer it'd be the perfect cool picnic spot!