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February 2024 HerbWalks & OjaiHerbal Newsletter
Wheeler Gorge Nature Hike
Saturday, February 10
It's no surprise that this hike filled up quickly. Not to worry. We won't leave you high and dry. You can sign up for the waiting list by clicking on the photo above and/or register for the encore hike on Saturday, April 6.
Presidents' Day Afternoon Herb Walk
Monday, February 19
This has become an annual tradition, being able to provide a Monday event for those who work on weekends at a time of year when the short-lived spring greens can be found along San Antonio Creek in Goleta. Click on the photo above or read the article below to register.
 Full Moon Sunset Nature Hike & After-Party
Saturday, February 24
Read the article below or click here to about the next in our series of monthly full moon hikes. We are blessed to have such a special place here in "the valley of the moon" to see the moon rise and then have hot food and local herb-infused beer afterwards.
You can order my book by visiting this link or clicking on the book cover image above. Then at checkout you can use the “Order notes (optional)” field to request a simple autograph or a book signed to you or that special person who's receiving it as a gift. This personal touch is something not available when purchasing on Amazon. Plus you can support my authorship financially by buying directly from me. Thank you! 
If you're out and about at any of these outstanding businesses, you can find the book on the shelf: in Ojai at Evergreen WellnessFarmer & the Cook, Krotona Quest BookshopOjai Cannabis Company, Ojai Valley Brewery, Ojai Valley MuseumRainbow Bridge, Sespe Creek Collective, and Westridge Market Midtown; in Ventura at Ema's Herbs, Green Thumb NurseryTimbre Books, and Ventura Spiritsin Sun Valley at Theodore Payne Foundation;  in Goleta at Island Seed & Feed; and, among many other places, at REI stores and Barnes & Noble locations throughout California. (All store names above listed in alphabetical order)
If you own my book or you're considering it, here's another reminder to click on the following link for the free hyperlinked bibliography I created to save you the hassle of copying long URLs from the printed page to your browser for the web sources cited in the book.
Herb Walks Events
Pink-flowering Chaparral Currant on the Wheeler Gorge Nature Trail. Photo: Lanny Kaufer
Wheeler Gorge Nature Hike on Saturday, February 10
As we go to press, this hike filled up so I won't say much about it here except to invite you to visit the event listing at and learn all about it. Then you can either sign up for the waiting list or register for the encore hike on April 6 or both. 
Sunset from Pine Mountain 
Photo: Bryant Baker
Groups File Opening Arguments in Pine Mountain Logging Appeal
On December 22, a coalition of conservation groups filed their opening arguments in a federal appeals court, seeking to stop a controversial logging and chaparral removal project along Pine Mountain Ridge and Reyes Peak in the heart of the Los Padres National Forest.
The groups argue that the U.S. Forest Service should have prepared a detailed environmental study prior to approving the plan.
Read all about it at Los Padres ForestWatch.
 Indian Lettuce on San Antonio Creek Trail.  Photo: Ben Grangereau
Presidents Day Herb Walk on Monday, February 19

Please join me on Presidents’ Day afternoon, February 19, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. for an Herb Walk on San Antonio Creek Trail in Goleta. Scheduled on a Monday for the weekend warriors, this easy, family-friendly walk will include identifying, demonstrating and discussing the many uses of wild plants by foragers, herbalists, and naturalists seeking them out for food, herbal medicine, first aid, home remedies, survival, crafts, ceremony and more.


This time of year we can expect to find California Bay, Indian Lettuce, Mugwort, California Blackberry, Hummingbird Sage, Black Sage, and Chickweed, among others. Toxic plants such as Poison Oak and Poison Hemlock will also be identified.


To read more and register, click on this link.

After closing for a year of repairs, Highway 33 North into the Los Padres National Forest out of Ojai is open again although there may be temporary closures during or just after storms for cleaning up slides and debris.
The completed work once again provides access to the Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center, Wheeler Gorge Nature Trail, and most of the Ojai Ranger District (ORD) of the Los Padres National Forest, although the current Forest Closure Order limiting some campground and trail access is in effect through August 31, 2024., or until further notice. Ojai Ranger District closures are limited to Matilija Canyon where the Matilija Canyon Road is still closed by CalTrans.
Pine Mountain campgrounds and trailheads and
Nordhoff Ridge Road are closed for the winter season and will reopen in May 2024. All Ojai District campgrounds are closed.
For the latest complete info on Ojai District road closures, trails, campgrounds, permits and more, click on the USFS logo above. You can navigate to the. Santa Barbara district and others from there.
The Ojai Ranger Station/District Office is now open Thursday through Saturday from 9:00am - 2:00pm.
Photo: Carla Cahill
Full Moon Sunset Nature Hike & After-Party  on Saturday, February 24

Do you believe in the stars aligning in your favor? Well, then how about the moon aligning? It does just that when it rises Saturday evening, February 24, on a night when the Ojai Valley Brewery (OVB) has a food truck onsite.  My wife Rondia and I will lead a Full Moon Sunset Nature Hike to a vista point above the Ojai Valley where we can watch the sun set and the  full moon rise at about 6:30 p.m., giving us a nice window of time to take it all in and still make it to OVB while hot food is available.


Why the Ojai Valley Brewery in particular? Because brewmasters Jeremy Haffner and Griffin Davis create delicious lager-style beers, ales and stouts with some of the same aromatic Ojai herbs we meet on our herb walks and nature hikes.


To read more and register, click on this link.

Aloe season at Taft Gardens. Photo: Joseph Sohm
Book a Self-Guided Visit to Taft Gardens at 50% off! 
Although Guided Events won’t return to Taft Gardens until March (including my Spring Equinox/St. Patrick's Day Walkabout on Sunday, March 17), I've been given permission to offer you a discount code to book a Self-Guided Visit Tuesday-Saturday, weather permitting, to enjoy the gardens. Aloes are a highlight of the South African section and this year is turning out to be another spectacular aloe flowering season! 
Click here or on the photo above, then on the black box labeled BOOK YOUR SELF GUIDED VISIT, and enter the coupon code ALOE2024 to receive 50% off your Self-Guided Visit through February 29th, 2024. 
Other Local Events of Interest
Chart designed by Rosalee de la Forêt. Click to enlarge.
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