September 2014 Newsletter
Pine Mountain vista point
Lanny (in green cap and shirt) pointing out Channel Islands from Reyes Peak (October 27, 2013).    Photo by John Griffith.
September 2014
Rondia on Pine Mountain
My hiking partner (and wife) Rondia literally standing on
top of Pine Mountain

Pine Mountain is calling to us

The silence is deafening (in a good way)

In what is becoming an annual tradition, we will visit majestic Pine Mountain this month to observe the changing of the seasons as summer gives way to autumn.

After carpooling from Ojai, we'll start walking into the Sespe Wilderness on the Reyes Peak Trail at about 10:30 a.m. and return to the trailhead at 1:30 p.m., arriving back at the Maricopa Plaza by 2:30 p.m. We will hike on a well-used trail through Jeffrey Pine, Ponderosa Pine, Sugar Pine, White Fir, and Incense Cedar, stopping often to identify and discuss native plants, birds, wildlife, and the ecology of the area.

According to Craig Carey, author of Hiking and Backpacking Santa Barbara and Ventura, the Reyes Peak Trail along the northern slope of the peak is “quite simply one of the most beautiful stretches in the southern Los Padres.”

This intermediate level hike is suitable for moderately experienced hikers or physically fit beginners. There will be some slight elevation gain and loss skirting the north side of Reyes Peak, sometimes across steep hillsides on a narrow trail. The total distance will be about 2 miles.

We will have spectacular views of the Cuyama Valley to the north and the Channel Islands to the south (marine layer permitting). The total distance will be about 2 miles. The Pine Mountain Nature Hike is another in a series of backcountry walks and hikes under a Special Use Permit from the Ojai Ranger District Office of the U.S. Forest Service designed for guides who provide recreational and interpretive services to the public.

Please visit the event listing to learn more and register. I hope to see you then!

Lanny on the trail
Photo by Lauren Ward.

Private Walks

These may be the perfect option for you

Every year I'm finding that more individuals and organizations are opting to take a private walk or hike with me on their own schedule so as to have my undivided attention and focus on specific topics. I am available year-round on weekdays or weekends for outings in the Ojai/Ventura area.

My hourly rates, both corporate and non-profit, are quite affordable and I can take up to 20 people for one hourly rate, potentially bringing the cost down to below the regular fee for a public Herb Walk or Nature Hike.

For more information, please contact me at

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Lanny and Dr. Adams on the Medicinal Plant Walk in May, 2014

Upcoming Events

"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe."  --  John Muir

Saturday, September 20: Fall Equinox Nature Hike on Pine Mountain

Saturday, October 11: Fall Medicinal Plant Walk with Dr. James Adams

Sunday, October 19: Nature Photography Herb Walk with special guest Bruce Vincent
Mediterranean Climate
"Mediterranean Climate" Part 3

    Native plants have it figured out

For the past two newsletters, I've been discussing the glorious Mediterranean climate in which we Ojai-ites, Venturanians, Angelenos, and Santa Barbarians live. In case you missed the first two installents, here is a link to the July newsletter for Part 1 and the August newsletter for Part 2.

The significance -- and potential downside -- of this climate for our native plants is that we typically experience at least 4 to 6 months of dry weather during our prolonged summer. How do our natives, especially those in the sun-soaked chaparral plant community, survive?

Sue Reinhart, local plant maven and creator of the Tri-County Medicinal Plant Cards, provided an explanation in a recent talk that she gave in Santa Barbara. She described 6 "drought tolerance adaptations" as follows:

1) Summer dormancy (e.g., Ferns)

2) Stiff or needle-like leaves (e.g., Oaks, Cacti, Ceanothus, Chamise, Toyon) A waxy coating helps leaves  conserve moisture and keeps them from creasing or drooping

3) Leaves that point edges to the sun (e.g., Manzanita)

4) White hairs or leaves (e.g., White and Purple Sage) The white hairs reflect heat.

5) Resinous or sticky coating (e.g., Yerba Santa)

6) Short early bloom season as seen in numerous annual wildflowers

If this drought keeps up we humans may be looking to the native plants for survival tips. Thankfully, Sue speaks their language.

Assemblymember Das Williams

As the drought wears on it  looks like we all have to exceed our previous expectations of how much water we can conserve. Our fine local State Assemblymember Das Williams (37th District), pictured, has provided a webpage to go to for lots of great ideas and resources. Just click on the title of this article for a link to that page.

Discount Code!!!

As our thank-you to you for opening and reading this newsletter, here is a discount code worth 10% off all items (except Gift Certificates) for the month of September at the Herb Walks Store.

Just click on the Herb Walks logo below to get the code, then copy and paste it when requested at checkout.
Discount code!
Bruce Vincent
Bruce and his partner Alexi photographed using his
tripod and timer

Introducing Ojai Naturalist Bruce Vincent

It's about time for you to meet "the most interesting man in the world" of Ojai

I can't think of anyone I would rather go hiking or camping with than Bruce Vincent. I've known Bruce for over 30 years and, withuout hesitation, I consider him to be one of the preeminent naturalists of our area.
So it is with great pleasure that I announce our first Herb Walks collaboration, a Nature Photography Herb Walk on Sunday, October 19.

Among Bruce's many talents and areas of expertise he is an excellent photographer, especially when it comes to the great outdoors. I'll tell you more about him and the event in the October newsletter. In the meantime, please visit the link in the paragraph above to learn more right now and pre-register. You can also visit Bruce at

Dr. James Adams

Dr. Jim is coming back in October

Mark your calendar or, better yet, register now to make sure you don't miss out

Always a favorite and likely to sell out as he did the last two times, Dr. James Adams of USC School of Pharmacy is gracing us with his presence again on Saturday, October 11, for a Medicinal Plant Walk. The location will be determined as the date gets closer but the content is certain to be informative and entertaining.

Watch for more about this special event in next month's newsletter.
Birdds of Southern California

New in the Herb Walks Store

Since our next event is a Nature Hike rather than an Herb Walk, I picked up some of these handy field guides for your enrichment and enjoyment. Birds of Southern California: A Guide to Common and Notable Species depicts 130 species in a waterproof fold-out format loaded with lots of information and beautiful digital photographs, designed for field study and specific for our area. I love mine and don't go hiking anymore without it.
J.D. Reyes

Jacinto Damien Reyes

Ever wonder how Reyes Peak came to have that surname attached to it?

Reyes Peak, our destination on Saturday, September 20, was named for Jacinto Damien "J.D." Reyes, who served as District Ranger of the Cuyama District in what is now the Los Padres National Forest. His 31 years on the district was considered at the time of his retirement in 1931 to be the longest stint by a Forest Service employee at any one station. Read more here.

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