Reyes Peak

Snow Flower (Sarcodes sanguinea) just starting to bloom on Reyes Peak

8 MAY 2021 W6/CC-005

I’d tried to hike up Reyes Peak late last year only to find that Pine Mountain Road was closed. This year it opened a bit early, so my brother Mark and I had a foggy mid-morning start up Highway 1 around Point Mugu. We left the marine layer stratus behind as we climbed Highway 33 out of Ojai.

The hike is short – just under a mile – with a little over 500′ of elevation gain. I had good reception from Verizon, but my brother did not have any reception with the same carrier. That one had us scratching our heads.

Radio conditions were pretty tough, but I did manage 11 contacts – including one summit-to-summit with N3BZ on Squaw Mountain in Arizona and a park-to-park with W0YES in North Dakota.

I first climbed Reyes Peak on April 25, 1981. I went back and did it again on the way to Haddock Mountain with Cassie KG6MZR and my faithful mountain dog, Chauncey Gardner. On this trip, the view of the Cuyama River Valley and Mount Pinos/Sawmill/Cerro Noestre to the north was quite clear. It was hazy to the south but there were great views of Hines Peak and the Topotopo Ridge, Ortega Peak and even breakers south of Ventura and Diablo Peak on Santa Cruz Island. Haddock Peak dominates the east with a nice view of Cobblestone Mountain just peeking through the trees.

This was a former fire lookout – circa 1925 – a 14′ x 14′ wooden structure that burned in the “rampaging Matilija Fire in September of 1932.” Very little remains.

The Reyes Peak Lookout

A bit of history from the Hundred Peaks Section:

“Named for Rafael Reyes (ca.1834-1890), who settled with his family at the mouth of Reyes Creek (1854). Drought forced them to move from their Rancho Triunfo (2 miles southeast of Thousand Oaks) to the Cuyama Valley in search of better grazing conditions. They managed to transfer 2000 cattle and 1000 horses through the Tejon Pass.

He is also remembered for his odd insistence that his was the property that once contained the fabulous Lost Padres Mine! But alas, he swore that its (imaginary?) deposits of limitless silver and gold dropped before his very eyes into cavernous fissures that opened and closed during a series of earthquakes before he could exploit his find.

Jacinto Reyes, his son, was almost as legendary as USFS District Ranger of the old Santa Barbara National Forest (1901-32). He became known as the “Dean of California Rangers”. In those days it sometimes took ten days for messages to get through to his remote post in Cuyama, but Reyes and his famous mule (who would work for no other), were frequently at the center of daring rescues and famous manhunts. In 1910 alone he almost single-handedly planted 163 acres with Jeffrey Pine in the Lockwood and Piru areas.”

The station looking south.
The rocky peak down the ridge is Haddock Mountain. The Topotopo Ridge and Hines Peak are to the right and you can just see Cobblestone Mountain to the left through the trees
Evidence of Scott’s WA9STI SOTA activation last year. The registers went back to 2016.
Cuyama Peak and Caliente Mountain in the distance to the northwest.

Published by wringmaster

I'm a graphic artist in the movie business. When I was a kid I got interested in astronomy. When it would get too cloudy to observe the heavens, my buddy and I would sit at the VFO of his Hallicrafters S 38c like safe crackers trying to coax faraway signals out of that humble radio. My love of astronomy and radio survive to this day fifty+ years later.

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