Statement of Purpose

Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.

With the above apropos admonishment from Mark Twain out of the way, I will provide somewhat of an explanation of my intention for the ruminations in this web log.

First, as is obvious from the title of this site, these writings and photographs concern the Los Padres National Forest; more specifically, the Southern Los Padres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.  This is home range for me and has been since I first poked around the old Matilija Lake campground as quite a young pilgrim in 1962. I began avidly hiking the Southern Los Padres sometime in the late 1960s.

North Fork Matilija Creek trail head, 1974

Matilija, 1974

Certainly into the late 1980s I did not picture a time when I would not be hiking the Los Padres. As happens in life, that which one did not imagine became reality. I stirred from my solipsistic fugue state at the turn of the first decade of the 21st century and realized that for more than 20 years I had been living the unimaginable. I had long had a vague internal dialog concerning a Los Padres return, but the context was poorly formed and without a conceptual framework.

The realization that in excess of 20 years had passed was not quite enough to bring clarity to a path for amelioration of my situation. I began somewhat idly perusing the Internet and discovered an amazing generation of adventure and scholarship centered around my old home range. Even that was not enough to fully stir me from my state of somnolence. Then I heard someone had re-discovered the site of Topatopa Lodge camp in Santa Paula Canyon. And there were pictures on Flickr. And an exceedingly well written blog¬†(in fact, if you are short of time and wish to read about Los Padres adventure and history, stop reading my drivel and go immediately to the Craig R. Cary blog). I will not at this time burden the reader with why this was so significant to me, but on its own, apart from my personal investment, the Topatopa Lodge feat was equivalent to locating King Tut’s tomb (OK; perhaps I have imbued this assignment of value with my non-rational perspective to some degree, but it is far less overstated than the uninitiated might assume).

And then it gelled. I would execute a plan: Return to the Southern Los Padres. I scanned my personal photo archive from my years ago Los Padres hiking and put it on line. The mission then became to revisit the places in those old photographs and take updated photographs and write about the process. The mission has begun.











2 thoughts on “Statement of Purpose

  1. Craig turned me onto your archive of photos a while back. I’ve enjoyed scanning through the images, comparing scenes of familiar areas with the current setting. I’m looking forward to following your blog and your photo-documentation of the changes to the forest over the last 20+ years.


  2. I’m the “admin” of a (closed) FB group called “The Other Ojai”. I have just posted a link to this site on it. We have just over 900 members, and you are cordially invited to send a “friend request” if you’d like to join. I grew up in Ojai, but have lived in France the past 30+ years, but get back regularly and do lots of hiking.

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