Today I spent some time exploring a section of Los Padres National Forest nearby. The border is only about three miles from my current campsite near Fillmore, California, so I didn’t need to travel far. The terrain is extreme, very mountainous and with no developed campgrounds in this section of the park. Camping is permitted just about anywhere, but good luck finding a level spot of ground for setting up a tent or a camper.
The weather was comfortable at 68 degrees and mostly sunny – really nice for early March for me, but it’s normal here in southern California. When you are driving or hiking to higher elevations remember this rule of thumb: The temp drops 3-1/2 degrees for every thousand feet of elevation. Take this into account and you’ll be ready for changes in the weather. Also, campers and hikers are used to layering, adding or removing clothing as the day – or the exertion level – warms up or cools off.
Los Padres is a beautiful but challenging destination for the intrepid hiker or camper. A bit of research will be invaluable before you leave civilization and head into the mountains. And it’s all mountains.
Oh, a footnote is in order here. If you do a Google Maps search of this area, you’ll see a spot named the “Sespe Condor Sanctuary”. Don’t get excited; there are no condors out here. There used to be a few of the giant birds, due to the efforts of a few scientists and nature lovers, but their efforts proved futile. It’s a long story.