Reyes Peak and Haddock Mtn.I tweaked my ankle last week so decided on a moderate hike for today. I have had these peaks on my list forever but due to the long drive and relatively short hiking time required they have been pushed back time and time again. Starting up the 33 from Ojai after Wheeler Gorge you can see the tips of the peaks and surprisingly I noticed that the southern chutes had snow in them which meant I was in for some May snow hiking.
The Pine Mtn. road had opened recently and there were a couple of campers at the campground with some small snow patches. The last .6 mile of driving is on dirt but had no snow just some large puddles to get through. I had once again barely looked at the directions for this hike as it was a ridge route. I knew right was to Reyes and left contoured around the peak to Haddock. I hadn't realized that this split happened after you left the remnants of the road. Instead I followed the old road down the south side of Reyes. The road kept on dropping and I knew something was amiss. I could see the highpoint of the ridge ahead of me and decided that the ridge leaving the road would probably get me there just as well versus a complete backtrack. There had been a fire in the area recently and parts of this ridge had been cut. Where it got too brushy on the apex, I jumped to the west side that had the tree cover and less brush. I finally made it to the main E/W ridge and climbed one last steep section where I found a large rock massif. Climbing to the top I was greeted with a bunch of benchmarks and some twisted metal. My pathfinder route had been a success.
On the other side of the rock I found the Reyes trail coming up. There was more patchy snow here as I followed another fire cut down the east side of Reyes to connect with the main ridge trail in about .5 mile. From here you follow what can be quite a narrow ridge mainly on the north side with lots of up and down action along good trail. The snow cover approaching Haddock became more and more but all of it was fresh and quite soft. This section of the range reminded me very much of the middle section of the San Gabes from Islip to Baden-Powell. Unfortunately much of this section did burn. I walked through a wide section of meadow as I got closer to Haddock and heard some noise to my right and saw a young juvenile bear scampering up the slope, first bear sighting of the year. The south escarpment by Haddock is awesome reminding me of Dragon's Head with a shear dropoff into Potrero John Creek. Haddock has a bunch of bumps and it is the third one that is the highest with a large rock standing sentry over the spot. The view from here was all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
The cloud cover had broken off and it was a balmy 60 sitting in what looked like a winter wonderland. The peaks are relatively popular but only a couple of parties had been up this year with the recent opening of the road. The hike back was much quicker, all on the trail, and I already noticed the snow melting rapidly, I'm sure it'll be gone by the weekend. The hike around the north side of Reyes is actually the most lush and very flat so a great hike for families.
The hike was about 9 miles with 3,000 feet elevation gain in 3.5 hours. Total drive time 4.5 hours.