Today was supposed to be 2 easy hikes to peaks in Ventura county.  Diana and Jorge invited me to join them on these HPS peak climbs.  To get there, you first drive through a large area specifically designed as a playground for off-road dirt bikes and ATV's.  Once you pass this area, the road becomes a dirt road,which we followed for about 5 miles to a junction where we made a left turn which took us to a dead end.  When we turned around  going up a very steep part, the truck got stuck!  For about an hour we tried  using the floor mats and rocks around the wheels for traction, but nothing worked,  The wheels just kept spinning.  We tried calling the park rangers, but no one was answering the phone.  Jorge suggested to run down the mountain and get some help,  but in a last ditch effort we jacked up one of the front wheels and put some large rocks underneath it so that wheel would have traction.  Jorge slowly backed up the truck, and miracle of miracle the truck broke free!!

After some clean-up we decided to continue to  the trailhead for Alamo Mountain, which was about 4.5 miles away.  From the trailhead it was a 1 mile hike to the summit, having to clamber over many burned trees.  At the top we took a short snack break and some pictures.  On the way down I noticed a deer hopping over the fallen trees.  It had a very dark almost black coat.  Diana told me that they change color after a forest burn to blend in with the environment.

Back at the truck, we drove to the trail head of McDonald Peak. With about 1 mile to go, the road was blocked by a large tree that had fallen down the hillside. Another bummer!  Determined to get at least two peaks in for the day, we decided to hike up the road and up the ridge to the summit of McDonald Peak .  The peak provided some beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and canyons.  The hike back down was quick,  and after changing into some fresh clothes Jorge backed up the truck to an area where the road was wide enough to turn the truck around.  The drive back to civilization went without a hitch!  We celebrated our safe return with chocolate shakes and coca cola!  On Sunday Jorge had to clean the truck, trying to get rid of all the sand that had collected in the engine compartment.  Fortunately there was no damage done to the underside, so all ended well!