Jorge and Diana invited me to join them on a 22 mile hike to Old Man Mountain, north of Ojai.  Not having hiked such a long distance in one day for a while, I was a little hesitant but decided to take them up on it. 

I woke up at 3:45AM, got dressed, filled my pack with enough food and drink for the day, and drove to Jorge's and Diana's house where we got in their car.  After a quick stop at Starbucks for breakfast and coffee, we drove to the trailhead.

We started hiking at 06:30AM walking past the locked gate.  After a few hundred yards we noticed a very large cage with at 6 peacocks in it with their spectacular long feather tails.  A little further up, we crossed 2 creeks that did not have enough water in them to get our boots wet.  After about a mile, the road took a sharp left turn where we passed another locked gate.  When I caught up with Diana, she had taken one of her boots off and was hammering it with a large rock.  She explained that the boot has a sharp bump that was hurting her foot.  Jorge decided to help her with the task, and after about a dozen well pointed hits on the boot, the problem was solved!

The next three miles we walked uphill on the road through a nice forested area until we reached the Murrieta Divide, where we took a short break.  Taking a sharp right, we followed the road for another four miles, stopping for pictures of beautiful wildflowers and many baby horny toads we encountered.  The higher we went, the more we enjoyed the very large blooming lilac bushes.

Somewhere between the 8 and 9 mile mark is a large duck on the right side of the road, indicating the start of a use trail up the ridge to the west summit of Old Man Mountain.  Almost immediately after going up this trail we ran into an abandoned water tank and the trail disappeared.  Going through the brush for a little bit we ended back on the road we came from!  About a 100 yards further we decided going up the hill again, going through a grassy area until we hit the brush which became harder and harder to get through.  After a little while of bush-whacking we decided that there was no way to get through the thick brush all the way to the summit, and turned back to the road.  Back on the road, we hiked another 1.5 miles to the start of the north ridge of the Mountain. On the way we noticed a Western Giant Puffball Mushroom in the middle of the road.  These are edible, but we were not hungry enough to try it!  

We took a lunch break before going up the ridge to the summit.  This ridge had a well marked narrow use trail which was easy to follow.  The slope was covered with beautiful blooming lilac bushes.  Just below the summit the trail became quite rocky, and at one point Diana, who was leading, jumped back and yelled RATTLER!  The snake was hiding just below a large boulder and did not show himself.  After trying for a little while to make him move, we decided to bypass him instead through some rock hopping.  Shortly after, we made it to the summit, where we enjoyed great 360 degree views of the surrounding peaks and the channel islands in the distance.

After a while it was time to head down, and the rattle snake warned us again in the exact place we encountered him when going up.  We boulder hopped around him again and soon we were back at the road where we took a short break before heading back to the trail head.  On the way down, we again enjoyed the many flowers and Diana trying to catch a baby horny toad!  A little before reaching the Murrieta Divide we "climbed" a bonus peak, Peak, 4063, which took a whole of 2 minutes to reach!

The final 4 miles were uneventful.  The whole day we had not met any other people, but in the half mile we passed a few walkers out for a stroll.  At 6:15PM we were back at the cars and after a quick stop at McDonalds for some cokes and a chocolate shake we headed back home.   In all, it was a beautiful, if not long day on the trail!