Rare Snow Experienced in the Conejo Valley on Thursday, February 21, 2019

boneysnow.JPG

A rare appearance of snow was enjoyed in many sections of the Conejo Valley yesterday, fed very cold temperatures and a storm that migrated here from Canada. There were reports of brief snow encounters by folks in Agoura Hills, Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, Newbury Park, Calabasas and other cities, including Malibu!

At my home, there was rain, there was sleet, and then there was snow. The snow appeared briefly before melting away.

According to the National Weather Services Forecast Office Los Angeles/Oxnard, “the last significant and widespread measurable snow in the Los Angeles and Ventura County valleys was on February 8, 1989, when up to five inches of snow fell in portions of the San Fernando Valley westward to Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley.”

It was a wonderful, memorable sight.

Boney Snow 2.21.19 3.JPG
Boney Snow 2.21.19 2.jpg

Hillside Letters "SP" on South Mountain in Santa Paula

Santa Paula SP 1.JPG

When driving southbound in Santa Paula, look up towards the mountain south of the city (aptly named South Mountain) and you’ll see the letters SP boldly emblazoned high up on the hill that overlooks the Santa Paula Airport.

According to the Santa Paula Times, the letters are 125 feet long and 25 feet wide and originated in the 1922 time frame when a group of high schooler made the trek up the mountain.. The letter

The brush was cleared annually over the years until the 1970s; for decades thereafter, the brush overgrew the letters and made them difficult to see.

Then, as part of the city’s centennial celebration in 2002, the Times noted that Limoneira Co. and other volunteers and donors worked to clean up the letters for all to see.

Santa Paula SP 2.JPG

Santa Paula is not alone in its mountain monogram. Other local area cities with monograms include Agoura Hills (there’s a letter A in the hill north of Agoura High School), the letters CLU emblazoned on the hill overlooking Cal Lutheran University, the letter F in the hills east of Fillmore, the letter V in the hills above Ventura High School and the letters VC in the hills above Ventura College.

Of course, the most prominent icon landscaped into a hill in Ventura County is Happy Face Hill seen by westbound drivers on the 118 near Kuehner Drive.

Happy Face Hill in Simi Valley - sure to bring a smile to your face.

Happy Face Hill in Simi Valley - sure to bring a smile to your face.

Powerline Trail to Edison Road to Conejo Mountain Peak in Newbury Park

View of Boney Mountain range from midway up the Powerline Trail in Newbury Park.

View of Boney Mountain range from midway up the Powerline Trail in Newbury Park.

While you're driving down the Conejo Grade from the Conejo Valley towards Camarillo, you may wonder what that mountain is south of the 101.  This would be the 1,814 foot tall Conejo Mountain.

So how do you get up there? 

There are no "official" marked trails to the peak of Conejo Mountain, but there are unofficial ways to get up there. One way that I'm aware of us via the Powerline Trail to Edison Road Trail in the Dos Vientos section of Newbury Park. 

Get to the Powerline Trail trailhead located on Via Ricardo, west of Via Pisa. Park on the street. Or for added trail mileage, park at Dos Vientos Community Park and take the short (1/2 mile) Park View Trail until it ends at Via Ricardo, where you'll see a crosswalk to the Powerline Trail on the other side.

Follow the Powerline Trail on a single to double tract trail until it reaches the much wider Edison Conejo Mountain Road, marked by sets of power line transmission towers.

It is amazing how quiet it can get back here. This trail is a bit on the long, steep side and the mountain can get quite brown and barren. But the rock formations are pretty cool, and get more interesting the higher you climb. And the views are outstanding, from Boney Mountain to the south to the Channel Islands and Oxnard Plain to the west and Thousand Oaks to the east.

You will be passing by this anxiety-causing sign on the way up. Not to worry. Just a warning.

You will be passing by this anxiety-causing sign on the way up. Not to worry. Just a warning.

Now, pay attention, To find the path to the top of Conejo Mountain, count the pairs of transmission towers that you pass. The unmarked path is just above the 4th set of transmission towers, which is roughly two miles from the trailhead.

When I went, there was fairly large arrow formed with rocks that pointed in the direction of the path. Although it is not an official trail, you can kind of make out the path that has been cleared by hikers over the years. And there are some sections where it appears the path has been aligned by rocks.

In any case, although it looks difficult, it actually isn't that bad, as long as you take your time and watch your step. When you reach the top, you will have a clear birds eye view of the 101 on the other side.of the mountain.

When it greens up after the winter storms, it sure looks a lot prettier up here.

When it greens up after the winter storms, it sure looks a lot prettier up here.

A clear view of Highway 101 from the peak of Conejo Mountain.

A clear view of Highway 101 from the peak of Conejo Mountain.

Clear, unimpeded views of Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands from up here.

Clear, unimpeded views of Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands from up here.

Tell Me a Little Bit About Newbury Park

Newbury Park is a community located in the western portion of Thousand Oaks. It became part of Thousand Oaks by community vote sometime in the 1960s and 1970s. Thousand Oaks became a city in October 1964.

A view of Newbury Park from Boney Peak in March 2015.

A view of Newbury Park from Boney Peak in March 2015.

Egbert Starr Newbury (Photo Courtesy Conejo Valley Historical Society)

Egbert Starr Newbury (Photo Courtesy Conejo Valley Historical Society)

Newbury Park is named after Egbert Starr Newbury, who owned thousands of acres of land in the Conejo Valley after moving to California from Michigan for health reasons in 1871.  Newbury was one of the three largest Conejo Valley landowners of his time. He and his wife Fannie became the first postmasters in the Conejo Valley in 1875.  The post office was located in a small compound near their house, which was located at the current location of the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza

The other major landowners at that time were John Edwards, who owned much of the current Newbury Park/Thousand Oaks area north of the 101, and Howard Mills, who owned much of what today is Westlake Village and Hidden Valley.

Edwards sold 10,000 acres of what is now central Thousand Oaks to Edwin and Harold Janss in 1893.  The Janss Corporation also bought thousands of acres of land in Newbury Park (Friedrich, Running Springs and Borchard Ranches) in 1962.  Apparently there was an effort to incorporate Newbury Park as a city in 1963 but it failed when it lacked sufficient votes.

Over a 30 month period beginning in the Fall of 1876, only 6 inches of rain fell in the Conejo Valley.  This drought brought devastation to landowners, most of whom lost their crops and livestock and had to sell at a loss or went bankrupt.  The Newburys were no exception; they moved back to the midwest in 1877.  Egbert fell ill to pneumonia in 1880 and passed away at the young age of 36.

The Newburys lived here only six years, so why is it still called Newbury Park? Because the name of the Newburys' post office never changed! The Newbury Park Post Office has changed locations a number of times (including 1602 Newbury Road from May 1968 until it moved to its current location at 3401 Grande Vista Drive in 2013). So the Newbury name and legacy live on here in the Conejo Valley.

Horse tied to a sign indicating the Newbury Park Post Office, in 1909. The location was near modern-day Lynn Ranch. (Courtesy of the Thousand Oaks Library Local History Photo Collection).

Horse tied to a sign indicating the Newbury Park Post Office, in 1909. The location was near modern-day Lynn Ranch. (Courtesy of the Thousand Oaks Library Local History Photo Collection).

Sources: "The Conejo Valley - Old and New Frontiers" by Carol A. Bidwell and "The Newburys of Newbury Park" by Miriam Sprankling

But wait...there's more to Newbury Park! Casa Conejo is also part of the Newbury Park community but is not an incorporated part of Thousand Oaks. It is considered a census-designated place in Ventura County, with its own Municipal Advisory Council. Casa Conejo is the first planned community in Newbury Park and was built in the early 1960s. It is has an area of .5 square mile and is bound by Borchard to the South, Old Conejo Road to the North, Jenny Drive (East of Newbury Park High School) to the West and Sequoia Middle School to the East.

Interested in historical pictures of the area going back to the 1950s?  Click here to read about the work of prolific Conejo Valley photographer, Ed Lawrence. 

Click here for a history of Thousand Oaks.  Thousand Oaks is over 56 square miles and Newbury Park represents about 40% of that square footage.

Three dozen or so things to do in Newbury Park

Another three dozen or so kids' activities in Newbury Park

Yet another three dozen or so sports and fitness activities in Newbury Park

When There's Rain, There's Usually a Rainbow in the Conejo Valley

It’s been raining almost nonstop throughout Ventura County since last Thursday through today, Super Bowl Sunday and anticipated for another day or two. When there’s rain, there’s a rainbow awaiting. Here are some beauties.

Camarillo Ranch House in Oil Paint by Artist Linda Dark

Long-time resident and artist Linda Dark enjoys capturing local Camarillo scenes in oil paint. 

Built in 1892, the Camarillo Ranch House is a grand, three-story, 15-room home built by Adolfo Camarillo in the Queen Anne Victorian style. It was named to the National Register of Historic Places in February 2003.  Dark captures this local icon on a partly cloudy day.

I had taken this photo of the Camarillo Ranch House, independent of Linda, on another, conveniently partially-cloudy day.

To reach Linda, contact us.

Roadrunners in the Conejo Valley

The roadrunner is a chaparral bird that is a member of the cuckoo (Cuculidae) family of birds. They are found in the southwest U.S. and Mexico. These non-migratory birds live in mountainous shrubland, which is why you may seen them from time to time here in the Conejo Valley. These are great birds to have around, dining on insects (including tarantulas), snails, lizards and even rattlesnakes (because of their quickness, roadrunners are one of the few animals that dine on rattlesnakes).

Seen above is some brief footage of a roadrunner seen yesterday on Tarantula Hill and some other footage from Rancho Sierra Vista from last year.

Roadrunner 2.2.19.JPG