Katy Perry's Latest Single "Never Really Over" Filmed at King Gillette Ranch in Calabasas

Katy Perry announced her new single, “Never Really Over,” yesterday at katyperry.com. Those of us that live here in the Conejo Valley and nearby areas in Ventura County may recognize the surrounding in that video.

Yes, this video was filmed at King Gillette Ranch in Calabasas. This 588 acre gem in the Santa Monica Mountains is maintained by the Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority. The property was owned and developed by razor blade kingpin King C. Gillette. Also located here is the Anthony C. Beilenson Interagency Visitor Center - believe it or not, in what was formerly the horse stable for the Gillette Mansion.

Screenshot from video shows the entrance to King Gillette Ranch in Calabasas.

Screenshot from video shows the entrance to King Gillette Ranch in Calabasas.

King Gillette Ranch entrance on a recent spring day.

King Gillette Ranch entrance on a recent spring day.

Another snapshot from the video shows the actual Gillette mansion in the background, situated on King Gillette Ranch.

Another snapshot from the video shows the actual Gillette mansion in the background, situated on King Gillette Ranch.

A similar view from the expansive, beautiful lawn at King Gillette Ranch.

A similar view from the expansive, beautiful lawn at King Gillette Ranch.

Over 40 Things to Do in Malibu

This "27 Miles of Scenic Beauty" sign was swapped out for "21 Miles of Scenic Beauty" sign in April 2017 in order to correct the actual length of City of Malibu coastline.

This "27 Miles of Scenic Beauty" sign was swapped out for "21 Miles of Scenic Beauty" sign in April 2017 in order to correct the actual length of City of Malibu coastline.

The new sign updated in 2017.

The new sign updated in 2017.

Malibu was incorporated as a separate city in Los Angeles County on March 28, 1991, with 84% of Malibu voters supporting incorporation in a 1990 election.

The Conejo Valley lies just 8 to 10 miles away from the Malibu beachfront, making Malibu a natural choice to beat the heat and enjoy to its south-facing beaches. Here's a compilation of over 40 things to do in and around Malibu.

Beaches (East to West)

Surfrider Beach from the Malibu Pier

Surfrider Beach from the Malibu Pier

Adamson House

Adamson House

Rattlesnake Do's and Don'ts in the Trails of the Conejo Valley and Neighboring Areas

I've seen more snakes in the trails of the Conejo Valley in recent years than I can ever recall, some, but not all of which are rattlesnakes.

According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, rattlesnakes are generally not aggressive but can strike when they feel threatened or provoked. If you come across one on the trail, just back off and give them room to retreat. They don't want to mess with you!

Rattler crossing the Rosewood Trail on a sunset hike.

Rattler crossing the Rosewood Trail on a sunset hike.

It is rare that rattlesnakes cause serious injury to humans. According to the California Poison Control Center, rattlesnakes account for 800 bites each year, with only one or two deaths. Most bites occur during the months of April through October, when both humans and snakes are active outdoors. About 25% of bites are dry (i.e. no venom), but still require medical treatment.

Do's and Don'ts

  • Wear shoes when out hiking in the trails.

  • Stay ON the trails...don't venture out into the underbrush, where snakes may be hiding.

  • Watch what you touch with your hands too...especially if it's dark and hard to see.

  • Leave them alone. They are fun to watch, but do so from a distance. Don't try to pick them up.

Is it a Rattler or a Gopher Snake?

On the trails of the Conejo Valley I've come across rattlesnakes, gopher snakes, king snakes, garter snakes and perhaps a few others I wasn't able to identify. The rattlesnakes are the ones to be particularly wary of because of their venom, so be aware of the following distinctions:

Rattlesnakes are wider/heavier than most of the other local snakes and have a triangular-shaped head, broader at the back than at the front, with a distinct "neck." They have openings between the nostrils and the eyes. There are a series of dark and light bands near the tail which look different from the markings on the rest of the body.  DO NOTE that rattles may not always be present as they may have fallen off are are not always developed on a young rattler.

For some great information on identifying California snakes, visit www.californiaherps.com/identification/snakesid/common.html.

Notice the stocky size of this rattlesnake, the clear rattle, and the different series of dark and lights bands leading down towards the rattle.

Notice the stocky size of this rattlesnake, the clear rattle, and the different series of dark and lights bands leading down towards the rattle.

Beautiful King Snake (known for lunching on rattlesnakes).

Beautiful King Snake (known for lunching on rattlesnakes).

Gopher snake crossing the trail in   Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa  .

Gopher snake crossing the trail in Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa.

Gopher snake on the   Vista Del Mar Trail   in Newbury Park.

Gopher snake on the Vista Del Mar Trail in Newbury Park.

Hillside Letters in the Conejo Valley and Greater Ventura County

There are over 500 hillside letters, or “mountain monograms,” in the United States, including 81 in California. What are hillside letters, you ask. They are simply large single letters, abbreviations and sometimes even messages erected on a hillside, usually by a school or town.

The Big “C” overlooking UC Berkeley (From Wikipedia; public domain)

The Big “C” overlooking UC Berkeley (From Wikipedia; public domain)

One well known hillside letter is a giant concrete block letter “C” built in the hills overlooking UC Berkeley that was constructed on March 23, 1905.

We have our share of hillside letters here in the Conejo Valley and Greater Ventura County, some of which you may be aware of…others, perhaps not.

The mountain monograms visible in our neck of the wood include:

The letters CLU on Mt. Clef Ridge above Cal Lutheran University are maintained by students.

Hilltop A overlooking Agoura High School up a steep hill. Made out of wood, I believe.

Here is a view of the letter VC north of Ventura College in late April 2019.

Here is a view of the letter VC north of Ventura College in late April 2019.

If you drive north up Catalina Street, west of Ventura High School, you will be able to see this letter V on the hillside.

The letter F is located in the hills west of Fillmore and is quite easy to see.

This letters SP letters in the hills south of Santa Paula is cleared brush. They originated originated in 1922. More information on THIS PAGE.

Happy Face Hill in Simi Valley is not a mountain monogram but is perhaps the visible hillside attraction throughout Ventura County.

Point Mugu, Mugu Rock, Sycamore Cove Beach Featured in 2018 Russell Dickerson "Blue Tacoma" Video

It was pointed out on the CVG Facebook Page that Mugu Rock was prominently featured in the 2018 music video by country music singer Russell Dickerson “Blue Tacoma.” That indeed is the case. The song is the second single from his 2017 debut album Yours.

But there’s more than just the majestic Mugu Rock in this 3 1/2 minute video. I see the beach adjacent to Mugu Rock, Sycamore Cove Beach in the nighttime campfire scene and even Hueneme Beach Park in the eating-Chinese-food-out-of-the-cartons-on-the-beach-with-red-wine-in-plastic-blue-cups scene at 48 second into the video.

One last observation. The lyrics start with “Wheels rolling on an old Toyota. Twist top on a Sunkist soda.” For the record, the Toyota Tacoma in the video looked like a pretty late model to me. Not old at all. In the car’s cupholder appeared to be an iced coffee. No signs of a Sunkist soda.

Sycamore Cove Beach

Sycamore Cove Beach

Adjacent (southeast) to Mugu Rock.

Adjacent (southeast) to Mugu Rock.

This image was taken a number of years ago at a sand sculpture contest at the Hueneme Beach Festival, when they still held the festival.  Notice the palm trees in the background compared to the Chinese food eating on the beach scene at 48 seconds into the video.

This image was taken a number of years ago at a sand sculpture contest at the Hueneme Beach Festival, when they still held the festival. Notice the palm trees in the background compared to the Chinese food eating on the beach scene at 48 seconds into the video.

Fields of Yellow: Invasive, Non-Native Black Mustard Plants Seen Throughout the Conejo Valley

It has been a beautiful ride this winter and spring, watching the hills turn from golden brown to lush green and now the deep yellow color of the invasive black mustard “weed” that has sprouted more than typically seen throughout the Conejo Valley.

I’ve walked through 8 foot tall mustard plants in the Hillcrest Open Space and seen the hillsides in Calabasas blanketed in yellow in the past several weeks. While stunning to see, these non-native plants prevent germination of native plants. Let’s hope our local agencies and organizations can clear out much of this growth before we reach peak fire season later this year.

Off the 101 in Calabasas

Off the 101 in Calabasas

Hillcrest Open Space

Hillcrest Open Space

Hillcrest Open Space

Hillcrest Open Space

Northbound PCH Just South of Mugu Rock: 1950 and 2019

Mugu Rock came into existence in 1940 when a 200 foot cut was made into the mountain. Today it is an iconic scene that is often seen in auto commercials.

Taken on July 2, 1950, this is a view of Mugu Rock from the shoulder of northbound Pacific Coast Highway (SR 1). From a private collection. And below it is the same view, remarkably similar, 69 years later, on April 20, 2019. Thankfully, some things never change.

Mugu Rock 7.2.50.jpg
Mugu Rock 4.20.19.JPG