→ Photos from Hot Cocoa on top of Topatopa, December 2013
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These are pictures from the annual Topatopa potluck hike. This first picture is after quite a bit of hiking. There had been a storm the day before and now we have gained enough altitiude we are beginning to see the snow that remains. Snow, Ojai, Oxnard, the Pacific Ocean and Channel Islands and even the mountains around Frazier Park and the San Bernardinos were all visible today. We could not see the high Sierra today, though. Sometimes we can.
Snow visible on the bluffs. Much of this was gone by the end of the day.
Turned a corner and now the trail was really snowy!
Looking up toward the switchbacks and mini-switchbacks to the summit.
Almost up the the dirt road on top.
Now we're hiking along the dirt road. The snow is pristine.
Snow on the dirt road. It's pretty easy to walk on.
Looking back at the dirt road.
We've started on the Last Chance Trail now. It has many switchbacks and innumerable mini-switchbacks as it brings you up the final ascent. This is looking back at the dirt road.
Here's TrailHacker in the snow.
Soft fluffy snow. There were lots of small animal tracks but our large group soon obliterated them.
Here I am at the summit with the islands, ocean, Oxnard and that valley between Ojai and Filmore behind me. It was a gorgeous day but a little bit cold.
TrailHacker and I at the summit.
First order of business when you plan a party at the top of a mountain on a cold day is everbody must remove their sweaty clothing and put on warm stuff. It was too cold for me to sweat much so I didn't get naked like TrailHacker here. The man in red is Pinetar who makes his famous hot cocoa up here every year. He makes it from scratch with milk, heavy cream, cocoa and lots of secret spices and flavors. It's delicious even when he forgets a few of his secret ingredients.
The group is gathering and beginning to eat.
Another random shot of the group. I hate asking people to pose for me, especially since I hate it when people impose constant posing on groups on other hiking trips.
The lady in the funny hat is 77 years old. The mountain we are standing on is over 6200 feet. She's a strong, adventurous woman.
After two cups of hot buttered Captain Morgan's rum, two of us decided to do the Captian Morgan pose for the camera. There were a lot of platypus flasks at this party. I enjoyed butterscotch schnapps, burbon hot cocoa, hot buttered rum and egg nog with Bushmills. So did many others. We started to get silly.
Time for the annual attempt at a headstand. Many years ago I got a picture of 5 or 6 people doing handstands. Those people are now a little older. And yes, the 77-year-old lady is going to try for a handstand.
Yay! We got one handstand. That's Kim Coakley (I probably spelled that wrong).
Notice that Kathy, the 77-year-old lady has got at least that yoga pose going. She managed to hold it there for quite a long time while everyone else tried to get a handstand and failed.
One handstand falling over, one handstand up, one yoga pose and one fail. Oh well.
Let's try something a little easier. The Topatopa Choo Choo, as Pinetar called it. Now you know we're a bunch of silly fools.
Then we had a brief snowball fight and then we made a snowman. Here's TrailHacker with our snowman.
Here's me and TrailHacker with our snowman. We're so proud. How often in So Cal do you get to make a snowman?
Elise put a hat on our snowman and took a picture.
He looks so good with the hat.
Our snowman tried on a penguin hat.
Okay, party is over. Time to walk back. Instead of descending down all the million switchbacks we took the road. There's a nice section of interesting boulders on the way down.
The view of the ocean was just beautiful.
We have to descend all that. It's a long way down from the top. About 8 miles.
One last view of the ocean and clouds.