Nordhoff Peak in Ojai, California

Whenever I hike I only choose easy to mild trails, ….. but not this time. Eric Tonningsen of “Awakening to Awareness” dared his readers to push yourself to the limits and stretch yourself. Plus, RVer LuAnn of Paint your Landscape said she’ll be in California this December and offered that we go on a hike. I needed to prepare. Now I blame them for all the hardship and pain this torturous trail put me through. πŸ™‚


This trail is a b****leep. it’s too far and has an elevation of 4,485 feet. I wasn’t even planning on that. My one bottle water is not enough, and I’m wearing inappropriate shoe to be doing this.


I see a bit of fall colors along the wayΒ 10632587_10152893267763578_1249301033982271462_n

It was a long hike. There’s a group of two women close ahead of me. There were people who were hiking back. None of them said they reached the top when I asked them. All of them chose the midway point trails.

I was determined to go to the very top.

i got to see the entire Ojai Valley.


I had plenty of rests here and there. I was largely impressed by my cellphone signal. I was surrounded by mountains and trees and I still got reception! Thank you T-Mobile 4G LTE. πŸ™‚

The group of two women already hiked back. They said Β they were almost there but decided to come back down. There were plenty of time too that I wanted to quit. I was gasping for breath. I’m out of water. But I continued ….


Towards the top I felt like the trail was going nowhere. I was reaching a peak to another peak to another. I was reallyΒ losing hope of getting to the top. This really is the hardest trail I’ve trekked. I was always reminded of my hike to Mt. Suribachi in Iwo Jima, Japan.Β That was it. When I was exhausted, delirious really, and doubting my will to get to the top, it’s the men and women who served during wars, and those who are serving our country were my motivation to finish this trail. I’m not only saying that because it’s Veteran’s Day. I reallu was thinking of their hardships, and it became my motor for this gruelling trek.


After a-many character-building moments,Β I finallyΒ saw a sign. The view was spectular …



The sign said I still have 1 mile to hike to get to the top…. Oh Crap. πŸ˜€


I see clouds on the mountain tops. Some 4,000 feet above the ground. I’m in heaven. On top of the world!


10422567_10152893262178578_447488817484446460_n 10675774_10152893182353578_2370750641150547586_n

The brochure I got from the Ojai Visitor Center said it was only a 4.5 mile hike. It was waaay more than that. According to my cellphone, I hiked about 7 miles to get to this part. I really wanted to finish. I was determined,…. but not stupid. πŸ™‚ Thing is I was going to lose daylight, and I can’t take that chance.




Despite the aching pain of my legs, I raced to go back to the start. It was getting dark, and I started to panick actually. By the time I got back, according to my cellphone (app called S Health), I hiked a total of 14.2 miles with 23,776 steps!!! I got back to my car at about 5:30 just shy of being complete dark. I survived. πŸ™‚

I was exhausted. Dehydrated. Hungry. My legs felt like Jell-O that I could just eat it. πŸ˜€

I may not reached the very top, but it was a relief and great satisfaction that I persevered. πŸ˜‰

To those of you who are interested in tackling this height, just follow the Pratt Trail. Very easy to follow. And, like I said, there are other trails like Foothill Trail.


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Music: The Reminder by Feist Winner of Shortlist Music Award. Nominated for Shortlist Polaris Music Award. Eventual winner for Shortlist Polaris Music Award for a more recent album, Metals. My favorite from this album is a track called “Sealion”, I believe a remake.

Movie: The DepartedΒ wWhat fascinates me is that this movie is not far from the truth. Martin Scorsese lived through these scenes and character Costello is actually based on an actual mobster. A lot of people are not magnetized by the brilliance of this film because of it’s a remake of an Asian movie. But I say Martin Scorsese and the ensemble cast delivered it very well. I love Leonardo DiCarpio’s acting performance on this movie.

Featured Blog

A blog I relatively recently followed, but I can’t resist. Her blog is Simply Beautiful … Literally! LolaWi posted ome outstanding, really outstanding, fall colors – Splendor of Autumn.

Categories: California, Nature

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69 replies »

  1. Always pack extra water. I under packed once, with the kids, never again. Glad you pushed yourself- I will have to avoid that trail! Glad you beat the sun- daylight savings time drives me crazy. Lastly, nice photos.

    • No. Not a trail with kids involved. πŸ˜€ Quite an adjustment for that daylight saving time. But then again, it needs to be done. The mornings were so dark it felt like it’s still evening in the morning..

    • Way to go. Sad that I can’t say the same. I was dreading the drought and heat here in California. Those wildfires are a threat too. I waited til it gets a little un-warm til I went hiking again. The rubbery legs feel so funny. It pains, but a great mark of accomplishment. πŸ˜€

    • What an analogy. Whoa, you comment feels and sounds personal, eh? Or just really from observation? Oh well …. Hey! … that means I’m going to heaven when all of this is over? πŸ˜€

  2. Wow Wow Wow. That’s so amazing Rommel. Well done for stepping out of your comfort zone and pushing through your fear and pain. Great analogy for life, you have done it now, you know you can do it again. Thankyou, because we get to share in these beautiful photos and feel like we are there too.

  3. Yes- I saw you in LolaWi’s comments and thought that I should pay you a call. And then there you were, in mine πŸ™‚ You should have brought your hike with you, Rommel. This more than qualifies as a ‘Monday hike’ πŸ™‚ Just sitting there in all those clouds… the photos are deliciously dreamy. Shame about all the pain it cost you to get them, but I would say it was worth it. (easy for me to say πŸ™‚ ) Take care out there! It can be scary.

    • This is actually a Monday hike. πŸ™‚ I was off that day. That fall colors LolaWi posted are also deliciously dreamy. We don’t have that rich fall colors here in Cali.

    • Not too dangerous, milu. Just needed proper time adjustment. πŸ™‚ I understand, milu. There is still a limit to everything. You cannot just exceed and exceed when you know you can no longer do.

  4. Without hiking shoes and with a bottle of water, you made it! What a spectacular view, I can’t imagine being up there… Wow, these shots are taking my breath away, Rommel!

  5. Such breathtaking vistas Rommel! Well worth the pain and exhaustion I would imagine. I am impressed, and selfishly glad that your persevered πŸ™‚

    • Yeah right! πŸ˜€ I know how pushy you can be when you have your eyes on the price. πŸ™‚ I think I can point out some from your blog proving that. πŸ˜€

    • Very true, Alexander. The pictures are for memories, but it can’t replace the actual views and, more importantly, the feeling, my sense of accomplishments, that even I couldn’t put in words.

  6. I think the shots you managed to capture during your adventures in the mountains are going to be well worth the effort in the long run. The views are breathtaking.

  7. I love “Oh crap.” πŸ™‚ And I know that ‘legs like jello’ feeling. You persevered yet your were prudent given time limitations. As always, remarkable photos to accompany the trek. Thanks for taking us along. Next time I attempt a similar hike, I’ll pay little heed to what the brochures say.

    Appreciate your kind shout out, Rommel. Here’s to all of us stretching ourselves!

    • Rommel! Always strap on a Camelbak full of water because it’s better to have too much than too little water. P.S. Come further north and try Mount Diablo (aptly named!) over in Clayton or Mt. Tam in Marin County.

  8. Kudos to you, Rommel. I’m so impressed that you did all those miles and 23,776 steps is not to be sneezed at. πŸ™‚ I’d have been worried when the water ran out. I’m glad you were sensible and didn’t carry on to the very top. Better safe than sorry. Your pics are awesome. The views from up there are breathtaking. πŸ™‚

  9. Fantastic summary ~ there is nothing quite as fulfilling as a great hike, especially when you get to see the views that you showed here with your photos, and mostly loved the conversations with yourself about “pain”…perfect πŸ™‚ With darkness coming down, legs like jello and an empty stomach…it must have felt great to sit back later on and reminisce this climb!

    Stretching out your limits ~ so important for everyone, and after reading this I wish I could step out and hike the Nordhoff Peak as well, and touch that piece of heaven you saw! Cheers!

    • Ahhh … this is not the first time where a commentator mention about my musings. I guess it really is my way writing, without even me noticing or making it apparent.

  10. Oh you did good Rommel ! I’m so sure it took guts to get that far .. but look what you got for your jello legs πŸ˜‰ awesome pictures for us and that great to be alive -still- feeling for you . Bigger bottle of H2o next time you goes a wandering my lad . I reckon this is fine training for a hike with LuAnn πŸ™‚

  11. Wow. I commend you on this hike and the wisdom to stop to allow yourself time to get down before dark. I can’t imagine the views would have been any better. The ones you shared were breathtaking.

    • If the situation presents itself again, I think I would. I’m always up for the challenge. πŸ˜€ Just that I “don’t always” put myself to these kind of challenges.
      I actually start somewhere at noon. But like I said, I had plenty of stops including when I sat on a big rock under a tree to read a book. πŸ˜‰

  12. If that isn’t the view from the top, I can only imagine how out of this world the view would have been from up there ! Breathtaking photographs and I’m sure the place is just as great in person ! I love to hike but don’t get much chance to do so, but if the opportunity presents itself will never miss it !

    Thanks God you made it out alive despite of the water shortage and tough trail πŸ˜€

    Have a glorious weekend Rommel ❀

  13. all i can say is: OMG, Rommel. you may not have packed enough water and put on the right hiking gear, but you certainly took Perseverance with you and by the looks of it, you were handcuffed together til the end! right on! very nice shots under the extreme conditions. πŸ™‚

  14. Congrats on finishing to the top. Oftentimes I think those distance info charts really mean straight line distance. But whatever– it looks like you had a wondrous worth-it adventure. Thanx for sharing your tale and really cool photos.

  15. I have been away for awhile and when I saw this I thought OMG. The views are spectacular but I am glad to hear that you turned around when you did Rommel. Given what you accomplished, you should be very proud of yourself. Now, as a hiker I would echo what others have said, you need to bring plenty of water and pick yourself up a pair of hiking boots if you continue to hit the trails. We are here in So Cal right now and I have not hiked in a couple of weeks, so you don’t need to prepare for the trails all in one hike. That hike was epic! πŸ˜‰

  16. Jell-O legs were worth the light effects that you captured through the peaks and valleys. A nature photographer, from whom we have taken a photography course, talked about getting up in the middle of the night to hike (in the dark by flashlight) up to various peaks near us to be ready to capture the sunrise. By the time the sun was beyond gorgeous light effects stage, he would hike back out. Sounds like a two-pot-of-coffee hike to me.
    P.S. Yes, you had on lousy footwear for 14+ miles of hiking!

  17. What a major achievement – bravo! Your summit photos ate magnificent ☺ thAnk you for sharing your incredible journey.

  18. Congrats on making it to the top! In my earlier days of hiking I would bring a quart of liquid for a day hike, but soon discovered that it wasn’t enough. Now I bring a half gallon. ‘Course you have to factor in the weight of the liquid and balance out the length of the hike vs how long it will last. And make it an electrolyte mix. Plain water and you can become exhausted on a tough hike. But it sounds like you’ve got a handle on all that.

    To hiking!

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