Ordinarily I wouldn’t be anywhere near Matilija Canyon in February. Swollen river crossings, ticks galore and generally colder and windier than down here in the valley, I tend to avoid the area until May. Unfortunately that usually means I miss out on the fantastic assault of the famed “California Lilac”, ceanothus to me and you. Bigpod ceanothus (the white flowers) and Hairy Ceanothus (purple) are just getting started, suffusing the entire valley with an intoxicating scent that just makes you smile and thank the stars you’re not sitting in some cubicle. The creeks are mellow and very passable, the ticks present but surprisingly listless. Manzanitas are about spent, and it is too early for most wildflowers and shrubs to bloom… all hail the steadfast ceanothus and its snowball whites and Laker purple (gack I’m a Knick fan).
This is my favorite little loop in Matilija Canyon, join me on the clockwise Murietta trail, a bit more than 5 miles total from the parking lot.