Monday, September 12, 2011

Photo Essay: California's First Commercial Oil Well

I'm always up for  a good historic hike.

After all of my travels up and down the 5, through such oil towns like Taft, and everyday in Los Angeles pass oil wells that have been well hidden or decommissioned, it seemed appropriate that I take a hike in Pico Canyon, site of California's first commercial oil well.



The big tourist stop in Pico Canyon is Mentryville, a veritable ghost town of California's commercial oil history...


...with lots of restored (yet still abandoned) buildings...













...most of an industrial nature...



...but also including the old schoolhouse.



The canyon itself features an old creek bed, now dried up - but in wet seasons, they say you can still spot tar flowing in the creek....







Tucked away in the Santa Susana mountains, not far from Six Flags Magic Mountain, Pico Canyon offers a nice climb to a lovely vista...







And plenty of old relics.



Most of the hike is along a recently-paved service road, so it's an easy hike until the steep, unpaved final portion beyond most of the oil history vestiges.

But for someone like me, who wants to get out of the city a little bit, get dirty a little bit, get deserty a little bit, it's a perfect little retreat on a hot weekend day.

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