At the beginning of December Anna and I took a little weekend getaway to Ojala, just outside of Ojai, CA.
We had originally planned it to be a celebration of our little house being finished. As it still wasn’t finished at the time, it was more of a “run away from our troubles” weekend, but still very relaxing and enjoyable.
We rented the “Love Shack” (I know, I know) on VRBO.com and it was every bit as charming as it had looked from the pictures. It’s a small cabin situated right above a creek, with a wood burning stove for heat and a cozy little bedroom in the back.
After dealing with all of the permitting nightmares with our bathroom (toilet has to be 24 inches away from the sink, etc etc) the bathroom in this little place gave us a laugh. When you sat on the toilet, your knees were UNDER the sink.
We arrived late Friday night, so we just picked up some groceries, made mac ‘n cheese, and went to bed (after figuring out how to use the wood stove).
Saturday morning, we made an elaborate breakfast of French toast with blueberries and bacon. Anna was the mastermind behind it. I mostly took pictures.
We explored the property a little bit after that. There were a few other rental cabins there, as well as a couple of houses that the owners seemed to live in year-round. There was also a swimming pool that was fed with water from the creek. When we crossed the suspension bridge (the only access to the property when it rains!) we could see the pump that fed the swimming pool. Alas, it was too cold to swim, even for Anna.
Whenever we travel, we like to imagine ourselves living in the place that we visit. Imagining that in Ojala was especially pleasant. We would hike in the surrounding mountains, have chickens and goats, listen to the creek as we fell asleep at night…
We did take a hike on Saturday. After flipping through a little locally-published book of local hikes, we picked one that looked interesting but not too strenuous. It started in Rose Valley, not far from where we were staying. It seemed to be a little-known trail, with no actual parking lot at the trailhead, just a turnout off the highway. As we ascended on the trail, we were treated to panoramic views of the mountains of the Los Padres National Forest and what we had to assume was Rose Valley Lake below us.
After an hour or two of moderate uphill hiking, (and right after I had almost convinced Anna to turn around because I was worried about it getting dark) we emerged onto the crest of the mountain. And damn, those views! It was late afternoon and everything was lit in gold. It was clear enough that we could see all the way out, past Ventura, to the Channel Islands. The ocean was gleaming and the breeze was blowing. It was perfect.
And then I suddenly remembered something and asked Anna, “Hey, did you remember to turn the oven off?”
Of course neither of us could remember, and we pretty much ran down the mountain and sped back to the cabin, half believing we would find the whole thing burned down.
We found the cabin all in one piece, and the oven off. Anna was rightly annoyed with me.