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On Wednesday evening, August 14, Ojai native plant educator Lanny Kaufer will continue what has become a fun and popular new monthly activity. He’ll lead an Herb Walk up to a vista point above the Ojai Valley where participants can watch the simultaneous sunset and moonrise. Following the walk is an optional visit to Ojai Valley Brewery at Azu Restaurant to sample native plant infused beers.
The actual full moon occurs at 5:29 a.m. on Thursday, August 15, making Wednesday the closest night to it and an earlier, more convenient, time in the evening to witness it. The moon will rise at 7:39 p.m. and the sun will set at 7:45 p.m.
After registering online, those participating will meet at the Park-and-Ride lot in downtown Ojai between 5:30 and 5:45 p.m. and carpool to the trailhead to minimize the crowded parking situation there. They will gradually walk about 1 mile to the vista point, stopping along the way to meet some valuable native plants including Coastal Sagebrush, Elderberry, Purple Sage and Toyon. After witnessing the rising of the moon and setting of the sun, the group will walk back to the trailhead by remaining daylight, moonlight, and flashlight, returning to the Park-and-Ride by 9:00 p.m.
From there all are invited to join Lanny and his wife Rondia across the street for beverages, appetizers or dinner at the combined Azu Restaurant and Ojai Valley Brewery where brewmaster Jeremy Haffner has created some delicious lager-style craft beers and ales using some of the same local plants found earlier on the trail. His brews change with the seasons and reflect the plants of Ojai. Three staples one is likely to find on his list any time of year are Sugar Bush IPA, brewed with wild local Ojai “Sugar Bush” Sumac; White Pixie Ale, brewed with Pixie tangerine zests and orchard blossoms; and an amazing Chaparral Ale flavored and bittered with White and Black Sage and local Sagebrush instead of the usual Hops. Haffner describes it as “built to mimic the scent on Shelf Road.” Non-alcoholic offerings also change with the seasons and may include an Elderflower-Blackberry Spritzer. And extra bonus: Wednesdays at Azu feature happy hour prices all day!
The cost for the walk only is $20 for adults, $15 for seniors 62-up, and $10 for students 13-17. Register now at HerbWalks.com by calling 805-646-6281. There is no pre-payment required for this walk, just a promise to let Kaufer know if your plans change. Registrants will receive a confirmation email with all necessary info a few days prior. No dogs or smoking, please.
Photo by Kristin Bates of July full moon over Ojai Valley during Herb Walk