On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
This series was created by Alain Chamot (1971-2020).
When I was growing up in Thousand Oaks, every couple of weeks we would hear a loud roar and the windows in our house would start shaking. Earthquake, no; it was the testing of the J-2 rocket engine used on the second and third stages of the Saturn-V at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory about 10 miles away. I’ve long wanted to see the test stands that they used to test these engines that I heard and felt when I was a child and visited Sage Ranch Park at the northeast edge of the Laboratory in February of 2018 to attempt to photograph them but they were behind a ridge and not visible from the park.
Using Google Maps, I determined that I should be able to see the rocket test facilities from the west of the Laboratory. I charted two approaches to this area, one from the south via Las Virgenes Canyon and one from the north from a new development in Simi Valley. I ended up hiking in from Simi Valley and you couldn’t see too much until I took a road that lead to the top of ridge and the test facilities were directly in front of me. In addition to the view of the interior of the lab, I really liked the surrounding area as well. In a less light polluted area, this area would have some nice foregrounds for astro landscape shots.
First view of the lab headed up the trail.
It looks like there’s a windmill behind that hill.
Doesn’t look like I can continue this way.
After taking a side road and heading over a small ridge, the rocket test stands come into view.
A view to the easter side of the lab and Sage Ranch Park on the right.
The windmill seems a bit shorter than it appeared from a distance.
A nice meadow to the west.
A better view of the western portion of the lab.