Thursday, April 14

Outdoors in Montecito

This past weekend some great friends & I got to take a mini vacation to the Montecito area of California. This small, southern town is marvelously dotted with multi-million dollar estates sprawling across the foothills of Los Padres National Forrest.

The dudes & I swapped stories while enjoying our comfy settings with some drinks in hand. We also worked on a plan for the next days adventures.

This particular vacation was a bit of a whirlwind. I had spent the day of departure at work since 2am... and didn't hit the bed that night in Montecito till 2:30am the next day. Spent close to 27 hours awake.

Our eventual plan was to take a scenic drive through the foothills, winding us through the country. Collin & Pouya were taking us to a previous hike they had traversed in the past, but they had said there was much more water in the river this time around.

The five of us set out on our trek, following the Cold Springs Trail along the river, deep into the canyon foothills. Switch backs for some portions of the trip, while other sections allowed for long gradual inclines up a shaded hillside.

There are several route choices along the way that will result in different destination outcomes. We opted for a trial that would take us up to a lookout of Montecito & Santa Barbara.

The trails prove to be mostly covered with a small, slow elevation gain that kept the workout at a good level. Connecting with a fire road that ran along the rim of the foothills, our trail popped us out right on the edge of the hills looking down on small towns, huge estates & the Santa Barbara harbor.

Every time I am invited to spend some time in Montecito I am totally awe struck by the wealth & lifestyle that is pursued in this small area of California coast. It also reminds me of how thoroughly thankful I am to have such great friends to share amazing experiences with.

Thursday, April 7

Bear Encounter & Monrovia Falls

Just east of previously trekked Chantry Flats, Andrew & I embarked on a midday journey to Monrovia Falls. This was a good hike I had found online that neither of us had explored on before.

First & foremost, Tuesdays = front gate closed. Visitors can park for free in the neighborhood south of the entrance on Canyon. Adding another paved 1/2 mile to the hike you had already planned on.

Normally there is a $5 dollar fee to use one of three parking lots within the park. Andrew & I opted for the the longest of three routes to the falls for our accent, with a shorter trip on our way back. The Bill Cull Trail switch-backed up the hillside & wondered above the creek with grand views of the San Gabriel Mountains. Dropping down a bit over a mile to meet back with creek & the main trail to the falls.

What happened next on our adventure was an unexpected miracle. The two of us were approaching a blind left bend in the trail & heard rustling above. Paused, we looked not twenty feet in front of us, two brown bears coming down the hill towards the trail we were on. Below the bears spotted up & proceeded slower.

Moving slowly, Andrew & I paused while the two bears crossed the trail & down a small incline to the waters edge. A mother bear & her cub drank from the creek. After a moments rest, there was a sense of urgency to move on by everyone involved. The two bears slowly made their way into the thick underbrush, while Andrew & I turned to each other in total disbelief in what had just happened.

The trail gave way to more elevation change with the scenery changing to a more rock surfaced canyon. Opening up at one point to a monumental double rock face with fifteen foot tall roots clinging to the rocks. Andrew stand in glory below.

“No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.” - Ansel Adams

New adventures soon...

Monday, April 4

April Snow Day

[HWY 18 - Above the clouds]

- Finally got the Peruvian to the snow -

Georgette & I took a nice drive through the clouds to Big Bear this past weekend. After a snaking along the scenic route of HWY 18 when landed ourselves looking down on all the clouds with only a few miles left to our destination.

After a great warm afternoon sliding around the hills & we slowly made our way down the mountain & back to Los Angeles. Which coincidentally, had the only sunlight shining down upon it from here to the inland empire.