Hiking, backpacking, and camping throughout Southern California and beyond

Unnamed Ridge Exploration - Taking some time out

Unnamed Ridge Exploration - Taking some time out

The way down the ridge It was about 10AM on a Sunday. I had had a busy week. I was mentally spent. My wife could tell. Even though we had guests, she asked if I wanted to get out for a hike.

I said yes, of course. I needed it.

I headed out to East Camino Cielo. There's a small mountain I'd like to get to the top of that I am fairly certain other people rarely ever climb. There are a couple of other landmarks along the way. The only beta I've found online has led me to believe that this will be a challenging hike, with a tremendous amount of route finding. Sounds like fun.

Given my late start, this was to be a reconnaissance hike. I wanted to explore the ridgeline down to the creek below and get a view of the area I was going to explore at a later date.

Once atop East Camino Cielo, my mood was immediate affected. I looked out over the Santa Barbara Channel and its islands. I turned and looked north and saw the backcountry to be entered. I was excited.

Already happy on the trail

Immediately off the road, I saw the usual signs of trails near roads. Various ammunition shells and boxes, beer cans, wine bottles, and food wrappers. Also, as usual, the litter disappeared once the trail got a little tough and more distant from the road.

As I descended, occasionally bushwhacking, I saw a beautiful madrone, rising head and shoulders above the surrounding chaparral. After about a mile or so, I scooted off trail and sat on a rock. I pulled out a snack as the breeze cooled the sweat on my forehead.

Madrone on the ridge

I could see the rest of the ridge that led down into the drainage. I could see the mountain that would be my destination someday. I could see the challenging route I would have to take to get there. I pulled out the beta report that I had saved to my phone and matched the route description with what I could see.

I drank deeply from my water supply. I ate a hard-boiled egg, which is my new favorite trail food. I studied what was in front of me. I put away my map and my phone. I sat back and closed my eyes. This was becoming a habit; slowing down, enjoying the moment on the trail. Becoming less goal-oriented, unless my goal was  to relax. Once again, the scents and silence of the trail pushed away the remnants of my busy work week.

My lunchtime view from the ridge

After a while, I got up and continued down the ridge. I never did find the next turn in the trail, but was confident I would find it when I came back. I turned and climbed steeply back up to Camino Cielo. Back to the tremendous view of the ocean. On the way, I encountered several brightly blooming plants, covered with flowers.

The way back up the ridge

Yellow poppies on the ridge

Purple flowers on the ridge

I was only out a few hours and only went a few miles, but it made a difference. I drove back down the mountain and joined my family on the beach.

Higher on the ridge toward Camino Cielo

Montgomery Potrero and McPherson Peak - A Backpacking Trip

Montgomery Potrero and McPherson Peak - A Backpacking Trip

Sailing in the Santa Barbara Channel

Sailing in the Santa Barbara Channel