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 … [Read more...]

Grass Mountain – Peak #27 – A rainy day on the trail

Grass Mountain

Grass Mountain Elevation: 3,685′ Distance: 4.6 miles It was Superbowl Sunday. I don't have cable. I had a free day. I checked the weather report and it was pretty much guaranteed to rain. No problem. My last hike was on Oahu around Thanksgiving. I needed this. I had the rain gear. I decided … [Read more...]

Knapp’s Castle – A slice of the past with a great view

The ruins and view from Knapp's Castle

Since the weather turned very cold for the weekend, Sophia and I canceled our trip to Carrizo Plain National Monument. We still wanted to go on a little adventure, so we decided to go somewhere local. We decided Knapp's Castle. Depending on where you look, the area is either off-limits or open for … [Read more...]

Fox Mountain and Cuyama Peak Lookout Tower – Peaks 25 and 26 – Back on the trail

The Cuyama Peak Lookout Tower

  Fox Mountain Elevation: 5,167′ Cuyama Peak Elevation:  5,878' Distance: ~5 miles Trailhead Since I have been hiking and backpacking with my daughter lately, I have been choosing shorter hikes. As a result, my hiking endurance has suffered a little bit. In order to get me back … [Read more...]

Backpacking Reyes Peak – A windy campsite with a great view

My backpacking partner

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-NSK7m09vM Sophia and I wanted to get some backcountry fun in before the cold fall weather comes rolling in. We decided to try our hands at backpacking Reyes Peak. I had been to Reyes Peak once and ended up hiking to Haddock Mountain on the same day. I really … [Read more...]

If you go Hiking and Backpacking in Santa Barbara and Ventura, get this book

Hiking and Backpacking in Santa Barbara and Ventura

After spending years reading Jerry Schad's essential Afoot and Afield in San Diego County, I moved to Santa Barbara and, with my feet firmly in the warm sand at the beach, stared at the gorgeous mountains to the north, and started planning how I was going to get know them as well as I did the San … [Read more...]

Figueroa Mountain – Peak #24 – An accidental drive-up peak

Pointing out San Rafael Mountain from Figueroa Mountain

Sophia and I had a day all to ourselves. She said she wanted to go hiking and I jumped at the chance. I knew she wanted to go to Seein' Spots Farm in Santa Ynez. She liked to pet the miniature donkeys and, of course, see the friendliest turkey around, named Twiggy. When Twiggy was rescued, she was a … [Read more...]

San Guillermo Mountain – Peak #23 – A short steep hike

Last push upward to San Guillermo Mountain

San Guillermo Mountain Elevation: 6,602′ Total Mileage: ~2.2 Trailhead Map  San Guillermo Mountain was the second hike I had done that day. The first was Thorn Point, which was nearly 8 miles and pretty steep. This one was supposed to be a quick 2 mile round trip hike to a Sierra Club Hundred … [Read more...]

Thorn Point – Peak #22 – Sharing the trail with bear tracks

Thorn Point Lookout Tower

Thorn Point Elevation: 6,920′ Total Mileage: ~7.5 Trailhead Map  It had been a busy week. Actually, it had been a busy month. We finally had a free weekend. Saturday was a nice, relaxing family day that involved swimming, shopping, and dining out. Earlier in the week, I had scoured our family … [Read more...]

A pleasant day in Wheeler Gorge

In flight

As usual, when my wife is traveling, I look for ways for Soph and I to bond in the wilderness. Recently I saw a photo of a child receiving a junior ranger badge from the Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center and asked Sophia if she was interested in getting one. She said yes, and she wanted to go fishing. I … [Read more...]