Aliso Canyon Trail, Los Padres NF

January 2005

This winter I experienced the first truly sustained torrential rains I'd ever seen in Santa Barbara. While the tragedies that accompanied them were most unfortunate, the rains can make for some magnificent hiking in the hills. Thankfully I was able to find a friend to share this with me. Together we forded the 3 ft.+ high Santa Ynez river to see how the backcountry had fared this traumatic time. Were we ever in for a treat!

With help of poles we crossed the Santa Ynez river, having just becmoe passable after a five-day rest from the rain. Though swift, the opposite shore awaited with the fresh scent of a newly-cleansed backcountry. A deserted Aliso Canyon trail in front of us. We were the first hikers known to have braved the river and hiked these trails in the New Year and got to see the land in a unique state. Previously dry rivulets sprung to life under the downpour and created waterfalls out of the most miniscule landscapes. Small landslides exposed springs from the sides of the hills. The rain had made the plants spring to life and the whole land was covered in a vibrant green that so rarely comes to them. It is truly a blessing to be able to experience these magnificent mountains in so many different ways.

The Photographs

Having learned my lesson from a Varisoft lens going into the drink prior, I encased my lenses in plastic prior to venturing forth. Once on the opposite shore, I had my full Minolta array at my disposal. Curioius as to its viability, the first roll I shot was a Kodachrome 25 roll from a batch I had recently purchased. I am humbled by this film. It has the sharpness of Velvia with a color fidelity like nothing else I've seen. After finally having the experience of Kodachrome 25, all that is left for me is to be further saddened by the discontinuation of a miraculous film. The second roll is Kodachrome PKR 64 and it's interesting to compare the two.

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