Sespe Creek

Los Padres NF

July 2007

One of my friends had come on into town one weekend in July and wanted to get out camping. The Zaca Fire was busy burning a lot of the areas back by the schoolhouse and Horseshoe Bend, and the forest service had closed off much of the Los Padres NF around Santa Barbara due to the fire. The areas in the Sespe Wilderness were still open, so me and my friend drove back on into Lion and hiked along the Sespe Creek trail from there on East. It was hot back there in the wilderness that day, and it was also incredibly dry. A few miles in, we crossed the final lines of where the Day Fire had reached the year before. Even though a year had passed, the sudden change in landscape was amazing. On one side was the scrub that normally covers the areas around here and on the other side, nothing but empty land and dead remains of bushes that had all their greenery burned off. The exposed soil revealed entire mountainsides of gradually changing earth tones mixed in with grey and black charred patches. The Day Fire was huge; this moonscape must continue on for miles!

As we hiked in further, we eventually came up against a nice little lake hidden behind patches of trees. Even being incredibly dry, there was still enough water to go wading and probably even a little swim in the deeper parts. A rope swing hung from a branch, but obviously must be there from wetter times. A nice flat area and fire ring right next to the lake would make for a wonderful backpacking spot to spend a evening lollygagging around in the mountains. Although exhausted from the hot day when we got back, I still love seeing the white rocks and can't wait to get back after another set of rains to see how everything will continue to grow.

The Photographs

I brought along my Minolta system with me on the hike and a roll of Kodachrome PKR 64. Mostly I stuck with the 58mm lens for these shots. Click on "Next" in the upper right to begin.