Los Padres, Silver Peak Wilderness 2016
This year June brought a bad fire to Santa Barbara halfway to Gaviota which, at its start, brought massive concentrated plumes of smoke over the town. When one of my good friends got in touch to suggest a trip it was a no-brainer, escape the smoke and the heat and get out backpacking!
My friend had recently found a new trail in Big Sur, the Cruickshank Trail, so with cool temperatures it sounded like a perfect trip. Starting from the PCH the trail started climbing up the coastal hills, flanked by gorgeous orange monkeyflowers on both sides and great views with each switchback. The fog was starting to roll in like a wall off the Pacific but kept soldiering on. After meeting my friend further up on the trail we eventually finished the ascent, alebit at my slow pace, but still escaped the ever enroaching fog rolling up the canyon. We wound up at a nice capsite we had all to ourselves, set on up camp, and had great times relaxing the evening away with a nice meditative night looking up through the trees at the moon and the stars and finding center.
Unfortunately my friend forgot his sleeping pad. I had no idea how much it helps! The ground really sucks out a lot of heat from a sleeping bag directly on the ground. After some breakfast the next morning my friend walked back down to the car to go try and either find a pad or fetch his blanket. So I started just enjoying some time alone and playing solitare. After a bit a bunch of jays started visiting. They must be western jays but were gigantic, almost as large as a crow! They started chasing all the other birds away and, eventually a pair started to fight for their territory all around. They even started pecking at tree branches like woodpeckers for who knows what! We had been woken up by pecking, and maybe it was just the jays all along. So much fun to sit there for an hour and just try to take some pictures as they were having this dance all around the campsite.
Another hiker on her way out passed us and told me that a campsite further up was open again, so I packed up a third or a half of the gear and decided to push in. And what a glorious campsite it was. Nestled in a grove of 150 foot tall redwoods right next to a vigorous creek was a gorgeous spot with a great soaking hole! I walked back to meet up with my friend again and then had a great afternoon of conversing and just relaxing with the stream. Later my ass was handed to me while playing gin, but someday luck will turn my way or, perhaps, I'll learn how to play gin.
The final day was the initial uphill followed by descending back to the PCH. The fog had cleared so all the way down was just gorgeous views of the Pacific and some of the rocks around, all followed by a glorious fog free drive back south with the wickedly beautiful mountains and coastlines erupting at each turn in the road. I had not been up there in many years, but again was just amazed at how beautiful it is. I must remember to visit again. Seeing new trails and new areas there is a whole world back there I have yet to explore.
Picutres were from the a900 system with a 24-70 lens, 16-25 lens, and 70-300 lens.
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