Saturday, August 8, 2009

Hiking in Santa Barbara and Escondido

My boyfriend and I have been doing quite a bit of hiking lately, and I always bring my camera. So here's a quick post on some of the startlingly beautiful places we've discovered.

When you drive from Santa Barbara to Buellton on Hwy 101, take a moment to marvel at the fact that you are driving through what used to be the solid rock of the Santa Ynez mountain range. Sometime near the turn of the century, people got tired of hauling their stagecoaches over the San Marcos pass and blasted through the mountain, creating a clear path. The picture below is from 1915.
On the right side of the road, heading North, is a trail head that leads to Gaviota Peak and a natural hot spring. I had been to the peak years ago on a school trip (my middle school is across the highway - nothing around it but mountains and oak trees), and always wanted to go back. Last weekend I got my chance, and Charles and I went on a short hike.

A few weeks ago we hiked a trail in San Pasqual Valley on Hwy 78. Pass the Wild Animal Park and the orange orchard until you reach the trailhead on the right to find it. We hiked this trail for the first time in early spring when the orchard was in full bloom. Even though we were walking up the mountain, and the orange blossoms were very far below, the scent was carried to us on the wind. That spoiled me for hiking this trail at any other time of year--though these pictures were taken in early summer.