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Santa Barbara Hikes

Diane's Big Adventures

Potrero Trail


Went for a late spring hike up Potrero Trail. The trail was in great shape. People must use it a lot. I hadn't been on it in years. It's interesting to see the same plants growing where I remember them growing before. The purple perez, the peonies, the star thistle.

Hurricane Deck
Hurricane Deck

There were waves of hot heat wafting up from the trail bed. The climb was shorter than I remember, but it has been a long time since we've had to endure any sort of heat, so we suffered a little. It was only in the high 80s, though, with a cool breeze to take the edge off. There was miniscule water in the creek near Potrero Camp. And Hurricane Deck gleamed against the pure blue sky.

I could imagine the heat up there on the Deck, the rocks clinking under our feet like broken China dishes. Long ago I thought I could bring some Hurricane Deck rocks home and make a nice wind chime from them. But the ocean air down in town turned their musical clinking into the boring thud of dead rocks. Of all things in our back county, Hurricane Deck has probably killed the most and caused the most suffering. It's probably also caused the most curiosity and pulled more people into the wilderness than anything else, too.

I was reminded of all the poseurs drinking their delicious Hurricane Deck IPAs down in the funk zone. I'm sure very few of them have actually been to the Real Hurricane Deck. If they had, they'd wonder why the beer doens't taste more like blood or dehydration or the burning hot anger of frustration when you're crawling on your hands and knees one minute and stuck in mid-air in a chamise bush the next. Or perhaps it should taste like wonder like when you see these tiny pink monkey flowers blooming up there, or bear and mountain lion tracks, or the full moon lighting up the wilderness so bright you can see all the color as if it were daylight. Maybe it should taste more like pain, like when yet another yucca stabs you in the leg, or you have to stop and pull ten million foxtails out of your socks or little oak thorns out of your knees, or like when you have to pull a tick out of your bra. It ought to taste a little like hypothermia, too, like when you think your emergency poncho is going to last more than 5 minutes up there and are so very wrong about that. It is good beer though despite Hurricane Deck being the worst place to hike but not so awful that you won't eventually do it again, then swear it off again. Maybe it's a perfect name for a beer.

We didn't go all the way to the junction with Hurricane Deck. We were happy to go up to the meadow, which was dry and scratchy. On the way up I saw a bobcat below the trail. On the drive home I saw a coyote in a field.