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Santa Barbara Hikes

Photos from South Fork Station, May 2015

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TrailHacker and I went to South Fork Station for Memorial Day weekend in order to meet a young woman attempting a thru-hike of the Condor Trail. We were to bring her a resupply of food. We never met her so we left her food in the South Fork cabin in the bear-proof hiker box. It was a beautiful weekend with lots of flowers, mild nights and good weather.

This is a yellow mariposa lily.

Another yellow mariposa, different from the other.

Another mariposa, this one pink and spotted.

Farewell to Spring lined the trail.

They seemed impossibly pink in real life.

We met the tiniest little turtle near the Narrows.

And a big gorgeous Dudleya.

The climb up from the Narrows wasn't as bad as I remember.

Even in this drought there was water in the shallow pools above the Narrows.

I usually call this spot the ledges.

I found a stick-pick on the trail so we took a selfie.

Up at the summit the view looking over toward the Upper Sisquoc looked so nice with the puffy clouds in the sky.

Happy Hunting Ground is looking a bit overgrown and neglected. It used to be such a nice camp but since the Zaca fire it's not so nice.

This water was nearby to Happy Hunting Ground.

There was water in the creek between Happy Hunting Ground and Whiteledge.

There was water at Whiteledge.

The water at Whiteldge wasn't moving much but it was clear and drinkable.

We climbed out of Whiteledge up onto the mesas on the way to Southfork.

The cliffs on the way to Southfork.

After a long day we are finally looking down into the Sisquoc valley. We're about a quarter mile or less from the cabin.

We set up our tent in the camp by the river. I looked over and TrailHacker was inflating his air mattress with a giant bag of air. It was hilarious!

For dinner I put Spam and Moon Cheese in my mixed veggie and dehydrated rice dinner. That's the moon cheese before it was melted.

Here's my dinner of Spam and Moon Cheese after letting it cook and stirring it up. The moon cheese didn't really melt. It's sort of crunchy. It actually tasted pretty good after a long day of hiking. So did the Spam.

Some funny back-to-back bugs on some blooming Yerba Santa.

White sage is called that because the flowers are white.

These penstemon are so blue it almost hurts.

On our second day, we took a hike up to see if we could get to Sisquoc Falls. We got far enough to where we could see it, and see that it was dry.

We got distracted by this amazing pool.

It was so deep. Perfect for swimming. But we couldn't figure out how to get in except to jump from this ledge. I prefer to ease myself in.

The foxtails on this off-trail adventure were horrible.

We found a way down to the pool.

We did go in and it was very cold!

My shoes did pretty well in the foxtails compared to TrailHackers.

We continued up the Upper Sisquoc. The falls before Mansfield were almost dry.

We went up to see Rattlesnake Falls.

The falls dripped pleasantly into the deep green pool. The water was very cold. It was very pleasant here.

We continued all the way to Cottonwood camp and then decided to head back. We had hopped to meet the thru-hiker somewhere out here but we never did.

The next morning we lingered a bit hoping maybe the thru-hiker would turn up. But with 16 long miles to get back to the car, we ended up leaving fairly early.

My feet were on the verge of horrible blisters. My running shoes yesterday had not been very breathable. I decided to wear my homemade hurache sandals with some Luna Tabu booties and my dirty-girl gaiters. I bought the booties thinking they'd be impenetrable against foxtails. They seem to be, but there were too small and hot for my feet so I could only wear them for a little while.

Hiking out in the morning light the cliffs looked very beautiful. About 1/4 mile from Lonnie Davis we saw a bear! I didn't get a picture of it, but it was a big, good-looking dark-brown-colored black bear. Probably the one responsible for breaking into the South Fork cabin. If you stay there, make sure you don't leave ANY food out at all. There are big locking boxes you can put food in.

Even the poison oak was beautiful.

The Whiteledge cliffs in the morning light as we walked along the mesas back to Whiteledge camp.

We are approaching Whiteledge camp.

Here is the rocky outcrop at Happy Hunting Ground. I had never noticed it from this angle before.

My feet are doing good and are happy. The tape was precautionary.

The cliffs in the Happy Hunting Ground area.

Although the climb out of Happy Hunting Ground is long, the cliffs are so interesting you don't really mind it much.

Here I am at the pancake rock. I wore a skirt on this trip. I made the skirt by taking apart a pair of capris I found at the thrift store that didn't fit me well. The skirt was just like wearing shorts, but it was a little too short and not full enough for my liking. It was too immodest when I sat down. It worked great while walking.

Back at the top again we took a break in the shade to cool our feet and eat something.

We continued through the meadows. The little creeks in this area were all dry.

Here is the cliff where the hole-in-the-wall camp is hidden.

We took another break at the Narrows. The pool at the Narrows is full and inviting.

The pool at the Narrows had several fairly large trout swimming in it.

We continued down the trail the final 8 miles in the hot sun. I used my trekking umbrella. It works like a dream. You take off your hat, you soak a bandana in water and wear it on your head, then the wind blows on your shaded head under the umbrella and it feels like air-conditioning. It should be a crime to be so comfy when you are backpacking.

We got back to the car at 3:30pm. Turns out we missed the thru-hiker by only a few hours.