→ Photos from 9 Trails, November 2015
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The annual 9 Trails hike had the following participants: Me, Paul, Carrie, Mike, Tony, Jim and Christine. It was a gorgeous morning. We began at the Jesusita trailhead. The 9 Trails hike connects 9 front country trails from Jesusita to Romero Trail. One way it is 17.5 miles long. There used to be a 9-trails ultra marathon run on this route that went both ways, but I guess a 35 mile long run isn't long enough anymore. Now the ultra has a different route and is 50 miles long.
The views were exceptionally clear. You could see all the islands, even some you usually cannot see like Santa Barbara and Catalina islands.
I took a panorama at Inspiration Point.
As we descended down Jesusita toward Tunnel, I caught a glimpse of Rocky Pine Ridge and Mission Ridge between the trees.
The climb up Tunnel seemed especially brutal. I don't know if it was the heat searing into my brain or that the extra fast pace at the start had burned me out, but we took a break in the shade at the junction with Rattlesnake Connector. I wasn't the only one struggling but not everyone was struggling. Jim and Christine were completely unfazed.
We went down the Connector and then up Rattlesnake to Gibraltar Road where we got to see the gorgeous views again. It is the longest climb of the entire day from the bottom of Jesusita up to Gibraltar Road and Gibraltar Road is the highest summit of the day.
It's a long road walk down Gibraltar to the junction with West Fork Cold Springs. It is the longest descent of the day from the summit on Gibraltar down to the bench near the beginning of Cold Springs.
After our bone-crunching descent, we had lunch at the bench on Cold Springs and began our next climb up to Hot Springs. I was so thirsty I drank the water in Cold Springs creek. I was already worried my 3 liter camelback wasn't enough water for the day. I packed an extra bottle just in case.
As we neared the powerlines on Cold Springs Trail, Mike suddenly decided that the hill out of San Ysidro would probably kill him so he said good-bye and bailed out. When we got to the powerlines, Tony decided to bail out, too. He went out via Hot Springs after Carrie showed him how to use Uber.
The views are still nice. Some high clouds came in and really took the edge off the heat the rest of the day. In fact, I no longer struggled as I had been from here on out, although there still was no way to keep up with Jim and Christine who hike so fast.
Downtown Santa Barbara with Montecito in the foreground and the Channel Islands on the horizon.
Hot Springs creek with its papyrus or whatever that plant is was flowing. Yes it's hot! About 104F degrees.
There was a hand-made pool on the hot spring but it was empty.
The only way the pool gets filled is if someone cracks open the pipe. The Montecito Water District doesn't approve of that.
After a short traverse of the Edison road and a long descent down it to the junction with San Ysidro Trail, we took a brief break at this nice bench. Christine found a water cache hidden in the leaves. There was another gallon of water behind the bench. I took some just in case. It was clear my camelback wasn't going to last the rest of the day. Thank you to whoever left the water.
It was a long climb up the Edison Road off of the San Ysidro trail. Then a descent down the Buena Vista Connector and back up 22 switchbacks back to the Edison Road for more climbing. All that remained was to follow the Edison Road to the Romero Trail.
Everyone missed the final climb that connects to a small trail that leads down to the creek on the Romero Trail. I saw them waiting down at the bottom of the "short-cut" and waved. I decided to continue on and complete the full trail anyway. I always consider that little trail down to the creek as sort of my reward at the end of this hike. It's like a magical little elf forest in there and the creek always has water and is such a delight. Of course, my knees are always hurting so bad by now that it's hard to truly enjoy it, but still. It's my reward.
I hurried to catch up, but Jim and Christine had already left to go back to Ventura. The only people left to take pictures of were Paul, Carrie, Tony and me. Tony had successfully used Uber to get to his car on Romero. He completed our shuttle back to Jesusita.