→ Photos from Franklin Trail and Agua Caliente
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Tony and I took two hikes on this day, one to Jameson Lake, then the second to find geocaches near Big Caliente Hot Springs. You can find your way to both from East Camino Cielo Road well past where it leaves the asphalt. In fact, by the time you get near Jameson Lake, the road is named something else--Juncal Road, I think.
These are some flowers on the way to Jameson Lake. Blue Dicks and Owl's clover.
Blue Dicks and little yellow flowers. It's definitely the year of the Blue Dicks.
Jameson Lake and the dam.
Jameson Lake feeds water to Montecito. It's right behind Carpinteria.
Hopefully there will be a trail someday from Carpinteria that you can take over the mountain to here. It will be the Franklin trail (it's on the map, but it's not accessible).
The Alder Creek trail, which starts at the lake, is still accessible, but barely because it's in pretty bad shape. But it's a pretty trail.
The sluice. This is on Alder Creek Trail. The sluice is pretty cool to see. It feeds out of Alder Creek canyon right into the lake. Too bad it's not a waterslide, because that would be really fun.
There's Tony and a giant fern. It's like being in some kind of primeval forest.
The hillsides were covered in a multitude of flowers.
These are Delphinums of various shades of blue, red Indian Paintbrush, Chinese Houses, and little white pop-corn-like flowers.
It's a little hard to see (because I forgot to set my little digital camera to the "cloudy" setting so the colors are a little washed out) but this is a field full of Blue Dicks. They were everywhere.
These Delphiniums were taller than me!
Ok, next trail. We drove about 20 minutes after completing Jameson Lake to Big Caliente Hot Springs. A trail begins there. At the one-mile mark you come to the Big Caliente Dam, which is very impressive.
I had never been on this trail before (Agua Caliente trail?), and I have to say I've been missing out! This was one of the prettiest trails I've ever seen back here. Especially in spring with all these flowers and meadows.
Tony and I were geocaching and our goal, unknown to us at this point, was those red rocks in the distance.
The meadows were full of owl's clover. (Small pink spikes at the bottom--hard to see here.)
Pretty creek. Lot's of stiff spikey plants made crossing kind of difficult.
Distinctive lichen on the rock, with those orange cliffs ahead.
More flower-filled meadows.
Owl's clover and one lupine. So pretty this time of year.
Wide open meadows were so beautiful.
There are those orange cliffs, like a dragon's back. And an old tree looking like a dragon in the foreground.
Jagged tree and soft hills and meadows.
Looking back toward where we had come.
This is the biggest Dudleya I have ever seen. It was as big as a cabbage.
A different big dudleya. We are now at the goal, which was where the dragon's back meets the creek. A gorgeous spot with a campsite nearby. And a geocache that was rather risky to look for.
While looking for the geocache I happened upon another flower-filled meadow.
There's a better photo of where the dragon's back meets the creek. The pool would be so inviting if it were summer time. It was very deep and large.
After a lengthy search we finally found the geocache (it's called GEOLEO on the geocaching.com web site). We took nothing from it. Just being here was enough.
On the way back I took photos of these tiny white flowers.
Tony at the Big Caliente Hot Springs. There are a couple of pools. Where you park your car is one pool, and down the trail a few hundred yards are these pools (there are two), which are much nicer in my opinion.
The forest service wants to rip these out. I think that is a mistake. Sure it's not natural, but if you go anywhere in the whole world, wherever you find hot springs and people you will find something like this. So in that spirit, it is a perfectly natural human thing to do a little improvement to the hot spring.
This improvement was exceptionally well done and well-engineered. The water was perfect temperature, even a little on the hot side.
We took a dip, but I took this picture before we went in. After we got it, pictures were out of the question!