Wed, Nov 22, 2017
My daughter has been away at school for two months, the longest stretch in her life that I've been away from her. I was excited to pick her up from UCSB for the Thanksgiving weekend after her last class on Wednesday around 3p. I was out hiking in other parts of the county for a few days beforehand and got a text from her that she was going to skip that last class. I asked her if she would like to go on a hike before we drove to Los Angeles. Her reply was "TAKE ME ON A HIKE FATHER". In bold caps, just like that. She really knows how to warm the old man's heart. Seems she hadn't been out hiking once since school started and was missing it.
A heat wave was rolling through the Southland around the same time and it was forecast to be in the upper 80s in Santa Barbara. I had hoped to do some easy hikes along West Camino Cielo but that road is still closed from the Whittier Fire during the summer. We ended up doing a short but interesting hike off Gibralter Road, hiking to a trio of places noted on peakbagger.com. The most well-known of these is a local crag called Gibralter Rock, found just off the road about 5mi up on the west side. On the east side of the road, up through a few other rock features, winds a use trail that can be taken to Knob 2882 (another rock climbing objective), Flores Peak and possibly other places. There is a whole network of unofficial trails all through these hills that are groomed by local enthusiasts but not found on any maps that I can find. They can be found in online descriptions, satellite views and other places and make for a fun way to explore the mountains above Santa Barbara. Despite the heat (88F in late November at the coast seems obscene to me), the air quality was exceptional and we could see far out to the Channel Islands across a blue Pacific. One benefit of the heat was that we had the place to ourselves. The only other folks we saw were on Gibrlater Rd - the construction crews still trying to rebuild the road from the previous winter's damage, and the cyclists that ply the road in both directions.
We visited Knob 2882 first (there is a steep downclimb from the Flores Peak trail to reach it), finding an easy class 3 scramble up from the saddle between it and the hillside to the north. Open views in all directions from this one. We went back up to the Flores trail and continued on to that feature, a not-so-impressive minor highpoint that is fairly brushy around the top. I noted lesser trails branching off in other directions but we hadn't the time or inclination to follow them. When we returned to the road we paid a quick visit to Gibralter Rock. There is a scrambling route up from the road to the rocky summit where one can look down the South Face, a 30-foot wall of easy to moderate climbing options. A couple of bolts at the top would make for an easy toprope, something we'll probably do on a future visit. It has open views much like those on Knob 2882. For the whole outing we spent less than two hours, but the air was continuing to warm and we'd had enough fun for the morning. We drove to my brother's place in Santa Barbara where we showered before the three of us headed off through the holiday traffic on the Ventura Freeway into Los Angeles. Good times...
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