Monday, May 25, 2009

Santa Barbara to Matillija Creek

I proved it is possible to hike from Santa Barbara to the PCT at a place called Hikertown. It was not easy.

5/25 - I walked out my front door with 11 pounds of gear, 4 pounds of water and 9 pounds of food. I walked to RoCo for a cup of coffee. Tony was there. We enjoyed coffee together and then he gave me a ride to Romero trailhead and we hiked together.

We hiked up the trail and over the other side to Blue Canyon. The hike down into Blue Canyon left my legs feeling like jello. It was nice to be out of the fog. Tony hiked with me to Upper Blue Canyon camp and then said good-bye and turned around. I continued onward.

I stopped at Juncal and refilled my water. Yahoos blasted through the creek in their pickup trucks. I fastened my umbrella to my pack and off I went toward Jameson Lake.

Along the way to Jameson Lake I bumped into a guy who had ridden his mountain bike all the way from Cuyama. He towed a trailer with camping gear but said he wouldn't need it since it looked like he'd reach Santa Barbara today. Cuyama to Santa Barbara in one day! I was impressed.

Near Jameson Lake I was approached by a jeep with a man and woman inside. They asked me where I was going so I told them Ojai. They were going to the Franklin trailhead but I was not. They let me know where the Upper Santa Ynez camp was and the next water.

Soon I reached the camp and the water. I fixed dinner and then realized there was too much daylight left to stop so I kept going. I crossed the divide. It was quite anticlimactic because there was no view looking back to where I had been. Only a view looking forward to where I would go. The Topatopas looked dark blue and frightening.

I passed a nice spring on the way down from the divide. I decided to make camp along the road as it was cooler now and I didn't want to overdo it. I set up on a small spur.

As I was relaxing I heard noises around the corner from me. I thought it was deer. After a while I realized the noise wasn't deer-like so I peered around the tree trying to see what it was. I saw four furry brown legs and knew instantly there were bears, probably two of them, only 40 feet away or less. I packed up my stuff as fast as I could and got the heck out of there.

I flew down the road. There was a creek crossing on the road with fresh, wet bear prints. I reached the trail to Murietta camp and crossed a bog with fresh, wet bear prints. I comforted myself knowing that if the bears had a routine, I was moving away from it.

Finally I reached the creek crossing of Matillija Creek. It was too dark to see across so I camped right next to the creek. I had the perfect little spot that fit my body perfectly. I slept really well.

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