Los Padres National Forest
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Something about the air on Wednesday just seemed to scream out to me, "You must come to the mountains!" Yet, as I looked to the Santa Ynez Mountains themselves, they were entirely crowned in clouds. The stunning air over everything else did not quite extend high enough. After another evening of rain, the morning air again seemed to shout of what a grand time it would be at the top of that ridge, but this time the ridge line supported it. Outside of my plans, but inside of what was possible, it took a little time to convince me, but I finally relented to the arguments and took to the mountains for some small explorations I have meant to do. The first is a pair of barricades across long decayed road, both of which have "no motor vehicles" signs and a break in the middle for walkers to pass. There is no indication of where walkers may pass to as I pull into the turn out next to the barricade, but there is a narrow and distinct path through the thick vegetation. Walkers certainly get somewhere.
|What was once the road into the Goddard Picnic Area.|
The hole through the brush is a narrow rectangle and seems to be a doorway into a new place. On the other side, the old road is obvious for a bit, but has been buried under a large amount of cut brush. A clear path continues on the very edge. There are glimpses of a snow covered cliffy mountain partly obscured by a grassy bump to the north. Big Pine and West Big Pine behind Little Pine. I try to get a better view of them, but it seems like this whole section of the mountain just wants to look at the ocean.
|Just enough view to the north to know that there is some amazing beauty going on over there, but not enough to really witness the snowy Big Pine Mountain and the rest.|
Ahead, the old road plunges back into thick vegetation. It is difficult to discern as it reaches the top of the hill and whatever it was that was here before. Most recently, that was the Goddard Picnic Area. Before that, it was some sort of Buddhist retreat built by Dwight Goddard, who seems to have gone off as a missionary to China but found something he liked better there. The first and most obvious indication of anything is a water tank, but look a little harder and there is more. The path comes to a low concrete wall that is vanishing into the forest litter. It traces out a rectangle the size of a large room. Behind the tank is a larger wall, and scattered about are more small concrete foundations. A row of lilies still grow where the gardens were and there are rock walls that must also have been part of the gardens. Other flowers that commonly mark old cabin sites sprawl across here and there is even a thing that looks like an old well, although probably decorative.
|The rectangle of low concrete wall has a cut off corner. A doorway position perhaps?|