Santa Barbara front country
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I was wanting to go up the canyon again but also thinking it is more of a social hike when I noticed it was also about the be lead by the local Sierra Club. Perfect! I can just show up and wander up with them. I was a little worried that it might still be a red flag day. It was Friday evening and those of us who noticed had an extra mile to hike up the road while those of us who did not came back to find the CHP had plastered warning stickers on everything a little after 7PM. The sign warns of towing, so it could have been worse. Today is not so bad except for the usual crowds. I get lucky because everyone is passing up the spot on the end because it looks too small. I go ahead and try it with the dinky car and it fits with a few feet to spare to let the Florida plates in front of me get out. Others are stuck walking a half mile up anyway, mostly because the turnout that is big enough to take cars head in is entirely parked parallel. Ah, life at the Tunnel Trailhead.
Of course, since Tunnel Trail is actually Tunnel Road, but behind a gate, we still have most of another mile on pavement before we get to some dirt. We turn left on the catway to get up to the start of Jesusita and finally a little bit of trail. We are only on it to the bottom of the creek when we turn off the official routes and start in on the heavily trafficked use trails.
|Mission Creek is so dry. There has not even been a lasting mud puddle for a while.|
We should have one more coming who said he would "catch up" after going to park. We wait a while (well, I wait a while) but eventually the leader says he has too many people to keep waiting. I am fairly sure that is not how hiking with a group works, but the mistake was probably made at the start when we let someone try to catch up. Now everyone else has gone on ahead and our missing hiker, who at least does know the local trail system, will not get to come up to the pools because that is the part he does not know. Looking back over the trail as we climb, I still do not see him.
|The canyon is quite full of big rocks.|
We keep to the spine of the ridge for a short way, then take the flatter trail at a junction near a lookout rock. The other trail can be taken to climb all the way up to the peak above. We have a much daintier destination. The level trail drops and climbs in short, steep spurts as it decides it should have more character. Much of it seems to be chipped from the rocks although there is not supposed to be a built trail here. There are some mildly precarious moments as we cross above the Seven Falls and then drop into the creek. I had sort of wanted to try coming directly up the falls, but that was not the plan for today.