24 November 2007

Red Rock

Los Padres National Forest

Locate the trailhead.

There's been some fires in the backcountry for a month or two and their effects could be seen near Paradise Road on the way to Red Rock, even a little bit on the river side of the road. There was also a bit of construction on the last river ford forcing us to park a bit before the parking lot and navigate bulldozed areas and pumping equipment to get to the trail. Thanks to the fires and it being just about along the fire road, the trail also required navigating bulldozed areas if a little less extreme in the bulldozing.

Well established fire road.
A nice wide trail thanks to the fire road being reestablished, but no actual burn around here.

The river is just a series of puddles, though many of them are quite deep.

Deep pool along the river that isn't doing any particular amount of flowing.
A deep pool along the generally dry Santa Ynez River.

We kept on going along and vaguely up to the end of the fire road, which ends in a dirt road that passes by Gibraltar Dam.

Gibralter Dam from below.
Looking up from below, Gibraltar Dam looks quite large.

Just past the fork between the dam road and the road we were on, there was a sign marking who yielded to who and investigation found a lovely little trail following a tributary which may have been Devil's Canyon. The minute stream actually had a little water flowing in it and the few crossings gained some complaint even though we didn't fall for the illusion on ground at one that was very full of leaves.

The trail wound up a little more steeply than before. Even this small canyon seemed to have evidence that people had once driven it. The trail climbed a little way out of the canyon and continued on up. We found the very old remains of power lines near the trail and spotted some in use ones a ways above. About the time we stopped for lunch, we met some bicyclists coming down. We didn't know where we might be headed, so asked them what was ahead. They didn't seem to think there was very much there and estimated they'd been going for some ten miles or so, so we turned back after lunch. The map indicates that we'd have eventually gotten to Tunnel Trail and Rattlesnake Canyon after that, possibly in less than ten miles.

On the way back down, we detoured to hike up to the top of the dam. They've got surveillance out, so someone else has pictures of that. I did not actually photograph the water, but I did get some more pools on teh way back.

Pool along Santa Ynez showing high water lines far above the little puddle left.  Someone has built an ineffective dam across the lower side of it.
Another, smaller and shallower pool along the Santa Ynez River showing many high water lines far above where the shallow pool is now. Someone has tried to keep the water here bad building a stone dam on the lower end.

A bit of very dry Santa Ynez River.
Most of the riverbed is quite dry and the trail crosses it many times.

Finally, after about eleven miles total walking, we got back to Red Rock. That was quite enough hiking for one day, so I suppose lunch had been a good time to turn around. It was a late lunch anyway.

Red Rock towering above not much pool. The base of Red Rock and the pool below.
Red Rock, a popular (and killer) diving spot. The base of Red Rock. The water has receded and shows well why this is an unwise diving spot.

Hills near Red Rock with a bit of copper in them to turn them green.
Near Red Rock, the rocks aren't all red. Actually green is a more common color as seen in this hillside.

© 2007,2008 Valerie Norton
Posted 7 January 2008
Last updated 8 January 2008

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