14 October 2012

Yellow Hill Fire Road

Leo Carrillo State Park

Locate the trail head.

I joined up for another stroll with Hike the Geek, this time heading up the other trail at Leo Carrillo, an old fire road called Yellow Hill. It boasts ocean views, yielding a few islands on a clear day, as it climbs up into the hills. I parked along Mulholland and we met in the state park parking lot. After waiting for no-shows, we crossed the highway and wiggled around the gate on the fire road to start up the route. We met two more a short way up.

Pacific Ocean
A lifeguard tower guards a particularly rough section along the coast below.

We quickly got those views of the ocean, and all the people doing their thing in it. We had beach goers and rock walkers and even divers below us. The wind hadn't picked up yet, so we didn't see any kite boarders. We could not really see the islands, though. Haze prevented viewing more than a hint of something out on the ocean.

snorkelers swimming around
Some snorkelers checking out the coastal waters.

highway twisting up the canyon
A touch of Mulholland Highway making a tight turn up the canyon.

We climbed and looked and climbed some more. As we got higher, the fuzzy islands cleared up a little. Not enough for a satisfactory look at them or even enough to confidently distinguish Anacapa from Santa Cruz behind it. A couple other fire roads joined ours, first at a saddle and then at the very top. From the top, we could spot a few homes and a few castles. The road continued to a gate at one of them, so we finished at the top of a hill.

tropical paradise in the desert
The most sticking castle visible from the top of the hill.

sandstone and lava scenery
Getting to the top of a hill gives us a good opportunity to look around at the surrounding hillsides.

We turned back down and took one of the spurs to another little peak along the way. We had another look around, then entertained the idea of going down the smaller path that followed the ridge line from there. We quickly came to a section that was uncomfortably steep and even less used and out of good sense and deference to the one in our party in shorts, we went back to the old roadway where the bushes weren't so close.

Santa Cruz, mostly
Santa Cruz with the much smaller Anacapa in front of it.

Further down, we almost went up a spur to a more popular peak, judging by the thickness of the use trail up it, but decided against. Instead we took the steady downhill.

fruiting cactus
We had a few cactus along the trail, especially toward the bottom.

Coming to the saddle, the group took the most obvious route, but not the one we'd started on. I rather wanted to try that way down, and then a walk above the cliffs back, but called down to make sure they really wanted to go that way. We decided against the exploration citing that some of us were out of water and the rest were low. So it goes.

a bit of canyon and highway 1
The clearer fire road down heads down the west side of the hill instead of the east side we came up.

geeks headed down
Most of the group as we head back down the hill.

As we round the hill, it is looking a little more crowded on the beaches. The winds have started to blow, and they are welcome to our sweaty selves. Thoughts were of beach as we came up, but they have turned to ice cream as we come down. I think the beach ended up neglected by all, in the end. Well, there were certainly a few others enjoying it.

life guard station on a cliff
This looks like a wicked bit of beach to have to guard.

crowds on the beach
A line of people edge the beach just a little way off of the rocks as the afternoon heat sets in.

I found my way back to my car, which happily was shaded, and drove back. On the way, I stopped at Point Mugu for sketching.

©2012 Valerie Norton
Posted 15 Oct 2012

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