Los Padres National Forest
I decided to go up to Figueroa Mountain to see the yarn bomb, but first take some little hike in the area. Exploring around the south end of the Ranger Peak Trail looked like a fine spot, but it is also little used and crisscrossed with cow paths, so it can be helpful to have some sort of "bread crumbs" to follow. I added in the local geocaches as such, but they do have a different start than the actual old road. Parking is easy near, but not blocking, a driveway and I start off up the grassy slope along a track marked with "no motor vehicles" signs. It quickly approaches a rock and, although there are some signs of travel to either side, climbs to the top of it for the toughest part of the route.
|A long driveway with a forest designation on some maps winds down through grassy hillsides under a sky that looks more threatening than it is.|
It is much nicer down the back side of the rocks and out into more grass that opens up to a wide and lovely meadow. Little purple spots from shooting starts are everywhere. The map marks a meadow somewhere toward the north end of it, but the trail ends in another track that heads off southeast toward a little hill top and northwest along the side of another hill. I head northwest, the general direction of travel for the old road and the direction of the next caches.
|Trail coming into the wide meadow. Somewhere up the slight dip in the middle, there should be a spring.|
I pass by the next two caches at a distance of 380 feet, so must be following some other trail, but the one I am on is a good and clear trail. Well, for a while. Around the edge of the hill, it starts to vanish. I follow the fading track as it takes a steep route through a gully and vanishes totally, then set out on a northeasterly march to cache a bit of trail I can see coming along a fence line. This is probably the Ranger Peak Trail. It continues to follow along the fence to a large cowboy gate. I do not even notice the gate at first, just the locks and heavy chain that no longer bother to keep it closed.
|My eventual target, a rocky outcrop with good views.|
|Looking back the way I came to the meadow and its hills.|
|No one skimped on the locks or chain they used on this gate of barbed wire.|
Past the gate, I climb again. The trail winds around the edge of a new hill and then climbs it being a little more clear as it goes. It gets rocky and starts to look like a fuel break or old road. I come to a junction of sorts where the road goes off to my left and the fuel break it became just climbs steeply. I climb steeply as well as most seem to go that way, climbing to a saddle. Reaching the saddle opens up views far to the west.
|Cachuma Mountain (to the right) is an odd looking bump along the horizon from here.|
|A glance back toward the meadow and spring area.|
|Looking west from the saddle.|
It is about time to finish up, so I decide the big outcrop of rocks will be a good turn around spot, but first I should go up onto the top of it. There are many animal trails, but no real track up it. I push through the chaparral where it is softest. Broken branches show that I am not the first large animal to do so. The chaparral opens up onto the rocky and generally bare top. The view is even more extravagant from the top. It is not quite clear enough today to discern the ocean out past the Santa Ynez Mountains, but it is there.
|Out to the southwest, it seems like meadow with moments of rugged.|
|To the south, it is easy to pick out Lake Cachuma and the antennas on Broadcast Peak and Santa Ynez Peak (the tallest along this section).|
The geocachers seem to think that this is Goat Rock, but the real Goat Rock lies a bit more than a mile to the southwest and 800 feet lower. It looks like a bit of a challenge to get to.
|The real Goat Rock, in the middle, is a hill that is much lower. This spot is more of a shoulder with steep cliffs.|
|Trying to take in all the nearby mountains, from Ranger Peak to the group around San Rafael Mountain.|
|Ranger Peak from the rock outcrop.|
I start down the rock outcrop looking for a route without so much foliage to push through. It is easy to find a route with space that delivers me to the abandoned piece of old road climbing to near Ranger Peak. I follow this down, past what looks like a collapsed mine shaft, until it meets my route up, then follow that down to the gate again.
|The track of a bulldozer marks the route.|
|Looking across at San Rafael Mountain.|
After the gate, I again diverge from my original path to catch the geocaches I missed on the way up. They are along the ridge above the trail I took. There is a little bit of trail up to the ridge, but nothing really along it or down the other side. I join my path again in the meadow only to leave it to wander over the little hill east of my trail where there is a mine marked on the map. There is not much visible of it and what I actually spot is a small sign that leads me to a rather recent section corner.
|Colors are getting brighter as the sun comes out a bit more. Somewhere below here was the Peacock Mine.|
|Section corner on the T7N R29W township.|
It is a bit more rough to get down to the road from here, but still quite easy. Then it is off to the yarn bomb. Unfortunately, it did not fare well in Monday's storm and is not actually there to be seen anymore. If I had checked online before coming, I would have had longer to explore up here, maybe go out to the real Goat Rock or up to Ranger Peak again.
©2015 Valerie Norton
Posted 3 February 2015