01 February 2015

Deal Trail

Los Padres National Forest

Having finished the trail work, but finding I have a whole afternoon left and a chunk of trail I still have not gone along, I drop off my tools, have a root beer, then head back out along the trail. The first mile is now very familiar and goes by quickly. It seems like there are fewer treacherous muddy spots this time. Memory really is a funny thing. Turning right to leave the spur to the camp, I continue downward. It is only a few hundred feet finishing with a short climb up the other side of the canyon to get to the next junction where the connector ends in Deal Trail.

down the trail looking west
A familiar photo looking down the trail, west toward the wilderness.

trail with a narrow canyon to the side
Just past the spur, the connector crosses a wide canyon, meeting Deal Trail at the head of a narrow slot.

This is Bear Canyon and it is wide here. I take a right and the trail plunges into a narrow slot. This reminds me greatly of one section on the other side of Deal Trail as it winds through Deal Canyon. It is likely where it passes through the same rock layers. There is even the tight corner where the trail drops into the bottom, cuts onto the inside of the corner briefly with a bit of flagging to tell the hiker, then up again. This goes into the same short climbs and quick crossings and even a random bit of barbed wire gives me a feeling of deja vu. The walls get quite high, and then it opens up again.

opening into a short V canyon
Starting into the slot. Just the right is rocky so far.

barbed wire across a sandstone arch
Must not let whatever is being kept in or out with this bit of fence to get through under the sandstone arch.

much sculpted wall
The walls just keep getting higher and are covered with intricate carvings by the water.

There are short narrow sections as I continue downward. I pass dried seed pods held high by Matilija poppies a few times. A tiny canyon proves to have a little water running down it and I follow it for a little while before it sinks in again.

canyon widening and there are many standing burned things
The wide spots were once populated by trees, but somewhat recent fire has removed all too many of them.

Matilija poppy seed pods
Some Matilija poppy seed pods. These do not seem to spiral the way I am used to.

short canyon with a V shape
There is not much more to this canyon than can be seen, yet it has water to offer.

I begin to hear the highway above. The trail comes out into a bigger canyon and follows the direction of the road, but far below, for a ways. Eventually, I cross the same gas pipeline that crosses Camino Cielo near the sixth table. The warning sign is rusted and fallen. Shortly after, the trail makes the turn to go and meet the road.

canyon with some rocky layered slopes opening up
The rocky slopes as the trail gets near the road.

sandstone with holes in it
One last mildly interesting bit of sandstone carving.

road sign for the trail
Signs at the trailhead beside the road. There is a large turnout here.

Once out on the road, I can either retrace my steps or walk up the road. It is slightly shorter by the road, but nearly the same. It is also a different viewpoint. There is very little shoulder along the way, but also very little traffic.

Highway 33 winds its way back up to the top of the Deal Connector.

The road walk is not too bad. I get to see things I do not notice while trying to brake as little and late as possible for the turns. It passes quickly after one distraction for a benchmark sign (but no benchmark nearby) and another for a small flat with a large road gate and a view of the Cuyama badlands beyond.

Cuyama badlands
The Cuyama badlands redden in the late sunlight. The moon is already climbing into the sky.

©2015 Valerie Norton
Posted 7 February 2015

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