It was hot already at 7 as I biked up to Cold Spring. My route went through the devastation of the Tea fire. Which stopped so close to Cold Spring trail. And a few months later the Jesusita fire went on to burn its west fork.
When I was in college I used to bike over to Chantry Flats and hike. I didn’t know where I was going, I just knew that I could go for hours without seeing a road. I would stumble back in the evening twilight. When I left Pasadena I took a few pictures, but I thought “Why bother? I can always return.”
Well, now that forest has burned up too, and I can’t return, not in my lifetime anyway.
September is probably not the best time to do this, at the end of a dry summer everything looks a little sere. But now is when I am here, thinking of it. So now is when I shall do it.
I want to remember the simple, ordinary things. Normally I look for things that strike my fancy, but today, I want to capture the essence. These very ordinary trees reaching over the trail. Nothing special, but worth remembering nonetheless.
The lower part of the trail goes beside (or near) the stream. Today, at the end of summer, with no rain since June, the stream is hibernating, it has hidden itself under the ground, and all I see is the dry stream bed.
In a month or two the Sycamores will start dropping their leaves. One of the few local trees that bothers to do that. But for now the sun shines brightly on those leaves…
|Mud||Normally a pretty waterfall|
The trail crosses the streambed here, and winds up on the other side. Then it crosses again and here the water has been pushed to the surface, a little of it runs over the rocks where I cross, and a fern takes advantage of the water and the sun.
After I’ve been trotting through the canyon for about 20 minutes the trail breaks out into the sunlight. It’s hot today. Here are the powerlines. And here is the first view of the trees. About halfway up the trail, standing tall amid the chaparral, there are two eucalyptus trees. How they got there, I don’t know. But they are visible for a long way, quite different from the surrounding landscape, and make a clear goal. I’m going up there (and beyond). From here, just a tiny dot on top of a ridge line… but I’ll get there.
Then round the bend and past the “No trespassing” sign that marks the Hot Springs connector trail.
From here I get a second view of the trees. They still look terribly far away. The trail continues on this ridge for a bit and then starts climbing, eventually reaching the hill in the distance where it is dimly visible traversing on a diagonal under the trees.
Now we head toward Montecito Peak. The trail is fairly exposed here and travels through chaparal (mostly manzanita) about as high as I am. Sometimes I can see over it, often not.
Switchbacks criss-cross this area, eventually taking me to the shady side of the peak.
Again Camino Cielo is on the right, on the left is the trail, which bends right and follows a series of ridges which lead, eventually to the road.
Out from under the shrubbery the trail bends right and then makes a big “U”, eventually looking back on Montecito Peak.
After a few more twists and turns I reach the top. The paved road, Camino Ciello.
Sigh. But that journey is for another day. Rusty has only given me a two hour run today, and it takes about one hour to get here. I must turn back now.
And another of Montecito Peak.
And here is a flower. I realize it is the first I have noticed today. Whereas a few months ago the trail had many wildflowers, today there are almost none. Spring is long gone, and now summer is over too.
|Seed pods||produced by these June flowers|
|And here a few seed pods from the clemantis which bloomed even earlier.|
But between the trees, I see the barren wasteland left by the Jesusita fire.