4 Santa Barbara Peaks
A campfire discussion on the Cobblestone trip concerning the excessive snow in the Sierras this year led to an ad hoc scheduling of this 4-day backpack into the NE corner of Santa Barbara County. An exceptionally congenial and well matched group of 11 hikers turned up Saturday morning at the Reyes Ranch with full packs and lots of pizzaz.
The 10 mile trek up Santa Barbara Canyon involved some 48 stream crossings, including the Lew Hill special. At the end, a 600 foot firebreak goes over a low saddle to south flowing Pine Creek, a tributary of the Mono, and a beautiful little campground right at the base of Madulce. Cooking odors mingled with the pine to make the setting quite idyllic -- until the Reverends Van Allen and Jensen got started, each trying to go farther than the other.
In the cool of the morning (7:00 to 8:30) we carried our packs up some 1500' to Madulce Saddle, then took off on a free-wheeling jaunt, 12 miles round trip, to Big Pine and West B. P. Going down a shortcut off Big Pine, the leader got cussed out by those in shorts because he had rashly promised no brush until the next day. The weather was beautiful and clear, with just enough high cloudiness to keep the temperatures down, and we could identify most of the HPS peaks in 2 counties. Returning to the saddle, we picked up the packs for a 2 mile roll down to Chokecherry Spring. This was hardly the ideal campsite -- just a piece of dirt road on an otherwise very steep hillside, but there was plenty of water and that was the key to the whole deal.
Next came the much ballyhooed bushwhack to Samon. The leader and 2 others of the group had done it last year, had been building it up for the past 2 days, but refused to go again. The eight who went made mincemeat out of Samon and Sunday strollers out of the 3, completing the round trip back to the "campsite" in 4-12/ hours!! We then moved on to get Madulce, and back to the original campground for the night. The stories were even better that night.
The last morning we felt so good we made it out to the cars in just 4 hours - except for 3 who got delayed a bit. They decided to get Fox Mtn, too! Without that, the whole trip was just 50 miles and 9500' gained, and a very happy time was had by all.