McKinley Mountain, San Rafael Mountain, Santa Cruz Peak
29-31 May 1965
By: Bob Hawthorne
History was made in the Santa Barbara Mountains when these peaks were climbed for the first time on a scheduled HPS hike. The register at Santa Cruz started in 1949 was signed by ten people and then we came along and added nine more. Eleven of our group went to both McKinley and San Rafael which were quite popular as the La Prieta and Ventana Chapters had a joint outing to Mission Pine Basin the same 3-day week end. We found a spring at our scheduled sleeping spot -- a surprise as we had thought it would be a 39 mile no-water hike. The total mileage was 34 and except for 30 minutes bushwhacking at Santa Cruz all trails were in good condition. We had some hope of having the sleeping area designated as a campsite so we could do some cooking, but we were turned down. Expecting a very hot and dry return trip, we cached several gallons of water along the eight miles nearest the road, but we used it to water the wild flowers as we were well-supplied by the spring and the moisture that rolled in with a cold ocean fog over the last part of the trail.