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Santa Barbara County Trails and Mountain Canyons

Goleta Gap Fire and it's aftermath
Figueroa Mountain
Rattlesnake Canyon
Lake Cachuma

Rattlesnake Canyon view from the meadow
Rattlesnake Canyon Slideshow - Fire Ecology - December 20, 2012

View from Gibralter Road

Day trip up Gibralter Rd. to Agua Caliente - November 11, 2012 Slideshow

Santa Barbara Lookout Fire

Lookout Fire

Santa Barbara Lookout Fire taken early October 17, 2012

Gibralter Dam

Camino Cielo - February 14, 2010, from this ridge top road above Santa Barbara you can see the Los Padres National forest, a panoramic view of the Santa Barbara coast, the Tea fire burn area and Gibralter Dam

Santa Barbara County Real Time Rainfall Totals

Jesusita fire NASA  image

NASA image Jesusita Fire, California, from May 13, 2009

Jesusita Fire May 6, 2009 - by May 9th there were over 8,000 acres burned and more than 90 properties damaged or lost

Dramatic Pictures of the Jesusita Fire from Scotts Blog

Ray Ford article on the state of the trails after the Jesusita Fire

Rattlesnake Canyon Trail afte the fire

Rattlesnake Canyon after the November 2008 Tea Fire - March 28, 2009 | Rattlesnake Canyon Page

I had a wonderful early spring hike up Rattlesnake Canyon Trail. It left me feeling uplifted to see the new growth after the gentle nicely spaced rains this winter. The Goleta Mountains old burned areas look green as well after the rains. It is strange how worried I was about how the canyons would be after the fire. Rattlesnake is just as wonderful and perhaps even more so because of being able to witness the miraculous recovery from fire.

Goleta Mountains new growth
Goleta Mountains with new growth after the Gap Fire - March 28, 2009

View from Campus Point, UCSB, Goleta
View of the Santa Barbara Mountains from the Goleta Area - April, 5, 2006

The Santa Ynez Mountains grow more and more dear to me. They are a thing of delight and wonder. And now that as an adult I have observed the drastic devastating effects that fire has on them they also are a source of bewilderment and unease. How will they grow back into what I have learned to care for and cherish; the riot of Oaks, Sages, Ceanothus, Artemisia, Manzanita and other Chaparral natives, the wild untamed streams and canyons, not much different than they have been for generations.

Hikes over the years have included the somewhat horrified observations of the charcoaled remains from years gone by. But this year was my generations turn to become aware of the fire cycles like natures wars that are a part of chaparral ranges. The earlier Zaca Fire (October 2007), and this years Gap Fire (July 2008) and Tea fire (November 2008) all await the return of the mountain plants. Yes, some fresh growth can be seen returning at the Zaca Fire area but my last visit left me a bit shaken.

Our delicate mountains not quite desert and not quite forest have left me uneasy, wondering how long it will take for them to return to what I had thought was their unshakable splendor. The mountains like people and communities go through devastating times and it is only human to fear that the devastation will last while waiting for the growth and renewal. 

Like the fires the flames of greed, and misunderstanding have scorched us all. The fear that we have lost our way as a people, and are left to wander or die in the desert before reaching the true holy land is part of our tradition. Yet, the string of desire leads to a belief that we can find a place of harmony with what is good and true, a place with life invigorating streams, creeks and rivers where trees and plants grow and nurture generations to come. I guess that is why I have grown to love the mountains because they are such a source of bounty that one learns to love and understand life by knowing them. 

(December 14, 2008)

Independent Article: After the Fire - 2/19/09 by Virginia Hayes

Yes, the mountains are starting to green up in much of the burn areas after the fire. 2/21/09

Tea Fire burn area

These photos were taken November 30, 2008 while riding in a car on the freeway. It was a very dry year and a warm summer so the mountains were ripe for fires. The mountains above Goleta had a fire in July called the Gap fire and the mountains above Santa Barbara had the November Tea Fire.

SB Mountains

SB Mountains

Views of the Santa Barbara Mountains from the Ocean - including the areas before the T fire burn. (March 2007 | August 2008)

Goleta Gap Fire - July 2008

Goleta Gap Fire - July 2, 2008

Goleta Gap Fire and it's aftermath

Wildflowers at Figueroa Mountain - May 11, 2008

Wildflower Trip to Manzana Trail - May 11, 2008
Manzana Trail Area - Sunset Valley area - Los Padres National Forest - Santa Lucia Ranger District, Figueroa Mountain, Santa Ynez, Nira campground

Lynn Watson's NatureShutterbug.com - Manzana Creek May 17, 2008, Slideshow

Romero Canyon, Montecito Foothills

Romero Canyon Hike, Montecito Foothills - February 23, 2008

Tunnel Trail - Mission Canyon, Santa Barbara, CA

Tunnel Trail, Mission Canyon, Santa Barbara December 2007
Chaparral types of plant communities compose 3 percent of the earths land surface. This mediterranean habitat is located on western borders of continents in narrow strips between 30 and 45 degree latitudes. (Santa Barbara Day Hikes, Raymond Ford Jr., 2000)

Figueroa Mountain

Figueroa Mountain, Santa Barbara County, California

Gaviota Hot Springs Trail
Gaviota Hot Springs Trail, Santa Barbara, California
April 21, 2007

Gaviota Fire - June 7, 2004 | Gaviota Burn Area October 2004

California-Lilac, Ceanothus Megacarpus Nutt, bigpod ceanothus
Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange
Ecology: Vol. 59, No. 6, pp. 1256–1263.

Tangerine Falls

Cold Springs hike up to Tangerine Falls, 02/25/06

Santa Barbara Links

Steven Pinker's Photos of Santa Barbara, the Pacific Coast, & San Francisco II  (Some very beautiful shots of Santa Barbara, some from the air)

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Callie's e-mail: cjbowdish@hotmail.com