Today we go back in time to a day I had forgotten to write about, the ending of last years voyage through Central California. Having left the snowy Sierras the day previously, I found myself in an almost alien world comparatively. Giant trees had transformed into shrub covered hills and suddenly images of Snide fields filled my mind. The Santa Monica Mountains begged to be explored and I had found myself in Santa Barbara at Jesusita Trail.
Santa Barbara really is a unique world in and of itself. Million dollar homes line streets along the ocean while a mix of LA escapees and surfers mix creating an ambiance not quite like any other. An almost relaxing pretentiousness that is almost off putting but just charming enough to keep you invested.
The surrounding mountains offer another universe though, one that will grab hold of anyone with a taste for getting lost on dusty paths while the sun beats down overhead. It all starts in the backyards of the rich and famous, but quickly turns into something beautiful. After a few minutes along the trailhead, I all but forgot how close I was to a city.
The trail winds along old switchbacks taking you higher and higher until you’re surrounded by awe inspiring views. The Pacific Ocean endlessly reaches out hugging both the Channel Islands and Santa Catalina in the distance. Mountains reach out as far as the eye can see, their shadows getting lost in the distant clouds.
At the same time, a grey haze hung over the most distant of hills, a sign of the smog pollution that Los Angeles is famous for. Even up here, 100 miles away, one can’t escape its deadly grasp. I couldn’t help but think how it was affecting all the animals over at the National Park or the fish in the sea. If the entire sky seemed to be covered in smog, was there an equvilent of filth (other than trash) that plagued the ocean? I had to believe there was.
At the same time, I felt a somber sense of peace sitting near the top of this hill. Thoughts about my past few weeks in the nooks of California brought a small smile to my face as I knew that this trip was coming to an end.
There really is something special about this state. Most natural beauty is formed in the middle of wastelands, having been formed through thousands of years of turmoil. California still seems so young comparatively and that brings more life. The landscape changes so quickly yet every turn is something special.
Even with its cities whose culture seems so off putting, there isn’t anywhere else like it.
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7004 Market Pl Dr, Goleta, CA 93117
San Roque Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93105