March 12, 2004 - Ed Takes a Hike
Santabarbarahikes.com calls Rattlesnake Canyon “the most popular trail in Santa Barbara”. They cite its close proximity to downtown, the year-round abundance of water and shade, and the well-maintained gentle path as reasons for its popularity. The dedicated staff of edhat.com, as you may know, does not usually do the popular thing: our thumbs are more accustomed to tally counters than they are to channel changers; we take the bus when we don’t have to; and we eat our popcorn one kernel at a time. But, when it comes to hiking, we too tend to favor this most popular hike.
But, how popular is it really? That is what the dedicated staff set out on the trail to determine. We were going to walk a mile (or maybe 3.5) to find just how busy this road most traveled really is.
We left from the Skofield Park trailhead at 9:00am as advertised on our website. We took our dedicated dog Molly. You, dedicated subscribers, were definitely not there. In fact for the first ˝ hour of our walk we did not see a single soul. It was a nice contrast to the day before when we had spent the entire day driving.
On the trail, we climbed up above the creek for a while, then dropped down toward it again. After crossing the creek, we entered a land of pines and boulders. There was a good ocean view for a bit, then the path took a turn and headed up toward the hills. Eventually, we met up with the creek again at a place with lots of boulders, sticks, and water holes. After that, some more climbing until we finally arrived at a small meadow.
When the dedicated staff arrived at the meadow, we re-hydrated and ate our snack. Then, we turned around and went back the way we came. The whole trip took about 2 hours. Along the trail we saw some pretty flowers and lots of poison oak (leaves of three). We saw trout and lizards, but very few people.
The first sign of human life was a couple who, after a friendly encounter with Molly, asked each other, “Do you like dogs?” – first date, we decided. Later we were passed by a man hiking by himself, a party of three walking with a weiner-dog, a woman walking alone, a man walking his golden retriever while TALKING ON HIS CELL PHONE (with an earpiece), a couple of soccer moms accompanied by their soccer dogs, and one man who kept getting lost. For those of you keeping track, that makes 11 people and 4 dogs. In one of those amazing coincidences of life that keep you wondering if there is indeed a higher power, it was exactly 11:04 when we got off the trail!
Contestant Thxalot hit the trail-on-the-head with an exact guess of 11/4 as the count. Thxalot will probably say just that when we send him/her the prized movie ticket coupons.
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