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URBAN HIKE

Bella Vista - Montecito's Banana Belt
updated: Nov 17, 2012, 12:00 PM

By Peter Hartmann & Stacey Wright

This week we hiked a little bit more of Montecito. We so enjoyed it that we've officially decided to walk each and every street in "the city limits of Montecito". By that we mean we'll systematically walk all of the streets appearing on one of Montecito's district maps. Since Montecito has no official "city limits" we'll have to decide which of the many districts maps to use - fire, school, water, sewer among them. As we cover this unique and wonderful territory, we'll explore the sights, history, a private garden or two and hopefully gain entrance to some of the other hidden jewels that are Montecito. And there's one thing about our hiking you can count on - we'll happily share with you much of what we encounter along the way.

This hike began at the Romero Canyon Trail head, at what is now essentially the top of Romero Canyon Road. From there we headed down to Bella Vista Drive, walking past Mariposa Lane (where Bella Vista becomes Park Lane) finishing at the intersection of Park Lane and Mountain Drive. Overall, it was an easy hike.

This route offered stunning views at almost every turn - and we certainly weren't alone up there enjoying them. A virtual playground, this area is traversed by walkers, cyclists, hikers, equestrians, cars, drivers and more. Overhead we watched paragliders carried along on the updrafts high above the mountain peaks. It was truly a magical environment, offering a little something special to anyonone who ventured there on that particular Sunday morning. Follow along as we show you the sights from our wanderings.

This Rancho Del Sol sign summed up the morning perfectly.

Along the way we past many of Montecito's very popular trail heads, and thought that perhaps once we've walked all the streets, we may just have to walk all of the marvelous trails... We appreciate the generosity and foresight of the Montecito Trails Association for creating and maintaining these trails for us and for future generations of hikers.

This hike can easily be made (round trip) in less than two hours...even if you dawdle the way we are prone to doing. Just be sure to wear sunscreen and a hat, bring plenty of water and watch/ listen for cars along the way.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Save the date for the 2nd Annual Urban Hike Invitational!

Like last year, we will take a New Years Eve Day wander with Santa Barbara's celebrated local historian and stand-up comedian, Neal Graffy. Last year's hike coincided with our final "official" hike of the SB City limits, and therefore included a bit of pomp and circumstance. This year, there will be no ceremonious pageantry, just celebration and no doubt some shenanigans as we wander the streets of the Funk Zone. Neal will narrate a fascinating walking tour of the area, and we will visit some of the lesser-known spots in the Zone. We plan on starting at 2:00pm and ending at about 4:00 p.m., which will be just in time for some few well-deserved refreshments. As soon as we determine our exact starting place and route, we'll let you know what we have planned... But for now, save the date and plan on joining us for a few hours as we say goodbye to 2012 and head into 2013.

As always, we encourage you to go out and explore the neighborhoods, keep your eyes, ears and minds open to all that you encounter, and above all expect the unexpected.

 

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