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Santa Barbara Newcomers Playground Hike
updated: Feb 12, 2013, 9:10 AM

By Robert Bernstein

For years I have been leading hikes for the Sierra Club. But recently one of the hikers asked if I could lead for another group that she belongs to: Santa Barbara Newcomers.

The Newcomers has about 500 members. It is for people who are new in town as a way to meet people and to get to know the area. They have many different activities.

So, this past weekend I led my favorite hike to the Playground for the Newcomers. We had ten people which is a good number for the challenges of the Playground. Everyone had a good time and it was a beautiful day.

Here are my photos!

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 373640 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 09:26 AM

Robert, I have been both to the Playground and Lizard's Mouth. I'd like to know what is the difference in the two and, more importantly, how do I recognize the entrance to the Playground. I would like to revisit this place.


 COMMENT 373649 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 09:40 AM

Robert...I have been "following" your activities for quite some time & find that many, if not all, of your excursions are positive,fun & especially, non-invasive to our back-country....so...in honor of one of my favorite cartoons,the Berenstein Bears, I dub thee,or thine...the "Bernstein Bears". Chumash teachings say, you[Rob] belong in those hills,& I agree. Keep up your good work & realize now, your roll just got recognized by the Natives of the land you walk, as well as the Spirits you honor by your purpose here. Sincerely, the Coyote,Chumash.


 COMMENT 373658 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 10:04 AM

The trail to the Playground is about 1.5 miles before the Lizard's Mouth area. It is about a 20 minute walk from there to the Playground.

It is not hard to find the Playground. What is hard is to navigate the rocky labyrinths. I call the Playground "Lizard's Mouth on Steroids". Or Lizard's Mouth I call "The Playground with Training Wheels".

I would recommend you look at the Sierra Club hike listings and come the next time I lead it for them. The next time will be in about three months.

-- Robert


 COMMENT 373707 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 11:44 AM

Robert - Can a newbie to hiking come on these, or are they not for beginners looking to get into hiking? I'm not incredibly fit, but would like to hike.


 COMMENT 373731 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 12:54 PM

New must be a relative term. looks like an edhat meetup


 COMMENT 373733 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 01:06 PM

Thank you for the kind words, Chumash Coyote. It is always a challenge to balance exploring and appreciating the environment against not harming it. We do our best!

Regarding new hikers, everyone is welcome on the Sierra Club hikes. But it is important to know your own ability. Our hikes range from easy to very strenuous. The Playground is not a good hike for a beginner.

I recommend coming on our easier and more traditional trail hikes first. Then you will be more comfortable and prepared for these more challenging hikes.

As for the Newcomers group, this was my only experience with them. These people all had previous hiking experience.

-- Robert


 COMMENT 373757 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 01:50 PM

I too have been following Roberts adventures in nature. I remember well a couple of years back when he was getting ready to lead a group up to the Gaviota Wind caves. The week before he lead the group up there he went up and cut a new trail, even going so far as to cut steps into the hillside to make it easier for the hikers.
In my opinion, that isn't what the Sierra Club is all about.


 COMMENT 373765 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 02:20 PM

I also remember that trip report 757, only my take on it was a little different.

Sadly, it's my opinion the Sierra Club has become more like the "PETA" of hiking groups and that's not a good thing.

Though I'd say Robert, in his own way, contributes quite a bit to our community. What do you do 757?


 COMMENT 373806 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-12 04:20 PM

Yes, he does contribute to the community but it still doesn't take away the damage done. Did he learn from from his mistake or is he still doing the same thing without letting everyone know as he did then?


 COMMENT 373924 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-13 07:27 AM

Anything that gets more people out further intO nature is a good thing,'right? The easier the trails are, the more people who will come.More trail heads are needed desperately, witness mission canyon on a weekend. Can't the forest service and the city put a trail in every canyon and on every ridge? We have the technology and the manpower.


 COMMENT 373951 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-13 08:43 AM

Here`s the Native perspective on Robert`s "landscaping"...He used the natural inviro. to assist those who would otherwise be at risk of injury. He added no metal [unlike some trails I see w/ bars & pipes everywhere],he destroyed no trees,layed no cement,used no machinery,displaced no animals...Compare these actions to simply flushing one`s toilet,where waste is delivered to our fresh-water supply!..The dirt will revert to however it looked before Robert touched it...no harm,no foul.


 FLICKA agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-13 12:21 PM

Thank you, Robert, for introducing new members of our community to some of our trails. Perhaps you could encourage them to join the Montecito Trails Foundation, they give a map w/membership. MTF clears and cares for about 300 miles of trails. I believe members are allowed in the Newcomers club for 2 years. They are wonderful about going to the Carriage Museum the night before the Fiesta parade and decorating carriages with donated flowers


 COMMENT 374293 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-02-14 09:46 AM

Yes, Flicka, I always promote Montecito Trails Foundation when I am leading hikes on the trails they maintain. Most recently on my Montecito Loop hike where I talked about MTFs work restoring the McMenemy Trail.

Trail maintenance is hard work and often the only reward is criticism, as seen above. Every trail we use was once cut by someone where no trail existed before. I will leave it to others who have the endurance to deal with the attacks. I will stick to leading the hikes.

Thanks again to Montecito Trails and others for providing and maintaining the trails we all enjoy. Please join and support these groups. And thank you again for the kind words, Chumash Coyote and others.

-- Robert


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