Cielo Cruise

By John Wiley

We took a drive along East Camino Cielo recently, and the zoom lens collected some pix I thought you might like. Starting with a large scavenger. Probably a vulture but it was ominously people watching so I’m not sure it wasn’t a condor (white delta shapes under the wings, right?).

The plant life was fascinating too, and I guess those are yuccas but maybe you know what the purple flower is. Knapp’s castle gate didn’t have any signs on it, so we walked in to check out the vista. The castle is looking good, but there’s another gate nearer to it so we stopped at the lower Cachuma view wondering how much of the ruin is incorporated into the rebuild and whether it’s still ok to hike in to our vista point far from the 2nd gate.  We saw dozens of these butterflies on that part of the driveway, going wild on the yellow flowers.

Another stroll was at La Cumbre Peak, where we enjoyed the pine-lined road and view of town – you can just make out the harbor and other landmarks beyond the boulder “sculptures.” We also paused at a “snake” branch for a glimpse across the other side to Gibraltar and the mountains beyond.

The old fire lookout is a favorite landmark from the air, the peak, and many places around town. As the weather heats up it’s easy to imagine sleepless rangers keeping watch there decades ago, and the valiant work of firefighters sparing that little island of pines from all the recent fires in that area.


Written by John Wiley

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