By Robert Bernstein
Once again I led a Sierra Club hike from Gibraltar Rock to Flores Peak!
Here are all my photos!
This was the third time leading this hike for me and for the Sierra Club! The Wednesday night hikers do this as part of a strenuous hike starting at the Rattlesnake trailhead.
Here you can see the Rattlesnake Trail Meadow below us
We made it easier and more pleasant. We car pooled to Gibraltar Rock, above the Rattlesnake Trail. We then hiked a steep, primitive, little-known trail to Flores Peak. The Wednesday hikers sometimes call this “The Medicine Circle”. Elevation gain is about 700 feet in only a half mile! Short but very steep!
We had an energetic group of ten people. Visiting UCSB Geography professor Danlu could not make it, but she sent her parents who were visiting from China! They did very well!
We were fortunate to have many flowers blooming all along the way!
Starting with this Lupine right along Gibraltar Road!
Here Indian Pink made its own natural bouquet, mixed in with Deerweed
Plus plenty of Indian Pink on its own
The best thing about Sticky Monkey Flowers is the name!
There were Bush Poppies
And some flowers whose names I have forgotten!
Here Janice shows how to pull yourself up on a steep trail, holding on to fallen branches
Manzanita is my favorite chaparral tree with its lusciously smooth skin!
Here it grows right out of the rock!
Here are some actual Manzanita fruits
Here Janice uses the Manzanita as a hand hold going down as well
The trail is quite steep and rugged, but that makes for some spectacular hiker photos!
And there were some excellent group photo opportunities, too!
Coastal fog made for some ethereal views
Most notable on this Flores Peak hike: This was the first time I had been up there since the Thomas Fire. The fire fighters had cleared brush along the ridges, making for rather bare areas
But you could also see why this was necessary. Multiple fire breaks were cut. Yet it was clear that the fire crossed some before being stopped by others.
In places, the fire came right to the Flores Peak Ridge. If it had not been stopped there, it could have swept down into Santa Barbara
These flowers are often seen after a fire
We rested along the rocky ridge
We could see the famous Round House below
We carefully made our way back down the steep, slippery trails
The lower sections again offered brush to hold onto
We saw hang gliders preparing to launch along Gibraltar Road
And then we saw them soaring higher than where they launched from!
After the Flores Peak hike, we took a short break on Gibraltar Rock! Notice the burned area behind us! That was an isolated yet rather large patch that must have burned from embers carried by the wind.
We could see cyclists on Gibraltar Road
Before making our way back down, with Linda leading the way behind me
We saw this one final beautiful patch of flowers at a house along Gibraltar Road
Remember, the Sierra Club has at least four hikes each week! Here you can find one that is right for you!