Flores Peak Post Thomas Fire Sierra Club Hike

Flores Peak Post Thomas Fire Sierra Club Hike title=
Flores Peak Post Thomas Fire Sierra Club Hike
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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!

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sbrobert Jul 03, 2018 05:56 PM
Flores Peak Post Thomas Fire Sierra Club Hike

Thank you all for the kind words. And huge thanks to KENDOVIEJO for the flower corrections! I had always called that one Indian Paintbrush, but someone insisted that it was Indian Pink. Thank you for validating my original identification. And thanks for the correction and ID of the others! My favorite was the Wooly Bluecurls! The flowers and the name!
The wildflowers in general came weeks later than usual this year. I am happy you all enjoyed sharing in the beauty!
As for rattlesnakes, thanks for the clarification, ODDS BODKIN. No, we did not see any in that area. We did see several not too long ago at Lizard's Mouth. And I have seen them at the Playground, too. Both are on West Camino Cielo, near the Winchester Gun Club. I have also seen them on the Jesusita Trail. I have never seen any on East Camino Cielo or in this area of upper Gibraltar Road. Yes, seeing any kind of snake is a rare treat.

a-1530558069 Jul 02, 2018 12:01 PM
Flores Peak Post Thomas Fire Sierra Club Hike

Why do people worry so much about rattlesnakes? Unleashed dogs are a much bigger danger to humans. And a bigger disruption to the native wildlife.

Odds Bodkin Jul 02, 2018 03:43 PM
Flores Peak Post Thomas Fire Sierra Club Hike

We don't worry about rattlesnakes, but always hope for an opportunity to observe them in the wild. Brushy, rocky terrain is perfect habitat in which to observe.

Odds Bodkin Jul 02, 2018 11:00 AM
Flores Peak Post Thomas Fire Sierra Club Hike

Very nice account, especially the photos of diverse flora. Thank you. Since you scramble through brushy, rocky terrain, how often have you encountered rattlesnakes on your hikes?

KendoViejo Jul 02, 2018 08:33 AM
Flores Peak Post Thomas Fire Sierra Club Hike

Great photos. A correction, Indian Paintbrush, not Indian Pink, and some IDs. Photo #4: the yellow flowers are Common Sun Rose (Helianthemum scoparium), #11: Wooly Bluecurls (Trichostema lanatum), #12 & again further on: Short Lobed Phacelia (Phacelia brachyloba), #13: Golden Yarrow (Eriophyllum confertiflorum).

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