By Tom Modugno of Goleta Surfing
When the hills are great and the creeks are running, the ocean has to take the back seat. At least for me. You may disagree, especially when we've had steady surf.
But this year especially, with the displaced Los Angelenos clogging up our surf spots, the empty wilderness has been my preference.
However, finding some wilderness that's empty has also become a challenge, given all the "Corona Refugees" that are off work and scouring the internet for new trails to explore.
But where there's a will, there's a way. And thankfully, Goleta has lots of little nooks and crannies to get lost in.
With our late season rains, even the tiniest creeks have swimming holes, and that comes in real handy when it's 80 degrees out.
The short window of time that our hills are green is a powerful draw.
Early Spring, it looked like the rain was done and things were already drying out. But March and April brought some heavy rainfall, and a second wave of green erupted.
This day, we enjoyed the show as a cloud dumped on Santa Cruz Island
My partner and I travel light and quiet and don't interfere with the local wildlife. (He always wears a leash and we never leave behind shit bags).
We saw more California Newts than we've seen in years. A good sign. Of course we did not touch them.
One day we stumbled on a pool with about 15 newts, many of them locked in the throes of reproduction. A few sets appeared to have a third partner involved. A nurse maid supervising? ... or a menage a trois?
Saw lots of signs of the big guys. Prints and scat all over the place.
Came across a few rattlers. It's a good year for snakes.
This little guy tricked me. I thought it was a baby rattler with no rattles but a friend that knows these thing taught me that Gopher snakes flatten their heads as a defensive mechanism. Live and learn...
See more photos of Tom's adventure at GoletaSurfing.com