Lambs and Landings at Parma Park
By Robert Bernstein
Al Sladek has been leading Friday Sierra Club hikes since March 15, 1974! He hardly ever misses leading one and always finds a substitute if he is away. His hikes meet in front of the Mission at 6:00PM and at 6:15PM sharp carpools leave for one of a variety of local front country hikes.
During COVID, many people had more flexible hours and he added a Friday morning hike as well! Those hikes leave the Mission at 9:30AM sharp. Here are my photos and a video from a hike he led the morning of September 3 at Parma Park.
Due to the fires in Northern California, all local front country mountain trails are closed right now. I would argue this is counterproductive. I am not aware of any local fires starting from local hikers. Meanwhile, local hikers are the eyes and ears needed to call in fires or other problems when they do happen.
In any case, Parma Park is a large City of Santa Barbara park that is not affected by the closure. What was most notable on this outing was the delightful encounter with a flock of sheep from Cuyama Lamb! Apparently, goats can be used to graze on land to reduce fire danger, but it takes sheep to munch lower and more completely than goats.
Here are some views of the sheep from close up and from various angles as we circled the park:
Did you notice the big white sheep herding dog in that photo? The dog can protect the sheep from coyotes.
Parma Park may be a City park, but the distance and elevation gain we covered was actually more than climbing to Inspiration Point from Tunnel Road. The elevation gain in Parma Park consists of a lot of up and down that totals about 1,000 feet in about four miles if you do a complete loop!
Here is a bench to rest on in the middle of the park:
But the ultimate destination is a lone picnic table at a high point toward the northern end of the park. Al makes his hikes a special treat by providing crackers, hummus and sparkling soda or other drinks. He used to bring wine, but it seemed that hikers preferred drinks without alcohol! Al is the tall guy in the blue shirt at the right.
Another highlight of hiking in Parma Park is watching the paragliders come down from near La Cumbre Peak. Hang gliders have a long glide ration and can usually make it all the way to East Beach. But paragliders usually will land at the upper end of Parma Park. Here one has recently launched near La Cumbre Peak:
And here is one approaching landing:
Here I have merged three videos of paragliders making their final approach and landing in Parma Park!
You should be aware that it is very easy to get lost in Parma Park. There are many trails and I am not clear what is the point of signs like this at the many forks in the trails?
Here the group makes the final climb back up and out of Parma Park! A warm day, but happy hikers! Everyone who enjoys a hike is welcome to come out on Al's hikes. He will give you a warm welcome and ask, "Where have you been? Everybody has been asking about you?!"