By Robert Bernstein
My latest Sierra Club hike was to Lizard’s Mouth. Lizard’s Mouth is one of my favorite places to bring visitors who are not up for a full hike. Yet it is one of the most beautiful places to see locally!
It is a bit like the Playground… with training wheels! Lots of rocks to climb on, but mostly easy climbs, or else there are alternate routes that are easy.
This outing was just for fun! For years I organized this hike as a cleanup. But there is not much trash to clean up these days. The big cave is where a lot of the trash is dumped and there was none at all there this time. There seem to be other cleanup fairies at work there!
Unfortunately, there is a lot of horrible vandalism with paint. We have participated in cleanups of the paint, but it is a huge effort and the vandals see it as a chance to start over on a clean surface.
Most people start the Lizard’s Mouth hike near the Winchester Gun Club. But we started further back along the road. What I call “the back way”.
Here is where we started the hike along West Camino Cielo.
We climbed onto an overlook where we could see in all directions. Including this view toward the Gun Club.
And this view away from the Channel. You may recognize Michael in the foreground who is a local musician.
This view includes the nose of the Lizard at the top right of the photo. Left of center is a cave that we later explored.
Danielle and Phil took turns climbing into this challenging spot. Like me, they are also both unicyclists.
Phil and Martin climbed up into that cave visible in the earlier photo. It is a bit of a challenge to climb up and through that hole. Even more of a challenge to climb back down!
We did a tight squeeze to get to a big sheet of rock with a nice view… of the fog below! Here is the view and also Tatiana doing the squeeze on the way out.
Then on to the next cave. Some of the group went inside the cave. Others of us climbed on top the easy way on the left. And Danielle’s friend Rick, along with Phil, did a more challenging climb on the right side! Rick is another circus arts person who teaches acrobatics.
Then we descended into the biggest cave in the area. Doyle led the way and was diligent about picking up any trash as well.
Others posed in the cave, too.
We then climbed up the back of the Lizard, with a view back toward the big cave from there.
My wife Merlie took this requisite photo of the group precariously posed on the nose of the Lizard!
We dropped down below the Lizard and looked up directly into its Mouth.
We then hiked across the canyon away from the Lizard and up the other side, for this wonderful group shot with the Lizard behind us.
Lizard’s Mouth is full of delightfully sculpted rocks like this. Happily, this one has not been vandalized with paint.
Appropriately, there are lizards at Lizard’s Mouth. This was one of many blue belly fence lizards in the area. In this season there are many tiny babies running around. Be careful when hiking not to step on them!
You can see the schedule of all of our local Sierra Club Santa Barbara Group hikes here on Meetup. Everyone is welcome!