Sierra Club Hike Before the Mudslide
By Robert Bernstein
What a wonderful group we had for January 7th's Sierra Club hike! Energetic, friendly, upbeat people from around the world!
Special thanks to UCSB Geography visiting professor Danlu for bringing her fellow UCSB Geography friends Shiwei, Caixia and Pengpeng on the hike!
We had new hiker Paula from Spain and my friend Irene from France. And regular hiking fan Esperanza, originally from Mexico.
Many trails and hikes have been impacted by the Thomas Fire. Fortunately, this hike was spared.
This hike was longer and more strenuous than most of my Sierra Club hikes, but less so than my Mission Ridge hike. It was all on actual trails, which is unusual for my hikes!
Most of the hike was on the Rattlesnake Trail. Because so many other trails were closed, a lot of people were on this trail.
The rock was well decorated with "teeth" and "eyes".
We encountered my music teacher Nancy Roman (R in photo below) who was already coming down from hiking to the dry waterfall on the Tunnel Trail. I highly recommend her Recorder Class through the new SBCC School of Extended Learning. And it is free!
I have seen this in other places, but usually closer to water.
More climbing, sometimes steep, and nice views
We started to see paragliders above us
And we spotted our destination: Gibraltar Rock
We finally reached Gibraltar Road two hours after we started the hike. A spectacular view greeted us there, with the blanket of fog below.
From there, it was a fairly short walk up the road to get to Gibraltar Rock
It is common to see rock climbers on Gibraltar Rock. But this time we saw them along the road!
Just before we got to Gibraltar Rock we saw a small burned area on the downhill side of the road
And a much larger burn area on the uphill side of the road. I still don't understand how this fire started during the time the Thomas Fire was raging?
We spotted a young couple already on top of Gibraltar Rock
And a couple of beautiful manzanita trees near the base of the rock
Then we climbed up the rock. Steep, but short and fairly easy
Danlu was just behind me
For some reason, Audrey Hepburn was there to greet us
We posed for some photos, of course!
Far below we could see the Meadow where we had rested
Fellow Sierra Club hiker Yuri met us up there in his crash test dummy outfit!
Paragliders and hang gliders were having a great day with the warm air updrafts
My friend Irene Revenko is a paraglider teacher
The mountain top seemed to sprout wings, too!
After a long lunch and resting on the top we made our way down Gibraltar Rock
The total elevation gain was about 1800 feet, which is about twice the climb to the Meadow. But the Gibraltar Rock experience is very beautiful and worth the effort!