Sierra Club Playground Hike

Sierra Club Playground Hike title=
Sierra Club Playground Hike
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By Robert Bernstein

Here are all my photos and a video clip from my recent Sierra Club hike to the Playground! Still catching up on posting hike photos!

Tony and Nick came all the way from Grover Beach and Morro Bay, respectively. Fred, Cloe and Christian were new on my hikes. Amber, Linda, Tatiana and Ananda were back for more fun and adventure!

Here we started through the brushy trail on our way to the Playground.

This looked like a dried flower arrangement

The trail is becoming a gulley in places

Tony was good at finding cool bits even before the rest of the group caught up

Here was the requisite group photo at the start of the actual Playground adventure

The Atlas rocks are another must photo op

The descent into the cave is always a bit other-worldly

No bat photos this time, but we did see one fly out ahead of us as we entered. No photos of that, sorry.

Here we posed in the highest cave chamber

Tony found a geocache wedged in a crevice in the cave. I must have passed that crevice 100 times without ever noticing it.

Fred and Cloe pose with the geocache as Tony looks on from behind

The geocache was filled with bits from 1998 and from this year and nothing in between!

Another photo op at the tight exit squeeze from the cave, starting with Tatiana

Then Christian

Amber and Cloe

Some manzanita fruits were ripe, but I am still not fond of the taste

More other-worldly rock forms near the entrance to the Narrows

As Fred poses above the actual entrance

Then comes the famous Narrows

Fred demonstrates his flexibility

We paused for lunch at the bottom of the Narrows

And Amber, Ananda, Fred, Tatiana, Tony and Nick ventured all the way down to the Bird's Nest while the rest of us relaxed in the shade. Ananda was first on the Bird's Nest as the others followed close behind

A turkey vulture circled above us waiting for something to die in the hot, dry conditions

We made our way up the steep rocks with Fred right behind me

These rocks rolled down to their current locations and became rounded in the process

Most of our group, including Linda, Tony and Amber in these photos did this scary bit with a steep dropoff on the side

Cloe wisely knew that was not for her and I took her around a different way

The rest of the group waited on top of and inside the "mushroom rock" in a striking pose!

Some delicate art survives in the mushroom cave, in contrast to the ugly paint vandalism in the Narrows

I struck a brief pose nearby

I think it was Tony who once again spotted something interesting: A complete shed snake skin

Then we all relaxed in the final cool cave

A few flowers bloomed in a fairly hostile environment

My "rule" for the Playground: Feel free to take on challenges that are beyond my comfort level. But also feel free to ask for guidance to find an easier way. Here Amber  probes the limits of her comfort level!

Then Ananda and Amber take on the crazy challenge as shown in this video clip!

Amber is victorious afterwards!

We are through most of the big challenges, but there is still more to go

We look up at the "cracked egg" that marks the exit

And back out at the expanse of the Playground not explored on this outing

And we look down at Goleta and the Airport below

We meet another survivor among the rocks

A parting look at the Playground area we had been exploring

And one of the many intriguing natural formations

Then we make our way out through the trail that is woodsy in places

And arid in others

Another successful fun day at the Playground!

Please note: At http://www.santabarbarahikes.com/hikes/sierraclub/listing you can see all of the Sierra Club hike listings!

 

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