Sunset at La Cumbre Peak
This Sunday felt like a good day to go for a sunset drive along East Camino Cielo. The mild storm that passed through Santa Barbara at the end of the week cleared the haze that sometimes hangs in the air, giving Santa Barbarians a clear and blue afternoon sky. As the evening approached, I looked upward and saw streaks of white running east to west, thin wispy strands of cloud that I knew would make for a dramatic sunset of oranges, reds, and yellows.
I drove up the mountains and made a stop at Knapp's Castle. In the few years that I've lived in the area, I've visited the stone ruins a handful of times, but still every time I walk through the "right to pass" gate, there is a doubt in my mind of whether or not I am allowed on the property. I feel especially intrusive noticing the progress on a new concrete retaining wall, and the rubble remaining from parts of the structure that appeared to have been dug out recently. There are a handful of others around though - photographers and their models, sightseers, and cyclists - and I join them in admiring the view of Lake Cachuma from inside the ruins of what was once someone's home.
Then, moving on, I make the short drive to La Cumbre Peak as the sun is starting to set, settling into the bed of gray clouds that materialized over the Pacific Ocean. As I approached the 4000' peak, I saw snow on the shady sides of the mountains. It must have been cold enough for the storm to drop powder way up here, and some of it managed to stay hidden from the sun and survive. I parked on the side of the road and ventured out into the frigid air to get a view from that tall mountain above Santa Barbara. There's still a piano on top of the mountain, no longer really functional as a piano, now just something to look at up there. The coastline was visible for miles, the islands were clear in the distance, and I stood, taking the view in, as the city below glowed golden in the setting sun's rays.