Sunset at La Cumbre Peak

Sunset at La Cumbre Peak title=
Sunset at La Cumbre Peak
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By Michael

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. 

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Flicka Mar 09, 2018 01:36 PM
Sunset at La Cumbre Peak

Thanks for taking the time to post your photos and explain them. Knapp's Castle was not anyone's actual home but a place to visit, for the owners to get into the mountains. A lot of people used to have beach cottages too, not to live in but for going to the beach. Might spend the night in those places.

420722 Mar 08, 2018 03:19 PM
Sunset at La Cumbre Peak

Is that the same piano that was only going to be there “temporarily” since last year?

KuroNeko Mar 08, 2018 01:10 PM
Sunset at La Cumbre Peak

Thank you for the beautiful pictures and nicely written article, Michael! My Chumash ancestors called La Cumbre Peak "tiptipšup". 'šup' (pronounced like 'shoop') refers to earth or land. Not sure what the 'tiptip' means. Anyway, you inspire me to go hiking in these mountains or at least take a drive up there!

Artemisia Mar 08, 2018 08:44 PM
Sunset at La Cumbre Peak

"tip" alone means salt, but as a prefix to a noun it means big or expansive. Doubling (or reduplicating) makes it even more so. Interestingly, La Cumbre Peak was once known as Tiptop Mountain -- possibly a language borrowing from Chumash. Thanks to the Santa Ynez Chumash for their wonderful Samala language dictionary.

a-1575965953 Mar 08, 2018 11:07 AM
Sunset at La Cumbre Peak

Nice to see water up there. I believe it's the westerly winds that cleared the air so nicely. Send that smog back to L.A.

John Wiley Mar 08, 2018 10:32 AM
Sunset at La Cumbre Peak

Magnificent! Thanks for the deep breath of memory these views inspire.

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