As usual the bottom of the Santa Ynez Canyon trail was very shady and cool. The tall grasses and plants were encroaching on the trail in places, but it was still easily passable. Also there was lots and lots of poison oak growing in the shade all over the bottom of the canyon. I definitely kept my eyes down on the trail as I was walking instead of looking all around because I didn't want to accidentally step off the trail and end up in the poison oak. It was a relief when I got to the switchback that starts the climb out of the canyon and into the sunny trail up the ridge. Lots of lizards all over the place. Also lots of butterflies which seemed to be attracted to my day-glo yellow HAZ shirt. The bright HAZ shirt also got comments from some of the hikers I passed ("Hey Arizona!" "Grand Canyon!" and "Camelback!").
After getting up to Trippet Ranch I decided follow the East Topanga Fire Road back towards the South for a couple of miles towards the Parker Mesa Overlook. This was the last major trail section in the area that I hadn't hiked, and now I can check that off. The fire road was not very exciting and had quite a few people since it was a nice day. I followed the fire road to the junction to the spur that goes to the Overlook, then I turned back. I thought about going to the Overlook, but it was a bit hazy and the view wouldn't have been very special so I skipped it. On the way back I turned off the fire road at the interpretive nature trail near Trippet Ranch. A California King Snake crossed the trail and disappeared into the underbrush before I could snap a picture with my phone.
All in all a great day for hiking. It was pleasantly cool with an occasional breeze. Lots of different plants in bloom.
My main intent was to get back to the Santa Ynez Waterfall since my last time up I turned back just shy of the actual waterfall. There's been significant rain in So Cal these last couple of weeks so I expected the waterfall to be flowing well. Sure enough, there was water in the normally dry stream bed not far from the trail head. On past hikes I hadn't really noticed that the trail crosses the stream bed multiple times because there was never any water flowing. This time there was water. It was only a few inches deep, but I had to find rocks to step across on to keep my shoes dry. Anticipating water I brought along one of my trekking poles to use as a hiking stick to help me balance on the slippery stones, and I'm glad that I did. Even though there was a lot more (than none) water flowing in the stream on the lower part of the trail, the upper part near the waterfall was about the same as in December. But there was water all over the place seeping out of slopes and the dirt trail was moist everywhere. Curious. Anyway, I made it to the actual waterfall. It's about a 16' foot fall that runs down a rock face into a little pond. It turns out that it was only maybe 100' past where I turned around last time.
After seeing the waterfall I took the canyon trail up to Trippet Ranch to get a little workout. Along the way a little mole was on the trail heading towards me. I tried to get a picture, but the little guy kept moving closer and I only got a blurry shot. He was only about 4" long and looked very soft and fuzzy with his little naked mole nose and front paws. I turned left at the nature trail to go to Trippet instead of staying on the main trail and having to hike on the fire road. Lots of people out today.
After a couple week hiatus from hiking due to work demands I made it to a trail in Cali. The first mile from the trailhead follows the bottom of the canyon and was shady and pleasant. The next mile climbs up out of the canyon and it was hot. Not Arizona hot, but hot nonetheless. A lot of the climb up to the fire road was in the hot sun with head reflecting from the ground and no wind. There were a few spots that had a clear view down the canyon and the sea breeze was cool and refreshing.
Just before reaching the fire road a little garter snake dashed across the trail right in front of me. He was much too fast for me to get a picture. Oh well. I followed the fire road to Eagle Junction and then took the Musch trail back down. This was my first time on the Musch trail and it was good to get off the big (and hot) wide fire road and walk on a single track trail. The trail goes past the Musch campground which was empty, and then ended up at Trippet Ranch where I picked up the fire road back to the Santa Ynez Canyon Trail.
average hiking speed 2.38 mph
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.