The lower gate at the bottom of Santa Barbara Canyon was closed, adding ten miles to the already planned-on 32 round-trip miles. I left the truck at 10:00 a.m. and rode my mountain bike to the second gate, 5 miles up the road in less than an hour. Being optimistic about how quickly I could get down the mountain, I made a mental note that my turnaround time should be no later than 5:30 p.m. Due to the huge amount of rockfall along the way, and having to walk my bike much more than anticipated during the second half of the way in, I knew it would take me a lot more time coming out than I first anticipated, but having made it half-way in and thinking I could still make my original turnaround time (which I did), I decided to press on (knowing that I had two headlamps with extra batteries in my backpack). I ended up walking my bike for 90% of the way out due to rockfall, uphill portions and darkness (even with new batteries, my headlamps were not bright enough to ride downhill safely in the dark). That, combined with needing to take time to re-hydrate, refuel, change batteries on headlamps, having my Parkinson's meds wear off and then coming across a mountain lion; all resulted in me not getting back to the truck until 1:30 a.m. Walking a bike that far in the dark, and being exhausted as I was, I kept hitting the back of my already scraped calf with my bike pedal which caused a lot of bleeding from an open sore on the back of my lower leg. Thankfully, despite my bleeding leg, the mountain lion I came across did not feel the need for sustained confrontation.
The mud was so sticky the wheels on the bikes stopped turning. We had to ditch them 5 miles in and hike the rest of the way. The rain really picked up on the final ascent to the summit and we were drenched, not just kinda wet, drenched for the 16 miles out. Biking the last 5 miles in the dark was pretty exciting. All in all a fun day and I'm glad to knock this one out! With James.
biked the last 5 miles... mud is a bitch. 11:15 RT.
Long day out of Santa Barbara Canyon.
Pics and trip report are here.
The road was completely impassable just 1 mile onto the Santa Barbara Canyon Road, almost 4 miles from the normal starting gate. Be prepared for an extra 8 miles, making for a 40 mile round trip. Was quite warm, temps a bit over 90 when we got back to the car. As for the ride/hike itself, it sucked to have to push the bike up the majority of the ascent, with a few miles of decent riding. Left the bikes just past the Malduce trail turnoff since the road gets pretty bad and riding down from this point wasn't really possible. But the ride back on bike was great, this was my first mountain biking experience and what a way to travel. Only a couple minor uphill sections from Malduce back to the starting location. TR is HERE.
From Santa Barbara Canyon; perfect weather, the road had just been graded.
We did 36 miles (with a slight detour on the way) in a bit over 12 hours.. I rode much of the way and left the bike at the last jeep trail. The downhill on the way back is lots of fun.
Backpacked over this one several times over the years. Love this backcountry. Also drove up once when on the SAR team for a plane crash recovery
Despite the lengthy approach from Santa Barbara Canyon, every serious peakbagger needs to do this hike at least once (though not in the summer). Great views of the area, especially from the top of Big Pine. Can see the Channel Islands and far into the Central Valley.
a) I need to read directions better and not believe in all mighty car GPS. On my way to the trailhead, it lead my through the most direct route suitable only to 4WD with high clearance) and lost even that route in the most difficult spot. The result? I got my car bottomed in the sand hole without any hopes to pull myself out. I had to hike to a nearby gravel loading site and ask gentlemen there to help me to get out. They were really nice and took the trouble to help me. So, by the time I got to the trailhead, I was 2 hrs late. But I had compass and map, ultralight gear and long legs, so I hoped to catch up with the main group (or do it on my own).
b) As I started to walk down the fire road, I quickly learned that although all 4 peaks are on my map, the road itself is off the map. More importantly, my GPS said I need to go south and the road was going west and north. Couple hours passed and there was no sign of the main group. The sun was hot and I realized I forgot both sunscreen and hat. At one moment, water I was drinking became tasteless, my heart rate was going through the high and there wasn't a bit of shade to relax. I put my bag down, reached into it for an apple and eat it. Then a miracle happened, all sickness went away and I felt fresh to keep going. I guess I lost too much salt and an apple helped to restore the salt balance in my body. I decide to follow the road no matter which direction it goes, be it west or north until I get to either water source or a peak, or a place suitable to make a camp. Soon the road forked into south and west and I knew I got to go south. It was an easy decision then. I followed the road down to Chokecherry spring where I knew there's a reliable water source and most direct route on to Mt Samon.
c) As I approached the water, I glanced a sight of a car. Who it might be? I earnestly thought it might be a ranger. As I got to that car though, I saw 3 of them. That answered, why I did not catch up with the main group. I pulled a rag under one of those trucks and got myself a breakfast. I figured out, if the main group drived all the way, they must be on their way back from the peak and I better wait for them down there. My body demanded rest as well :) I saw the main group shortly after finishing a healthy chunk of salami. Then we went another 0.1 mile to the spring, filled our bottles with cold water and drived to Big Pines. Hiked 1 mile and drived to West Big Pines. Hiked probably 5 miles and drived to the camp place. I know, it cannot be called "Big 4" if you drive most of the way :) Well, those guys had enough miles in their lifetime and used an opportunity to make it easy and I also had more than enough for me for a day to complain. We pitched tents, I did my Gatewood Cape and cooked dinner. To keep it short, after some celebrations, I went to bed at a late hour of 8PM or so. I wake up at around midnight because wind became much stronger and my not so well pitched Gatewood cape was flapping in the wind. The ground was also soft dirty dust and didn't hol my stakes that well. I tried to fix it, only to wake up half hour later in the need to fix it again. Then again, then around 3 I woke up because my shelter fall down on my. I did not waste any more time, rolled in my shelter the way transient people do and kept on with my sleep. It turned to be quite cold, so I had to unroll my emergency SOL aluminium foil bag and put my fleece liner into it. Finally, I got warm again and went to sleep. I think, that was quite a failure on my part, if it were raining or snowing, the situaton would deteriorate very quickly. I'm glad I got such a disaster on one of my experience trips with other people around, rather than on one of my solo winter camping trips.
d) In the morning, we hiked to Madulce (around 7 miles roundturn), some parts of the trail was washed down and we need to be very careful not to slide downhill in dust. It was pleasurable and views were nice. And the group was going to do Samon Peak again on Sunday. But I felt I got enough of experience for a trip and used an opportunity to opt out with one nice family couple who were driving home on Saturday.
It was perfect adventure with enough misadventures with some failures on my part and some personal accomplishments too to be called a perfect experience trip.
No trip going accordingly to a plan is worth the story. It's when something is going wrong, then it's a good story to tell. :)
I hope you enjoyed guys.
Biked in, and brought the bike all the way to the spur off the main road where I left it for the last bit up to the top. Nice to have the wheels on the downhills, walked it on the uphills. Would never want to hike the entire 32 miles.
First of four times I climbed this mountain, not because I liked it that much, but because I'm a glutton for punishment. Trip Report
The second peak climbed on a 2-day backpacking trip. Lots of snow on this peak after many days of storms. Got to the top just before dusk and then camped in the snow on the main road where the jeep trail starts.
Back before the fire, not much views on top but still an enjoyable outing and good exercise. Took a bike, but wasn't used to riding at the time and ended up pushing it most of the way up. Still worth having.
Went with Adam Helman, a day after our hike up Caliente Peak in San Luis Obispo County. We took bicycles and used them for about 12 of the 32 miles. We started at 5 a.m. and even with bikes, took us 12 hours, exiting just before it got dark again. Weather was cool but clear. Overall, very nice conditions. trip report
Long day hike starting at 2:30 AM and ending just after 8PM. Big Pine was the 2nd of the four peaks on the route.