Recently a couple of friends and I got together and decided to hike up to Lizards mouth for the sunset. We had just got back from surfing at Hollister ranch when the idea popped up, so we quickly got appropriate clothing by stopping by my house. We then stopped by In N Out and grabbed some burgers before heading up. From Goleta it’s about a 30 minute drive up the Santa Barbara mountains through the pass.
The “hike” is really not much of one if you drive to the top of the trail first. So about 20 minutes was necessary to walk up to the spot. It is dubbed Lizards Mouth because there is a large rock near the top that resembles a lizard. We could have brought our climbing equipment to the spot, but we chose not to. In fact, a lot of people bring equipment to climb the face of the rock. Anyways, our group encountered a larger group of people we know. We conjoined at the trail head and began the hike. A few of us got sidetracked and meandered around the mountain for about 30 minutes until we somehow found the top.
We perched over the side of the rock and peered down the 20-30 foot rock wall. We then took out the snacks we brought and ate as we watched the sun set. More people sat around us on the rock and so there were about 25 people. We had some good conversations as we enjoyed an amazing view. The island were perfectly outlined in the horizon, and the clouds captured the reflection from the sea.
We stayed a little bit after the sun set, but the moon gave us enough light to help us find our way. Unfortunately, we got lost in the sauce. Our crew went the wrong direction for about 10 minutes until we realized that the path was not familiar. We kinda freaked out and took out our phones for gps, but there was no reception. So finally, a member of our guys directed us the right way. We found our cars and were able to make it home safe and sound.
Two weekends ago a group from my church got together and decided to plan a backpacking trip. Our leader, Rob, thought it would be a good idea to hike up to the top of Montecito Peak and spend the night. Knowing that it is illegal to stay overnight in government land, and that conditions would not be ideal, we went for it. Our group chose to meet at the base of cold springs trail and start the adventure from there. We all showed up at around 2 ish in the afternoon on Saturday. When we arrived, reality set in. A group of 10 people needed to carry food, water, stoves, medical supplies, etc, up a 3.5 mile trail. The supplies were distributed unevenly, and some were stuck carrying 80+ pound bags while others were light as feathers. My bag was pretty small, so I volunteered to carry some of the supplies.
We began our journey at around 3 in the afternoon. Many day hikers we encountered asked us our plans and wished us luck. At only about ten minutes into the hike, I dropped a half gallon water bottle and completely soaked my wool socks. everyone was exhausted as we approached the 45 minute marker. We found rest at the power lines, and as soon as our tired bodies found flat ground we sat down for a solid 15 minute break. We finally continued on for another hour and a half before we reached our destination. Unfortunately, I was not able to take any pictures of our campsite because of my exhaustion and focus on nature instead of electronics.
For a few of us, who’s crave for adventure is unquenchable, the hike to the summit was not enough. There are always those who crave to get to the top of the mountain. Our group of 5 decided to hike to the actual Montecito peak, which was about another 40 minute hike from the tree at which we ditched our heavy bags. Right before we reached the top of the mountain, someone yelled, “banana slug don’t step on it!” I looked down to find a massive yellow slug below me. It was a cool sight to see considering I’ve never seen one and I did not know they existed this far south from nor-cal. Anyways, our team reached the peak of the mountain and gazed at the sunset for a while while reminiscing on the hike we made. After spending a sleepless night with little sleep and high speed winds, its safe to say that even the Santa Barbara mountains is no five star hotel.
The Santa Barbara Harbor is another historical landmark of the city. It has restaurants, boats, romantic restaurants, and its very own yacht club. But rather than focusing on the harbor itself, I’d like to take a look at its unique surf break: Sandbar.
The Bar is one of those spots that makes Santa Barbara unique. It has a special place in my heart because of all the great sessions I’ve had and filming I’ve been able to do there. More recently, it has become not just a break for locals but for people all across Southern California. With a more connected world, surf spots that are secret and sacred to locals are hard to come across. I’m kind of a hypocrite for writing about it and sharing it with you guys.
The pictures above are from a few weekends ago at Sandbar. The story began on Saturday night when, after getting in a solid hockey sesh at Ice in Paradise, my friends and I cruised over to the harbor and spent the night at our buddy’s boat. We loaded up our boards, cameras, wet suits, and excitement onto the boat. We slept on the crowded bunk beds and got surprisingly good sleep. Awaking to the sound of massive waves crashing on the harbor barricade, we suited up quickly and groggily speed walked to the break. The sunrise illuminated massive waves breaking on the rocks, and I knew right away that someone would get hurt. As my friends entered the water, I scrambled to set up my tripod and get some footy. Only about 15 surfers were out at this time but I correctly anticipated the arrival of many more. The wind was nonexistent and the surf conditions prime. The only problem being the water quality; a large storm hit SB a couple days before and forced the levels of pollution and bacteria to spike. From the wise words of local Matty Pierce, “Bro I don’t care if I get sick I don’t go to school!” One kid out of Malibu broke his board and gashed his forehead after being thrown off his board. The sound of ambulances filled the air as a few people faced injuries. Overall, the day was great and the waves greater, and the moral of the story is surfing does not go without risk.
The Mesa or “table” is a well-known sector of Santa Barbara. It sits above the city, stands parallel to the mountains, and lies adjacent to the Pacific Ocean. Last weekend me and some amigos decided to trek to a somewhat secret location (partially because it’s private property) above Arroyo Burro beach, or better known as the Pit. When the conditions are right, the sunsets can be spectacular. This particular sunset happened to be amazing. After an hour of hiking in the mountains earlier in the day we made the decision to check out the surf conditions. Although we were met with little to no surf, we had fortunately stumbled upon an unexpected gem. After witnessing what we thought was arguably the most beautiful set we’ve ever seen, we scurried home and returned with our cameras.
We perched on the cliff edge soaking up the warm rays and absorbing the fascinating view. The first images shown were shot with iPhone while the last with a Nikon D300 telephoto lens. The lighting was prime for about 30 minutes until in became too dark.
The restaurant that lies below the stairwell to the top, known as the boathouse, is a popular beach side restaurant and is a great place to enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They also feature a take out option for those who prefer to eat on the beach or are in a hurry.
When no one lies below the steep cliff, its enjoyable to hit golf balls into the ocean below. It’s a relaxing pastime especially with friends. My friend Austin and I have a competition to see who can hit the ball the farthest. The view is remarkable and having a set of clubs around can be a cherry on top. We bring up a speaker to the top of the cliff and sometimes lawn chairs to hangout. If there is ever swell we will surf and sometimes sponge or body board. The beach itself is a prime place to walk your dogs both on and on leash and is a rarity being the parking is free. If your dog is too dirty to get into your car, there is actually a dog washing station that’s convenient, inexpensive and helps fund the park. Lifeguards are present for most of the week depending on the day and time. Overall, this is a very kid/dog/family/tourist/surfer beach and is a great spot to check out a Santa Barbara sunset. I recommend coming to this spot if you are in for a good time!