Monday, June 4, 2012

Day 559: Red Rock - Getting Lost in Devil's Canyon - Gibralter Dam - Gibralter Reservoir - Matias Potrero - Matias Trail - Devil's Canyon Trail

Gibralter Dam and Reservoir

Day #559 * Hike #642 * New Track #553
Sunday May 27, 2012
Gibralter Dam & Reservoir- Santa Barbara - Goleta, CA
Red Rock - Matias Trail - Matias Potrero - Devil's Canyon
My Tripometer: Half Day * 10.25 Miles * +1225 Feet

 Driving across the water after the Pay Gate

 Cossing the Santa Ynez River

 Today's unscheduled highlighted trail!

Take the 101 North out of Santa Barbara and exit on the 154.  Take the 154 North through San Marco's Pass.  Stay on this road for many miles.  You will cross the very high long bridge, you'll know it when you do it.  You'll see Lake Cachuma in the distance but shortly after the bridge, turn right on Paradise Road.  Follow this road all the way to the end.  You will pass many day picnic and hiking areas and eventually you will reach a Pay Gate.  On the weekend, you can be sure there will be someone there collecting the $5.00 entrance fee.  As seen in the picture above, I'd presume that this area would be closed during heavy rains as you have to literally drive right through the river.  Keep following the road following the right fork and then take it all the way to the end.  You will pass the Red Rock day use area and eventually, the road will end in a busy parking lot for the Red Rock Trailhead.  I had my map on me but as usual, I left it in the car!?  My goal was to hike to Gibralter Dam today but the intention was to hike the Gibralter Trail which passes Red Rock.  See what happens:

 Gibralter Dam Trailhead - The Road!?

Red Rock is popularly known for cliff jumping.  Some jumps are over 100 feet and we asked these girls in front of us if this was the way to Red Rock.  They said, "Yes".  So we followed and passed them up...

The trailhead we hiked is straight ahead and at the end of the parking lot.  Please note, if you want to hike to Red Rock, turn left into the parking lot and the jumping area is only about a quarter mile or so up the river!

 Cut Through Trail

I remembered seeing a cut through trail on the map and I assumed this was it.  But my intent was to hike this one on the way back because we were destined for Red Rock.  Right?---

 Remember this View

Hiking with my sister Julie and her Boyfriend Nick, and of course Sammi, we continued up the road.  The gate was locked but at the end of all this when I was getting the car, two pick up trucks were driving back through here.  Somehow they had a key.  There is a way to gain access to many of this off road trails, but I'm a hiker so let's hike...  Regarding the pic above, just remember the ridge line.  The hump in the ridge is easily identifiable and I will use it for navigation later...

 The water is below to the left

We were easily a couple of miles in at this point and those girls were still following.  I think they turned around shortly after this because as we started heading down, we never saw them again.  They were wearing sandals and way back there...

 A Sammi's eye view of Gibralter Dam

 Heck, made it this far, let's go see the dam...

 A baby run off dam, how cute :)

 Sammi swimming in the reservoir

The floating boat house began to move and freaked Sammi out.  She refused to go in after that...

 Unlike Jameson Dam, this was all locked up

 We hiked down and around to the river

We passed a sign that said Destination Route.  We all figured that this would be the way to hike back.  It was evident that it followed the water and likely ran into Red Rock.  However, we spotted some bikers and the one guy said he tried going down that way but it ended.  Hmm, okay...  Back by the baby dam, we passed a hidden little trail.  So I thought we should go that way back because it would have less elevation gain versus taking the road, right?

 The Alternate Trail, do you see it?

No signage - discovered later that this is the Devil's Canyon Trail

 A nice shady alternative to the open sun and road

 Easy Water crossings - Poison Oak around!

 Blue Dragon Flies!

 Hiking out of the creek, where are we?

I kept thinking that the road would be right around the corner.  I outpaced my sister and Nick and furiously raced through the open.  The trail was overgrown but easily found.  My legs were getting all scratched up but at least we were out of the poison oak at this point...

 Oh No!  The ridge -- Way back there?!?  Ooops!!!

 The Matias Trail (T-Junction)

I don't remember the Matias Trail?  When I was climbing out of Devil's Canyon, I heard my sister screaming down below.  Through a clear wide opening, I saw her and heard her say that she was out of water.  So, I left two bottles in the trail for them.  I then rushed to the top and Sammi took a much needed rest under the sign.  I was physically strong but mentally challenged.  Then, two Croatians were hiking down this trail and they stopped for a chat.  They had been out here for two days and were planning for one more night.  Problem for them was, they didn't have a very good map and they were down to under 3 liters of water.

After chatting for 30 minutes, Julie and Nick finally made it to the top.  Julie was freaking out and completely drained.  The Croatians didn't know about Red Rock and eventually they decided to heard up to E. Camino Road, as indicated on the trail sign while we turned right toward Matias Potrero Camp.  After looking at the map, the young couple were doomed because there was no water for them anywhere up that way.  I hope they made out okay.  It wasn't as hot as it could have been but after hiking Devil's Canyon, I was sweating profusely.  Also, this is where we picked up ticks.  I'll explain later...

 Hiking!  I stayed with them, for awhile

 Closing in on our ridge line!

 Ah, the Santa Ynez River below!

 It sure is pretty up here

 Trail sign, just a mile to the river!

Just before this sign you will see a small turn off.  That leads to Matias Potrero Camp.  I may have turned down that originally because it looked right.  However, the Croatians warned us that there was not much of a camp there and the trail just ended.  He advised us about this sign.  We found it, so let's finally go downhill for a change!

 Manzinitas along the downhill trail

 Matias Trail at Paradise Road

I still waited awhile for my sister and Nick to show up.  I was hiking at a fast pace because I was concerned with the time.  I wasn't sure how far off we would be.  As it turns out, we were only a mile and a quarter away from the car.  With no water or energy, Julie and Nick remained at the River with Sammi while I ran, yes ran to the car!  Warning, don't drink the water.  They were desperate and did but they said it tasted like metal, yuck and not refreshing!

 Back to the Red Rock Trailhead Parking!

I ran it in under 15 minutes, not bad after hiking for 10 miles!  This place was hopping.  I drove around the parking lot for a second to glance over for the trailhead but there were some drunk dudes over there blasting the music loud so I didn't want to be part of it.  It would have been fun to see during the day but it was already 7:30pm.  I told my wife I would be home at 3:30pm!  There was no cell phone signal up here so to say the least, she was not happy!

When we finally got home, we began to detick ourselves.  I had three stuck to me and Sammi, oh Sammi.  Literally, 500+ ticks on here.  We are still not letting her in our main house but I think I got a handle on her.  Anyhow, this was a hike that went wrong but I wouldn't change a thing about it because I love hiking in distance and nobody got hurt.  I didn't even really get poison oak, okay, maybe a little, but no big deal...


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  2. After about two hours from our meeting we climbed to Camino. It was already a bit late so we decided to sleep there, near the start of the tunnel trail. In the night we were woken up by a cry that we think was a mountain lion, but luckily we slept in a tent (and didn't know about mountain lions in that time and thought it was a bobcat with strong voice :). The next day we went down the tunnel trail and turned to the rattlesnake trail on the way. All of it was beautiful. The three liters were just enough. We walked down to the Mission in SB and took a bus back to Goleta. Overall beautiful weekend. Thanks again for posting.
    Jan & Jana

    1. Hi Jan and Jana. I'm glad that you found my blog and even happier that you made it out of there okay. The mountains have a way of sucking the life out of you if you're not prepared.

      I hope you can make it back out to try some of the other hikes that I've done. Hopefully they will inspire which way not to go :)

      Take care,





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