Lizard’s mouth is one of the most special places in Santa Barbara, so I decided to show you a bit about it right here in this blog. The spot is a known mecca for rock climbing, adventuring, photography and exploring and I hope you get to visit someday. If you prefer solitude I wouldn’t recommend this place as you will most likely pass by at least one person. Also some of the rocks are polluted with graffiti, which is insanely aggravating because it takes away from the natural beauty of the spot. I tried to have no man made features in this blog post, well because this blog is called “Californianature” isn’t it? The zone is located off of San Marcos pass up west Camino Cielo near Santa Barbara. Once on west Camino Cielo before you see the gun club find a place to park! It’s hard to do this place justice with words so I’ll try and explain with pictures.
That’s a photo taken from the lower area of lizards mouth looking up the “ridge”. As you can tell, a rock slab dominates the landscape and boulders are placed along it every so often. Bushes and shrubs border wherever there is dirt. You can’t tell by this picture but, crevasses scar the rock. In other words, it’s not only fun to climb on top of the rocks but in-between them. Also, hidden caves can be found, some big some small, but mostly small.
As I was saying, lizards mouth is a “mecca” for rock climbing and one of the best places to do it in Santa Barbara. Correct me if I’m wrong but I think that carabiner is for climbing. Never mind, it is for climbing. You most likely can’t tell but this rock is probably 20 feet from the ground in fact, It actually over hangs in some points. Man it sure looks fun to climb and maybe i’ll try someday.
Thats a picture to show the sheer slab of rock lizards mouth has and you can also see the vast ocean in the top of the picture.
Overall I love unique lizards mouth but I wish less people knew about it. So don’t go. (just kidding)
Over the weekend I went up to mammoth with some good friends of mine, Mathew Pierce, Patch Curtis, and Sophie Breathed. Matty and Patch decided to run in the Ezakimak run, a 5k, 2,000 foot climb from main lodge to the summit winding up what is called Kamikaze in the summer time, and I decided to document (I got to take the gondola to the summit). If you didn’t realize, Kamikaze is Ezakimak spelled backwards! Get it, cause your running up the mountain instead of down. The run didn’t just include runners, it also consisted of fat tire bikers, snowshoers, and cross-country skiers. There wasn’t any excluding going on, that’s for sure.
This is the beautiful sunset we got to ponder over, and man do the Minarets make the perfect silhouetted skyline. I did some research and the Minarets have an impressive elevation of 12,264 feet (not as tall as Ritter and Banner, but still prominent) with a first ascent in 1928 by Norman Clyde. What I found most interesting though is that the age of rock is “Cretaceous”(that means the rock is over 66 million years old.
Here’s another spectacular picture of the picturesque sunset with face lift(chair three in the front) this time with mount Ritter to the right of the Minarets.
There’s a picture of the sunset “again” taken from inside the gondola cabin. Beautiful wind with a golden mist made for great photography as you most likely can tell.
This is the silver divide with mammoth crest in the front looking good as always.
(Matty on the left, Patch on the right). After the race they both seemed insanely exhausted, barely able to speak. Patch managed to get 20th overall and 16th out of just the runners. In my opinion, that’s a win for a fifteen year old against fully grown adults. I have so much respect for the people who made it up the mountain, in fact I aspire to fat tire up it next year because biking is one of my favorite sports. Maybe I’ll train for it. If you were brave enough to try to conquer mammoth, comment below.
This week I wanted to mix it up a little and try something new. You’ll never guess what I did because it’s not in the title. Infrared photography! My dad owns a camera that can capture beautiful infrared pictures that look out of this world but still are actually of things down hear on earth. It fascinates me because it shows where heat is present and where it is less present opening up new perspectives and color schemes. I decided to hike up the lower part of Romero canyon to see what I could accomplish with the camera. If you don’t remember, I have already done a blog post about the canyon, so if your interested scroll past my most recent posts to find out about how special the place is.
This first photo shows the opposite side of the creek bed taken via the fire road. It’s funny that the rocks and bark of the trees look almost like their normal color. I’m guessing the leafs of the trees have a blue-ish color because they contain more heat than the rest of the surroundings. I love it because It resembles snow and as you might already know I love the look and vibe of snow. some of the branches in the background remind me of veins, lots of veins.
Here’s another picture in the trees but with the trunks of larger oaks. I find it fascinating that trees don’t give off much heat because they don’t have blood. The infrared pictures give off a melancholy sad-ish feeling but I wouldn’t say its a bad thing. I love how the trees in the back look almost black and dark.
This is another picture of the wintery woods. Something else I noticed is that the blues make the forest look so much more luscious than It actually is. Currently the drought in California has become far worse than I expected it to become so the woods and dirt have become barren and dry compared to wet years. These pictures truly reverse the drought making it hard to believe.
There’s one last picture I took of the fire road turning up the canyon. If you have anything in nature you want me to try photographing please comment below!
Hot springs trail is a great place to experience nature and I hope you get to see for yourself sometime soon. I decided to take my Ibis Mogo Sl mountain bike to have some fun on the downhills. Maybe sometime I’ll do a review on it because I couldn’t recommend it more for Santa Barbara County. The day I decided to go out was quite a foggy day so I didn’t get any spectacular pictures of the expansive 180 degree view but I still had a good time. Kinda annoying in my opinion! But it happens to me all of the time and I’m sure with you also. There was quite a lot of grass as seen below because it had recently rained (like 5 days before). The ground was also wet in most spots.
I took the fire road to the “top” as you can see because I personally prefer fire roads uphill but I totally love single track on the way down. The picture really shows how bland the sky was, I hate you fog.
Here’s a picture of a old sandstone wall because as you might know sandstone is one of my favorite types of rock. I like the overgrown bushes intruding the wall. Now that I think about it, wouldn’t it be sick to ride along the top of the wall with the bike. Some day I think I’m gonna try that.
Here’s a view from “almost the top” with power lines stretching across the valley. I love how the fog swallows the wires like smoke. Fog kinda makes things black in a way because it’s basically like a filter.
Instead of riding the same way down as I rode up I rode down Cold Springs trail. You might not know this but Cold Springs Trail is a legendary for mountain biking with aspiring rock gardens, switchbacks and flow. If you are an avid mountain biker I recommend you try this trail. Personally I enjoy rock gardens more than jumps so this is my cup of tea. In conclusion I had such a fun ride accept for the fact there was fog.
The picture below shows the minarets on a crisp winter day. The Minarets are at an elevation of 12,264 (not as tall as Mt. Ritter or Mt. Banner but still impressive.)
Over spring break I was up at Mammoth Mountain because as you might already know, it’s my favorite place to go. The week was quite a lot of fun, check out the edit I made about it here. On the first day out my friend Mathew and I decided to go on a little adventure to the chutes around the infamous “hole in the wall”. I have already wrote in another post explaining hole in the wall so I won’t go into detail about it now. Please correct me if I’m wrong but I think the chute lookers from hole in the wall left is called waterfall(could also be called XYZ). I actually don’t know for sure at all though so don’t quote me on it.
In the picture above Hole in the Wall, and “waterfall” can be seen. The chute on the left is Waterfall and the opening above the center tree is where hole in the wall spits you out. Its hard to tell in the photo but waterfall makes a turn midway through and gets much narrower. The chute still ain’t as skinny as something like Terminal Cancer Couloir in Nevada.
This is a picture of me slogging up the chute and man it was hot! I was wearing just a blue tee shirt and my dakine Heli Pro 11L . I sure look microscopic compared to the sheer size of the chute. As you can see the chute winds to the left getting progressively smaller. Note that as soon as the chute winds out of the frame it turns left and gets wide again reaching the top. Up to the right is a crack that no human could fit through although it looks pretty spectacular. On the left the bush shows how little snow was there. You can even see rocks up the chute if you look closely. The snow at the top of the chute was actually fun to ski. Nice wishy washy slush to soften things up until I hit some unfriendly ice ready to hurt me in the crux of the chute. Overall I had one of the best days skiing I’ve had in a while and I felt like I discovered something I hadn’t noticed that was right in front of me the entire time.
The botanical gardens is one of the most colorful zones in Santa Barbara with beautiful views of the ocean as well as the mountains. I love this place because of the wide diversity of plants the garden has that are native to California and nowhere else. After all my blog is named “California Nature” so this should be the most relevant to what I’m doing. Botanical Gardens is located in the foothills below La Cumbre peak (which I will talk about later) in the city of Santa Barbara. There should be a lot to discuss in this blog, so yeah lets get into this!
This is a picture looking up from within the California poppies. I tried to get a low vantage point in order to portray a new perspective. The out of focus mountain in the background is called La Cumbre Peak which is 3,997 feet tall. For Santa Barbara county, thats a pretty impressive height, trust me.
Above is a picture focusing on La Cumbre Peak and now you the large amount of rock covering the face is visible (also impressive for Santa Barbara). The dead tree looks weird in the garden as the garden is mostly in pristine shape.
Did you know flamingos aren’t the only animal to characteristically stand on one leg, ducks do too! I had no idea but I sure found it interesting as I saw this duck chilling on a rock in the middle of this swampy pond. Not only do flamingos and ducks stand on one leg, geese and swans do too, but flamingos are the posterchild of the practice as they do it so calmly for such extended periods of time. Why does this phenomenon happen? Scientists suspect that standing on one leg while in water keeps the bird’s body temperature lower as they are less likely to one leg stand on land although the duck you see in the picture is not standing in the water, but standing on a surfaced rock. Funny.
Here’s a view looking down through the vibrant gardens toward the deep blue ocean. Santa Cruz island was very clear the day I went and the trees were very green. Overall I love this peaceful garden and hope to go back soon.
Romero is a trail that is prime for hiking, mountain biking, and more recreational activities. During my excursion I was hiking. The trail is located above Santa Barbara and consists of a fire road and a “single track” trail. If you really want you can take the trail all the way to the top of the mountains.
This is a picture of the gate that marks the start of the fireroad. I love the beaten up sign on the right and the rustic red of the gate. The sign almost looks like it was shot by a shotgun and you can’t even encript what it says. Huh? Kinda funny, especially since the other looks polished and as good as new. If anyone knows what or who ravaged it, please comment below. The grass hasn’t been this florescent of a green in a long long duration of time just like it hasn’t rained in a enormous amount of time.
Further up the trail the sun was just about to dive behind the mountains as seen in this picture and the grass glowed with the rays of sun reaching in between each flake of grass. Sycamore trees can be see on the right and left sides of the picture making for majestic composition.
This was my favorite picture I took because of the distinct ray of sun cutting across the center of the photo and the stripped green mountain ampitheater. If you were wondering my camera is a Panasonic Lumix dmc-G7. I bought the camera originally to videograph skiing and now I use it to document everything. It takes exceptional video and maybe sometime i’ll write a review on it (comment if you would like me to)
Magical view huh? The green really transforms Santa Barbara into a massive golf course and I love the silhouetted foreground because it makes the rest pop. The channel islands are visible if you squint a bit. It’s that faint, grey, blue strip running across the middle and the four dots below that are oil rigs. I also like the gradient in the sky. One of the reasons I love the sky is because it gives off gradients that nothing can mimick. No computer generated gradient will ever look as plush as the sky.
During the weekend I went to Mammoth Lakes and I’ll start by saying, it was well worth it. I decided to go up because the forecasts claimed it would snow four feet over the weekend on the mountain. I heard rumors the legendary face of June would open if enough snow fell. (the face of June is very low in altitude so it doesn’t get all that much snow, so it doesn’t open often, and I hadn’t skied it in about five years so I was super stoked). June Mountain is about 30 minute drive from the town of Mammoth where my condo is.
Here is a picture of (correct me if I’m wrong) Carson Peak which had spectacular clouds surrounding the mountain. This is a great mountain for backcountry skiing, just like all the other mountains near June. June lake dominates the foreground with its deep blue in fact i’m surprised it wasn’t frozen. The actual resort of june is just out of the frame to the left.
I have no idea what this ridge is called, but it sure is beautiful. If you know the name be sure to comment below. I looks like it gets a lot of avalanches to me judging by the terrain, but who knows, I’m no expert. “Reverse peak” is outside the frame to the right.
The face opened up on sunday midway through the day at about 12:30. I was in the middle of engulfing my cheeseburger when I saw a couple ski patrol prowling over towards the closed signs holding “experts only” signs. I took one last bite of my burger trying to get as a much as I could possibly get into my mouth in a short amount of time. We traversed lookers left into “gull ridge” (shown above), and it was EPIC! If you want to see a video that highlights the day click here. I swear there was only about 30 people skiing the face. Classic june mountain, empty! After skiing gull ridge many times we decided to switch it up a little bit and ski gull canyon. Gull canyon is just on the other side of the ridge on the left in the picture above. It was VERY deep because snow had been blowing in there all day. Almost too deep. We only saw a few other tracks and didn’t see any other people. Overall I had one of the best days skiing at june and it will go down in the memory banks. If I got anything wrong about the names of the mountains please correct me in the comments section below.
Hollister one of those beautiful places that few people know about. It’s luscious green hills are swarming with speckled cows. Most people go to Hollister ranch for surfing and in fact I have been to the ranch to shred waves about a dozen times, but this time I wanted to explore the actual land to get a different perspective. So I set out after school to try and capture what this place has to offer. Side note: To gain access to Hollister you have to own a parcel of land on the ranch or go with a friend that has a parcel. In my case I went with someone who has a parcel.
I loved the lighting on this cow because the sun was just barely shining through the clouds making for almost ambient textures. Kinda reminds me of “Ben and Jerry’s”, haha, but anyways the sky was a monotone grey that blended with the fog bank, visible directly above the cow’s butt. Also, the ocean can be seen next to the cow’s feet, showing as a bluish-grey. Most of the cows we saw were black but this one was a bit different with a splotch of white on her face. As you can see the grass is very, very green. It almost looked florescent while we were there. It’s nice to see this place so green after such a long period without rain.
Here’s a panorama that I thought was nice, psst I didn’t even know my camera could take panoramas until then.
This was the “sunset” I saw, but as you can the sun went under the bank. The blooming flowers were overwhelming, making yellow dots everywhere in the grass. Again, you can see the fog bank looming in the background giving a calming feel. The tree in the center is called a eucalyptus tree and it is in a marvelous silhouette. Fun fact, eucalyptus are not native to California but, they are indigenous to Australia, Indonesia, New Guinea, and as far north as the philippines.
Thats the surf break rights, don’t quote me on that because I am not completely sure, but it certainly is pretty. The surf was on the smaller side, probably three to four feet.
If you’ve had the privilege to go to stellar hollister ranch, be sure to comment below!
So during the weekend I went to Mammoth and my dad had a really good idea. Go to hole in the wall! We hadn’t been in a couple years and thought it would be fun. If you didn’t know hole in the wall is located in mammoth’s side country so of course it is out of bounds. This means if you get hurt, you are on your own. The ski patrol ain’t gonna save you. For your first time doing hole in the wall I would recommend doing it with someone who has done it before. Don’t depend on this blog post to get you there because I don’t wanna get you lost. That would be bad if I was responsible and plus I’m not great with directions. Now let’s get into this!
To access hole in the wall you have to take the gondola to the top and go left out of the station towards Dave’s run. Instead of going down Dave’s stay right and go around the back side. The picture above is of the backside of Dave’s. We skied down the right side of the picture. This part of the mountain is south facing which means it gets lots of sun. Hey, It kinda looks a like a wave, It looks a lot like a wave! Imagine if it was actually a wave, how big would it be? You can tell the sheer amplitude of this formation by the size of my dad. Can you spot him? I would guess that this “cornice/bank” has been formed by massive amounts of wind coming up the side of the mountain carrying snow into this bank. While skiing it, I realized the snow pretty much wasn’t snow, It was slush. You could almost feel it melting through your boots.
After plently of traversing in pure slush and trying to follow the majority of tracks we ended up here. The top of the hole! This photo was taken from the drop in point.
I stopped inside of the middle of the “hole” and took this picture. Straight ahead is the second twin lake. If you were wondering “where’s the lake?” don’t worry, it’s just the area without trees. (lakes freeze over when its cold) I would say that the hole is about as long as two school buses and as wide as a sideways car.
Here’s a photo I took from just below the hole looking up. As you can tell the snow is tracked out because hole in the wall is a popular place for many people. This is one of the most spectacular spots in california and I hope you get to go there one day.
By the way, after you do hole in the wall you will end up on the far side other side of twin lakes so you need to cross over to get to tamarack lodge. You have the choice of skiing across the lake or crossing a bridge by foot. I skied across the lake just because the lake seemed nice and frozen over. Here’s a picture of hole in the wall from the parking lot. Haha, I know its hard to find but the opening is directly above the tree in the middle. You can’t actually tell that it’s a hole because I took the photo in the wrong spot. Sorry. Maybe in another blog post I’ll explore the chutes around hole in the wall because they look sick! Bye,
Comment if you’ve been through “Hole in the Wall”!