Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Alder Creek, El Silvestre Sespe, 03/05/12


This is what it's like when blogs collide.
Back to the grindstone. Back to the mill. Back to Indian Cave on Alder Creek, with a new trail mate. Jack Eliott, whose blog has mostly dealt with the Santa Barbara part of the Southern Los Padres, contacted me some time ago and here we are, 10 hours and 23 miles later, plotting our next effort. It had been proposed that we might find a less grueling route for our inaugural trip, but cooler heads prevailed and we were off to the Sespe backcountry for a day of ground pounding. Siempre Adelante.


Things went supremely well on our first joint venture. Jack can hike, and he held up pretty good over the long miles. We got along well and we are pretty evenly paced, all of which means that this kind of thing may become a somewhat regular occurrence.

The main attraction in this neck of the woods is the cave on the Alder, the one with numerous Chumash pictographs. This was either my 6th or 7th time to the cave and I have already documented the paintings as well as I can, which is why I won't dedicate any time to those on this post. I'm sure that Jack will be putting some up on his blog, but if you wish to review the paintings click below.

Needless to say, Jack was blown away by the cave and the number of well preserved pictos. After the long haul to get there, it's nice to have a worthwhile destination. I don't think that Jack was disappointed. I, on the other hand, turned my lens to the areas more natural scenery.

Above: remnants of trail can still be found in the Upper Alder, but these are what's left of centuries old routes. The norm, as Jack discovered, is to bust through a profusion of brush. Climbing over dead-fall trees, tripping on "wait-a-second" vines, floundering through brushy creeks, and eating firewood is part of any good day in the Sespe, but these attributes are on full display in the Alder.

Left and below: Other aspects of the cave on Alder Creek

Alder Creek at the campsite under the Cave.
The campsite under the ancient oak. A very peaceful place.






Water levels in the Alder are good right now. That is due almost entirely to the banner rainy season we had last year. I'm projecting that the Sespe backcountry will be a very dry and nasty place this summer.
 
Above and below: the first blooms of spring. 
Above: California Rhododendron, Rhododendron macrophyllum
Below: California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica



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