Thursday, May 21, 2015

On Sabbatical and/or Retirement?

Please pardon my absence. Everything is fine, and for those who've expressed concern, while I appreciate the sentiment I can assure you that there's nothing to worry about. I've recently decided to take a break and devote some time to other interests, namely sculpting and spearfishing, motorcycle adventure travel, and Native American rock art (among other things). 

I've seen so much of the Southern Los Padres over the years that it's not inconceivable that I may be experiencing a degree of burnout. Then again, maybe I'm out there doing all my usual stuff and neglecting to tell anyone about it.

What this writing may be is a notification of my retirement from penning this page. I've been contemplating the idea of retirement for a while now. First, I don't write this page to bolster my self esteem, so it's not about satisfying a craving for attention or supporting my "fragile male ego". While I do enjoy writing these posts and sharing new experiences, and while it is true that through this page I've gotten feedback and ideas and met some really great people, there do remain some persuasive reasons to quit. Foremost among these is that I am mightily tired of so many people knowing what I've been up to. I am, at heart, a misanthropic introvert who doesn't much care what people think of me as long as they don't hinder what I want to do. That being said, there seems to be a subset of readers (including archaeologists, the USFS, USF&W, and the WWP) who are actively looking for a way to say "Gotcha Bitch!" when I stray into private property or into the Condor Sanctuary or when I poke my nose into some place I probably don't belong. If I am in fact retiring from writing this rag then I am getting those people back right now because you know what? I have every intention of going where I like, seeing what I want to see, and if I have no compulsion to share those destinations then I really will have become the ghosting brush ninja. So my methods haven't changed, I'm just deciding wether or not to have any kind of on-line presence at this point (I will be keeping my Flickr page for sure). That just about covers whatever I felt I had to say on this subject.

Meanwhile, do the voodoo that you do.


  1. Take your time, my friend. Go grab a grey ghost. Or two. Take some to the backcountry and cook it over the fire. Perhaps a traditional campout might be in order. Or a short backpack to sleep under the stars. You don't have to go gonads deep in PO on EVERY excursion. Take it easy. We all lose a little mountain mojo now and then.

  2. Take your time. Just be sure to come back :)

  3. Thanks for posting an update. I was about to email you to make sure nothing was broken. You've got plenty of inspiration posted here even if you never do another hike, but I hope you do.

  4. Glad to hear all is well with you my friend. I was starting to get worried. Looking forward to the day that you get back in the saddle and tell me about all the places I haven't been.


  5. I'm usually oblivious, but I had noticed your absence. I'm glad to see that you are well DS. Thank you for what you do.

    I hope you are strengthened by your break. I'll be piddling around the Sierra this summer, thinking of your exploits.

  6. Well I wasn't the only one who was missing ya, you had a bunch of us addicted to your posts. It's been a true pleasure tagging along and sharing what I could. If you can forgive the sappy metaphor, I think your journey is taking a new unmarked trail, probably with a few high peaks. Who knows, maybe it'll turn out to be a loop!
    My best, Lee T.

  7. Hope to find you back on the trails soon!

  8. I totally understand! Enjoy yourself David...

  9. Thanks for update David. Look forward to seeing some of those sculptures.

    See you in due time!

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  11. DS,

    I won't lie, I will be sad that your awesome posts would come to an end.

    Whatever you decide I'd hope that you might consider leaving the site up. Perhaps, in your time, even publishing a book of some of your favorite trips, photos on the SLP.

    Your site is as comprehensive blog as I've ever seen on the SLP. I've appreciated your adventures, photos, and love of local history.

    I would buy a few copies of that book in a heartbeat and recommend it to all I know.

    That being said, have tons of fun mate. I hope your break to-date has been what you've needed.

    Nec asperra terrent.

  12. I do so miss the blog but am glad you have kept it up as a resource.

  13. Jeremy Jacobus here, a/k/a : 1000 Hikes in 1000 Days!

    In 2013, I too retired. Your blog, among others, was motivational for me to make my journey possible. Like you, I stopped writing about it, mostly because I stopped hiking every single day, which was insane, but I did it. Topping it off with Mt. Whitney was satisfaction. Yet, I missed it. From time to time I check out my blog, tried a few new things, but then I recently read a comment that was left where I inspired someone else to hike 1000 trails in 1000 days. I looked him up on Facebook, called him and then hiked Matilija with him, camped at Maple. It was my first such expedition since 2013. On 1 day notice, I invited a few old friends and a couple of them tagged along with. Now this guy is not only hiking every single day, but he is doing so with my old buddies nearly every time. I honestly don't know how I did it when I did, but I did. Those guys are in Death Valley right now and although my life is in the way, I cannot join them, I am writing about now what I have done over the past few years, coming across some pictures and forcing them into blogposts. I also planned another RV trip, and will be heading to hike up Texas in a couple of weeks. Still, so many unreached places that I have not hit in the Sespe. You my man, Mr. Stillman, are something else. If you would like to come out of retirement, I invite you on an excursion - perhaps I'm asking you to lead the expedition. But with my tenacity - I'll help organize this mission, to find those Indian Caves by McDonald Cabin - to hike from Ant Camp to Piru, etc. Let's do this. I offer you openly my cell phone number: 805 701-6123. Help inspire me, inspire you, to inspire. At age 41, this mission is not yet accomplished...

  14. I'm sad to have found this blog after the fact. I'm from LA but went to UCSB (class of 09). I have had such limited time out there but I will always have a special spot for the Los Padres. I try to make it up twice a year if I can. Such rich history out there. A real taste of Southern California's wild heritage. Best of luck and hopefully you return.

    Nicholas Alvarez-Jett

  15. Your posts have been informational and inspirational. Giving me ideas where to hike and letting me see places I may never go.

    I grew up in Ventura county and have been going to the sespe all my live and I love that It is so big that there are still places I have not seen or even know about.

    Thank you For sharing your stores and photos with me.

    I hope you can find a way to keep it up.

  16. The blog tends to make one do foolish things so there is something to wright about. Be out there, be safe, see you on the trail.
    Robert Wassell

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  18. "And like that, poof, he's gone. Underground. Nobody has ever seen him since. He becomes a myth."

    -Jack Elliott

  19. David - thank you for all of the amazing hiking posts! I always talk to my friends about you, Jack Elliott and others of course! - who we all aspire to be as explorers. I totally understand going silent since posting means more people finding those special spots, a change to the natural landscape and the potential for abuse. A discovery, in its most pure form, should really only be between the hiker and nature. No pictures, no maps and no descriptions. Yet what you did share was amazing and so inspiring! I know you're still out there and that's a good thing as I explore. You're the silent ninja now, the mountain lion who hears the loud, clumsy steps of boots over a trail and moves off to a more distant and more peaceful place. You posts may be gone, but we'll remember you.

  20. Dave, Enjoy your retirement and props on the great documentary of your adventures and useful info here. Looks like I've only scratched the surface of exploring the local mountains myself after living in the area a few years. Will check some more spots out around here. I also try to mix in documenting nature sightings on my hikes. I recently found an endangered butterfly on a hike up Matilija Canyon and uploaded it on iNaturalist. Didn't make it to the falls or the cave you described that time but will check them out another time when the creek is running less crazy. Cheers. -Chris