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March 29, 2010 / elodie kaye

McMenemy Trail

I’ve been itching to explore some new trails for the last month, but had to wait to acclimate and then to recover from the flu.  Santa Barbara sits on a fairly narrow strip of land between the ocean and the mountains.  The flat areas are pretty much thoroughly developed so most trails begin at the foothills of the Santa Ynez mountain range.  Consequently, there are no trails that aren’t steep, except for the trail on the bluffs by the ocean.  An easy trail in Santa Barbara is one that doesn’t involve any rock climbing.

The easiest trail I could find is only 5-6 miles round trip but reaches a peak elevation of 1000 ft.  This was a little more ambitious than I would have preferred, but a friend wanted to go last weekend, so I had to take the opportunity to explore with company.  The lower part is well shaded and we had a fun little water crossing, where we saw lots of wildflowers and butterflies.  The upper part was quite exposed and hot, but we were rewarded with gorgeous views of the city below, the harbour, and the glittering ocean.  Neither of us brought a camera but the light was bleached and hard by mid-day.  No doubt part of the beauty came from our sweat-soaked effort.

The trail itself is wide and easy to follow, but rockier than the trails I’m used to in the east.  On the way down, I could definitely feel the effect on my quads though we were only walking.  I’ll be going back on my own to explore some of the connections and alternates, but I can tell it’s going to be a while longer before I’m strong enough to run even part of it!


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