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About a hike

Saturday I got started early. I was on the road by 8:45, and got to Goleta at about 10:30. I would have been there a few minutes earlier except that my new trail guide did not identify the offramp correctly, so I pulled off past it, consulted a map, and drove back.

That was indicative of the hike description all the way through. Sucky! I chose the book because it has so many hikes right in my range and over three counties. But the description of this hike was really short on detail. No description of the type path, where each leg began, any notable landmarks, length of any part. I noticed, too, that the estimates of time are all based on a thirty-minute mile, regardless of terrain. Fortunately, there is a simple map that helped me through it. And because of the nearly flat topography and visibility I was able to orient myself from wherever I was and able to head in the right directions.

The hike is really a walk. It starts at the Goleta Beach park, and heads immediately into the UCSB campus, parallels the ocean up to the Marine Lab, then circles the lagoon on campus. I had never been on the UCSB campus before and loved it. It made me want to go back to school again. Many pedestrian and bicycle paths through it, and it is right on the ocean. So these paths are well used - runners, walkers, bicyclists.

The day was gray and somewhat foggy, so I took very few pictures. There was one animal that looked the size of a squirrel but seemed to me more the look of a chipmunk. It posed for me so perhaps I will be able to figure it out, if the picture is sharp.

I saw many many squirrels and a wide variety of birds. I could not identify most of them. The area on one side of the lagoon is newly planted and a new decomposed granite path has been installed. This area has signs everywhere: sensitive habitat, habitat restoration, don't bother the animals...and yet right there I saw a young man with his unleashed dog, who had just come out of the water. The man seemed to think this was just great.

The walk is about four miles and I did develop some blisters. Maybe it was the socks. I should pay more attention to socks. I could also feel the length of the walk in my right calf particularly. I was glad to get back to my car.

After one wrong turn I managed to get back on the right road, heading north again. One road goes into the UCSB campus and nowhere else, and of course that was the way I went first. The Good Earth restaurant is at the very next exit, Fairview. I had to ask myself, do I miss this kind of opportunity? And no, I don't.

I had soup and salad. A vegetable soup and vegetable salad, both loaded with chunky, actually rather too large cuts of vegetables. Plus a yummy little roll. A really healthy meal that was very satisfying. I left there with a loaf of their many-grain bread, which is almost gone now...

On the way home, I stopped to see the Strawberry Festival. I had to park on the other side of the high school and take the shuttle bus into the "old town". What a zoo! There seems to be a lot fewer strawberry stands than there are the usual street fair stands. The hot item this year is coiled hoses. Everyone must have gone to the same trade show. There were also all kinds of crafty things and cell phone accessories and I think as many as three cingular stands. Interesting.

I went into the one coffee place there, Andreini's, and had a latte and biscotti while sitting in the sitting area - where there is a chess game, couches, and high tables and stools. I wandered a bit more, enjoyed the sound of the various bands, and made my way back to my car on foot. I didn't want to deal with the shuttle making its rounds through the heavy traffic.

I will undoubtedly use the trails book again, but I think I should get the USGS maps for any that have any elevation to them, that might be the least bit confusing. This book gives me an appreciation of the Sierra Club trail guide that I have used so extensively.

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Judith Lautner
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