Gaviota Peak, Valencia Peak
By: Gabriele Rau
Mark and I left really early to drive to Gaviota Peak, north of Santa Barbara on 101. We drove into the State Park, but the ranger told us, that the peak is farther up, the next exit. So we drove on, left at the next exit and parked the car in a dirt parking area. There is even a sign and an entrance fee post. This is still State Park, but the road later changes into National Forest land. We hiked up the road, smelled the hot springs, but stayed on the road between Chaparral and little shade. There is a first ridge with a trail leading downhill; we continued uphill to the next ridge, where a trail turns sharply to the right and to the Peak. Easy to find! There is a large register can on the peak. A trail leading down the other side of the peak, we did not try it, but returned the same way. Mark took a short cut past the Hot Springs and caught up with me that way. It was a hot day again, but we took 2 hours up and down, no problems.
We drove on to Pismo Beach and Kon-Tiki Inn, where we had a reservation for the night. Mark fell asleep, I sat on the balcony reading. Very nice! Late we went out for dinner in town. Mark was tired again, but I took a long beach walk and really enjoyed this!
Next morning again we left early and drove to Montana del Oro State Park. Mark is really afraid of the heat! No problem finding the trail to Valencia, it is signed. No shade again, this must be an excellent spring hike. From the peak we saw mostly clouds. We took another route down, but we were back at the car early enough.
The drive home was uneventful, early. I liked both peaks. Carcamping these peaks is a good idea.
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