Look at me, starting a post the same day as the hike…progress!

This was hike one of two today (Jan 15), a revisit back to Solstice Canyon, which was our December group hike. We did that in early December, before our great rainy winter, so the waterfall was more like a leaky faucet. We had full intentions of doing the loop using the Rising Sun trail, but wound up rock climbing near the “waterfall” instead. O what badasses we were. However, since we spent all of our time going cautiously off-trail, we weren’t able to finish the loop before it was time to go. It was something we wanted to make a point to come back to do.

Solstice was actually our back-up plan for this weekend. One of the other trails we were going to hike was closed for trail conditions due to the rain. Just so happens the rain made Solstice a great hike for today 🙂

So Danielle and I made plans to meet at 8:30. I was sad and felt bad to be going back without our full original trio, but she said Andrea couldn’t make this one. Thumbs down. After what is becoming a familiar drive for me, and less stressful every time, we met up and got started around 9. Danielle didn’t quite sound like herself, and said she was coming down with something, but that it made her sound worse than she was and she would have cancelled if didn’t feel up for it. Yup, I’ve felt like that, too, lol, so off we went.

The weather was good, even if overcast. I feel like I must be adapting to the outdoors because it was around 52° and I was thinking “Oh good, it’s not that cold”. Right away, we got a small taste of what was to come. Turns out, there’s a creek there, too! In retrospect, there were moments on our first trip there where we thought there probably would be one in the right conditions, but that was further up the trail. Here, we were still at the entrance and could hear it trickling by us through the trees. It would be, and was, easily missed as a dry creek bed. This time around it was such a little treat to feel more “in nature” 🙂dscn1901

We continued up the paved path, crossed a bridge across the creek, and saw a couple of familiar sights, including the remains of the Keller house. Good thing they put a plaque up, because this thing can be easy to miss through the trees. It’s like it’s spying on you, or playing hide and seek. Then when you go up and over (a different) bridge to stand in front of it, it says “Aw, you found me!”. It’s pretty cool. Most of the ruins we see, I think all of which have been caused by fires, are just foundations and wall nubs. The Keller house still has much of its walls intact, which gives you a much more real idea of what it once looked like. This time it had something that wasn’t there before: a new sign politely requesting “mad respect”. I hate when signs try to be hip, it’s so phony. Just be yourself, Sign.dscn1905

Heading on up the trail, the creek pretty much stayed by our side. I liked it so much 🙂 At one point we found a couple of mini-waterfalls that I don’t remember even seeing a trickle of before. We soon arrived at Tropical Terrace. Another beautiful home destroyed by fire, it’s also known as the Robert’s Ranch House. The stairway entrances alone tell you this house once had some style. There is a little more information here about the history and design, which incorporated the trees and greenery that are now overgrown in some areas. It sits right alongside the creek, and is surrounded by trees, making it a cool, shady, beautiful spot to take a break. We didn’t want a break, though, we wanted a waterfall, and we could hear it just around the corner.dscn1909

It did not disappoint. And once again, I felt like it was all meant to be that I made this goal, got the book, we got the rain…simple things that made it possible to revisit this spot and see it as nature intended. We took some time to appreciate the waterfall, and how clear and not-muddy the pool and creek were, and after some pictures, got ready to finish what we started back in December.dscn1915

(We lost at least 10 minutes at this point trying to help a kid find his dad. It’s a long story, but he found him. Neither seemed very appreciative, but at least I can sleep tonight without wondering what happened to him.)

We crossed a seemingly shallow bit of creek to start on the Rising Sun Trail. The trail itself is pretty standard. Narrow packed dirt lined with chaparral (I had to look up what that meant. “Chaparral Motorsports” makes much more sense now). It seemed to gain elevation pretty quickly, though that could just be because my cardio level is back down to “non-existent”, and we quickly found that as the trail led us higher up, it gave us amazing views of the ranch house being swallowed up by trees. Some stone steps took us up a bit of the way, that was a cool little surprise. We also noticed another trail on the opposite side of the canyon, the Sostomo Trail. May have to add that to the list of future Bonus Hikes. The Rising Sun Trail has zero cover through most of the hike, and luckily the sun hadn’t burnt through the clouds yet. Every so often we’d get a glimpse of the ocean through the hills as we made our way.

I love the pockets of light reflecting off the water through the clouds.

As always, the hike back down was a breeze. In this case, it was quite literal, and got really cold for a bit! That didn’t last long, though, so we enjoyed the views as we made our way down. The book mentioned ruins of a space research facility, so I tried to find that. We found an empty lot…I think that’s it, but I haven’t been able to confirm yet.

Research Facility? Is that you?

At this point we could see the parking lot from up above, and that always-reassuring sight of your car still in it. We passed an old rusted windmill-type thing, and exited through some trees that seemed to say “Come again soon!”. I will, Solstice, I will.dscn1933

As I mentioned, this was hike one of two. We made plans to also hike Corral Canyon, which is just a few miles away on the PCH. Since we were both feeling pretty good, especially after finally finishing Solstice Canyon/ Rising Sun, we decided to go for it.

Another solid hike for the books.

What I learned:

  • No amount of preparation the night before will get me out of the house on time
  • I need to prioritize my hiking snacks
  • Not everyone will be thankful for finding something (or someone) that they lost. They’ll be too busy being pissed off that it was lost in the first place.

Always be thankful.