COASTAL DRIVE AND FOX MOUNTAIN #1 (5,167') February 11-13, 1988

Seeking perhaps a change of venue of my home base for peak climbing, I signed up for this HPS activity. I wondered if moving south would net me more peaks with better company. Certainly, the Los Angeles area has a superb Sierra Club chapter, with over 3,000 activities to choose from every year, with hikes or things to do practically every day.

I left work and drove mostly in the night to Monterey, CA. I wandered about the boardwalk area with some night photography to do. I must have car camped somewhere, and after getting breakfast, I took a leisurely drive south, down Highway 1.

There are many pullouts for views and photos, and I took my time. The coastal sights southbound were mostly backlighted in winter, but I stopped for plenty of pictures. Pulling off the highway to explore a tidepool, I snapped a few photos. Eventually, I came to Pismo Beach to see many people enjoying the warmer weather.

Next, I made a stop in Santa Barbara, CA, to see the ocean front there. How nice so many people have it, with beautiful homes and plenty of money. It seems to be near poverty for me my entire life, but I can hike, climb, and ski, so vigorously. Until perhaps recently, not much wealth was needed to enjoy all that.

Motoring south, I captured the sunset about Carpenteria, CA, with a few youths at this coastal area. Camping somewhere along Highway 33, I saw the morning dawn over the southern Coastal Range hills.

Meeting the larger HPS group at a point in the morning, we car-caravanned up Santa Barbara Canyon, more from the Central Valley side. At some indistinct point, we parked, and rapidly started hiking up to the top of Fox Mountain #1, a listed HPS peak. This was a scenic area with lots to see, although part of the mountain had burned at some time. We quickly topped out, and the bright sun was nice. It had been a bit hazy, but I snapped several pictures anyway.

Down to the cars, we motored on for another peak, to find the road to the top was closed. They began hiking from another point, and lost me shortly, me having concerns about the brush and fast pace. I signed off, and went back to my car. I had some more sights driving back along Highway 33 to the Central Valley. With some plans spoiled, I headed on home, with the sight of oil wells and a sunset.

It is drier and hotter in the Southland, even in mid winter, so I had my doubts about moving there. The cost of living is much more, and people are crazier, by some up north. The peak climbing is more competitive, and so many hikers strive for a list achievement.

I was not to surmise, then, that I'd get into more desert peaks, and I still had to wonder about my life, me with my coming later years, with a dismal future to contemplate. I would not have any more college, and few would hire one that held such menial jobs, with really little or no job skills to market. Given once being declared "gifted," with advanced mathematical ability, then a 17 year old UCB scholarship winner, it was a mind wasted, by the words of the times. So it went!