Gaviota Coast – After the Storm

Early on in my move to the area I discovered the Gaviota Coast Conservancy. With the organization’s education and their group field trips, I started to learn more about this coastal area. One of my goals is to explore up and down the coast, to learn the history, and to understand it’s diverse and unique ecosystem. The Gaviota Coast runs from Santa Barbara west to Gaviota State Park and upward to Point Conception. Access to walking the coast in certain areas takes a very low tide. Other areas are very limited from the beach. I respect the ocean and it’s “whims”, especially the rogue waves.

On the day I took this photo, I recall driving west from Santa Barbara to our planned access point in the torrential rain. My emergency lights started blinking on my 17 year old (but reliable) car – not a good start. After giving my car “Big Blue” a pep talk, she finally got me to the state park access point. Still raining, I opened the door to meet my friend for the hike. We peered out toward the ocean “Could that be a clearing in the clouds? … should we try?” We had only a certain allotted time to coastal hike due to the changing tide.

After a brief wait and rain calming to a nice drizzle, we headed onto beach and west up the coast. Ah nice… ahead were seagulls and large rock formations. Behind us, the dark clouds lingered but was moving inland. Though the weather was unpredictable to say the least, the hike turned out to be a beautiful afternoon on the coast.

As usual, the breath taking sites took us further up the coast than expected. Being mindful (sort of) of the tides, we knew it was time to turn around to the eastward journey. With only a few more bends of the coast, the sky’s lower sun gave way to distractions and more photos. The meditative coastal scene and photography caught me off guard with a rogue wave. Yikes! It won’t be the last time… but I have to be careful. I love this area and will continue to support to conserve it’s beauty for future generations.

Right now, much access this beautiful coast is unavailable due to temporary closures. I will be mindful of restrictions … but I look forward to the day when I can continue my explorations.