Day 2: THE ADVENTURE IS ON
At 8:15am, we left the motel. The morning was very cold, but the skies were very blue and there wasn’t a cloud in sight!
It turned out that a second, more intense storm that was supposed to show up today ended up being delayed and probably won’t show up until Sunday night now.
That was good for us because today we were going for the goal of this trip, which was Tangerine Falls. I figured with the injection of yesterdays short but intense rain storm, the falls ought to be a little better than disappointing.
By 8:40am, we arrived at the car park for the Cold Springs Trail. There were already quite a few cars here and it was a good thing we got as early as a start as we did because we could tell there were going to be a lot more cars here as the day wore on.
We were worried about break-ins as we noticed some broken glass on the ground, but we were hoping this place was popular enough to get enough traffic to even make thieves think a little more about whether to risk getting caught in the act.
As we left the car and headed to the trailhead, Julie and I noticed the assuring sound of rushing water in the creek below. That was definitely a good sign that the falls ought to be flowing.
A few minutes into the hike, we noticed a sign at a fork in the trail. We weren’t quite sure which way to go, but a quick glance at our trail instructions told us that we should follow that sign and cross the creek.
That put us on another trail with water pipes following it. Both of us noticed this and wondered whether this stream provides enough water for such diversion measures. Maybe it’s a good sign that we can hear the creek and these diversion pipes are here because that’d mean there should be more water at the start of these pipes.
Shortly after seeing a sign that was full of graffiti on it (not sure whether they were gangsta tagging markings or were disagreements with what was stated on the sign about protected land), we took an unsigned fork as instructed by our directions and headed into an even more primitive trail.
At first we had gotten lost as the trail seemed to disappear and poison ivy was everywhere. We had to be careful not to rub them with exposed skin. But fortunately after a little backtracking, we found the turn that we missed. And onwards we went being reassured with more sightings of water pipes.
At 9:35am, we got to a tricky stream crossing with graffiti on neighboring rocks. The graffiti didn’t look like the usual gangsta type and was instead more hippie-like. Perhaps they were there just to assure would-be local adventure-seekers that they’re going the right way.
At this point, we weren’t sure where to proceed and we started having doubts about whether we were going the right way or not.
And so the adventure was on!
Boy were we glad we decided not to do this hike in the pouring rain yesterday! That would’ve been unwise and downright dangerous!
After spending a few minutes backtracking to make sure we had gone the right way, we finally just decided to persist and continue scrambling over some rocks with some poison ivy exposure. Eventually, we saw more faint “trails” that ultimately led up some steep gullies with even more boulder scrambles.
Finally at 10:45am, we made it to one viewpoint of Tangerine Falls. This one was below the falls itself and in front of one of the smaller cascades below it. Here, we got a frontal view of the falls, and we decided to just chill out here for a bit.
The falls was backed by deep blue skies. We knew there should be an ocean view looking the other way, but our spot had too much vegetation and you had to be higher above to get that view. Julie figured it wasn’t worth it and we made up our minds not to bother.
As we were preparing to leave, we noticed another group of hikers that made it here. They seemed like locals and they actually continued going further up. I figured they must be going to that overlook we should’ve been at in the first place. So we followed them.
And by the time we made it up to the overlook, it was a bit crowded and they had already staked the claim to that tight spot. So we took what photos we could of the place and then headed back to the car park at around 11:10am.
Going down wasn’t easy, but it was mostly uneventful except we might have counted at least seven or eight other groups of people going the other way heading to the falls. I guess we were the first ones of the day to get here.
When we got closer to the main trail, we passed by a very large group of people listening intently to a ranger and even taking notes. They didn’t seemed dressed for an outdoor excursion, and we figured they’re probably from UC Santa Barbara.
The trio of UCSB vans confirmed our suspicions that some kind of educational stuff was going on here.
Anyways, we were glad we got to experience the falls with a little bit of peace and solitude when we did. Now, it was lunch time.
So we decided to head back to Carpinteria and go for a stroll in town and on the beach. There was some popular burger joint there called Spots so we had ourselves a burger and a fish taco with chili fries there.
It wasn’t anything extraordinary, but it was clear the location was what made this place.
The beach scene was relaxing. There weren’t many people braving the icy cold water with strong waves, but the cool air and sunny skies made this one of the more pleasant daydreaming moments that I could remember.
By 1:40pm, we had to bid “Sandy Barber” farewell, walked back to Julie’s car, and we headed home. With all the traffic in LA, we didn’t make it back until about 3:45pm, but it was still a relaxing nearly two-day getaway nontheless.
I wonder what we’ll do on next year’s Valentine’s Day Weekend?