Gaviota Peak

I previously had hiked Gaviota Peak after watching a SpaceX launch from nearby Vandenberg SFB. I found a spot in the parking lot, filled out my day pass, dropped my $2 into the slot, and slipped the stub on my dashboard. After gathering my gear, I set off up the trail. Since there were several cars in the lot, I knew I would be seeing other folks on the trail.

I opted to take the same route up as last time, as I was planning on using the Trespass Trail for my return from the summit. Since I was not racing to meet some friends for dinner, I also had time to take a short detour to see the hot springs. The spur trail was well marked, so off I went. The trail was a bit muddy, so a little care needed to be taken. A smell of sulfur hung slightly in the air from the creek as it flowed past. I came to the hot springs. The couple that had headed out as I pulled in were enjoying the waters. We chatted a bit before I let them enjoy their soak. The spur trail connected back to the road and I continued making my way up towards the summit.

A few runners passed me returning back from their summit, while I continued my journey upward. The ocean came into view and I knew the summit was just a short push more. As I reached it, another hiker was just about to head back down. She had come up the Trespass Trail, and I mentioned that I planned to use it for my route down. She asked about the other route as she always uses the Trespass Trail. I gave her the basic info about the route, and she headed down. 

I snapped a few photos, had a snack, mixed up my electrolytes, and set off. Unlike the wide road that I took up, I was now on a traditional trail. While I did have some nice views of the ocean and the Channel Islands, the poor condition of the trail had me paying attention to my footing.

After a bit, the hiker from the summit decided to stick to her tried and true route and caught up with me. Oh, to have young knees…

As I reached the junction with the Tunnel View Trail, I opted to take it. I figured it would provide a nice view of the Gaviota Tunnel. Turns out I was right. I was starting to get hungry, so I did not linger. I soon rejoined the Trespass Trail, then shortly thereafter the main trail. I tossed my gear into the car, changed shirts, and headed to Figueroa Mountain Brewery for lunch and my free beer, courtesy of taking the Six Pack of Peaks Challenge. The stats for the hike were 6.4 miles, with a moving time of 3:12 and 2,138 feet of gain. Just one more peak to summit and this challenge will be complete!

I am an avid peak bagger, sometimes backpacker, and former sea kayaker living in San Diego. In 2019, I became the third person to complete the San Diego 100 Peak Challenge. Not stopping with that accomplishment, I set my sights on the harder San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list, which I completed in 2021. In addition, I have conquered several Six-Pack of Peaks challenges (SoCal, San Diego, Central Coast, and Arizona-Winter). Beyond attempting the San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list a second time, I am looking forward to exploring new summits and new adventures across the southwest. 

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