Kanaka Loop

Decided to return to the Santa Ysabel East Preserve and hiking the Kanaka Loop again. Two fellow peak-baggers had just hiked this as part of their attempt to do the Julian Hiking Challenge in a day. One of the issues they ran into was the gate to the parking area doesn’t open until about 8 am. Since it was Labor Day, I had no problem “sleeping in” before driving out to the trailhead. As I made my way onto Wyola Road, I spotted the County Park Ranger’s truck two cars ahead of me. Passing the trailhead for Volcan Mountain, there were already about 15 cars parked along the side of the road. The ranger unlocked the gate, and I followed him in. I gathered my gear, then chatted with the ranger for a bit before heading off.

The trail initially follows Santa Ysabel Creek for the first 1.5 miles. A few cows milled about chopping on the dried grasses. The trail would duck in and out of the shade from the oak trees. There were some bugs buzzing about. Initially, I ignored them, but I finally stopped and broke out the bug net. Along the way, a new throne had been created from the stump from a fallen red oak.

I crossed over the creek and began the climb up to Kanaka Flats. The trail climbs about 300 feet in just under 7/10ths of a mile, so you will get a nice workout after the relatively flat first section.

The Kanaka Loop is about 2.5 miles total. I debated if I want to go clockwise or counterclockwise. I opted to go clockwise. This meant continuing to climb a bit more to the high point on this trail. Once near the selfie spot from the Coast to Crest Challenge, I found some shade under some nearby pines and took a short break. The day was getting warm and for much of the loop, there was going to be no shade.

After the break, I set off again. I was surprised I had not seen any more cows. As I approached the western end of the loop, I saw two ranchers tending to the herd that was currently corralled. I guess that answers that question about where the cows were. I gave a friendly wave to the ranchers and continued on.

As I descended back down to the creek, I kept an ear out for the ranchers, as I knew they would be driving back out. At the creek, I spotted the bridge just to the west of where I crossed, so no need to rock hop this time.

The hike back to the car was uneventful. One runner and two e-bike riders did pass me. The day certainly was heating up, and the idea of getting in a second hike quickly was dismissed. The heat is also was stopped my friend’s attempt as well. Back at the car, a family was just about to head out and asked if I had any sunscreen, which I glad lent to them. They were hoping to still find some berries to pick. I wished them good luck and to be mindful of the heat. I popped into Don’s Market and grabbed a cold soda and headed home. All told the hike was just over 7 miles with 1,050 feet of gain. I did the lollipop in 2:37 including my break.

Santa Ysabel Loop

As America awaited the results of the election, I needed to take a break and get in a hike. With our first bit of winter weather due for the weekend, I opted to do one early Friday morning. I decided to hike one of my two remaining Coast to Crest Challenge hikes. I opted to hike the Santa Ysabel Loop on the Santa Ysabel East Preserve. This was going to be a 4.2-mile lollipop hike. As a bonus, I could pick up breakfast afterward at Farmhouse 78.

When I pulled up to the trailhead, two cars were already parked. While the skies had some clouds scattered about, the temperatures were perfect. I had hiked some of this preserve during the last Coast to Crest Challenge, and this section had some trails I would pass en route to other adventures.

The trail starts gently before making its way up the hill to the junction. Some beautiful signs pointed the trail route. As I worked my way up, one of the other hikers passed me, headed back down.

Later, I encountered a second set of hikers. We chatted a bit as they were also working on the Challenge. I gave them my readout of the three I had done. They then set off, planning to grab some sandwiches from Dudley’s Bakery for their breakfast.

The trail was lovely, nice and wide, with some very beautiful scenery. I reached the selfie spot next to a nice set of picnic tables. I can see returning for a stroll with some friends to enjoy this hike.

With the photo taken, I cruised back down the trail, passing a couple more hikers along the way. Once back at the car, I tossed my gear in and made the short drive to the restaurant. I ordered some biscuits and gravy to go, as I needed to join in some work calls. With that, I only have to hike Boden Canyon to complete this year’s C2C.