dispatches & explored

Lookout! No. 13 Santa Ynez Peak

Another of the myriad of lookout towers set atop Los Padres points in 1934 (see Cuyama Peak and Thorn Point as examples), the Santa Ynez site is now — like its long-lost bethren — dominated by communications arrays.

Santa Ynez Peak No. 2

Santa Ynez LO

The 30′ K-braced tower with the classic C3 cab commanded outstanding views of the Pacific and — in the days before Lake Cachuma — a fairly free-flowing Santa Ynez watershed. Records compiled by the Forest Service in the 1980s don’t indicate an AWS cabin stood on the site, but I’m of the mind to say the structure on the lower right of the photo shown above matches the dimensions of those that previously stood sentinel at Cuyama, Caliente, and elsewhere.

Santa Ynez Peak from West Camino Cielo
Santa Ynez Peak from afar, courtesy 100peaks.com.

Winter before last the little man and I picked around the site as part of a longer Refugio-West Camino-Santa Barbara exploratory. With fewer and fewer actual lookouts available for the younger forest explorers to experience, I’ve decided to haul my wee ones to the remaining few (Thorn, Cuyama, La Cumbre, Frazier, Slide) and as many of the sites — regardless of what the hold now — as I can. This was the little man’s first taste of my Los Padres lookout fixation. He’s since bagged Reyes Peak, so he’s well on his way.

Only 50 to go ….

Santa Ynez Peak No. 1

Santa Ynez Peak No. 3

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4 Responses to Lookout! No. 13 Santa Ynez Peak

  1. Jack Elliott says:

    Yeah, what a view. On a sunny winter day after a storm, the air crisp and clear, the backcountry peaks capped with snow to one side and the shimmering Pacific and Channel Islands on the other side. Pretty nice!

  2. Steve Genest says:

    i enjoy these insightful sojurns you share with us, Craig, especially these days, when it’s too dry to backpack in most of the LP. I’ve got a bucket list of places I want to see in the LP…just waiting for a storm or two to get the plumbing going again in the backcountry!

  3. Thanks for the shout out. On my visit, icicles rained down on me from the masts, while my family played at the beach below. It’s a different world up there.

  4. John Ahlman says:

    Spent many a night visiting the Santa Ynez lookout with then the lookout Gus Grimm.
    He was a forest service employee and I was the Refugio fire prevention technician .

    That was late 1965. Many happy memories.

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