*tap tap tap* … is this thing on?
I feel like I should say “it’s good to be back” … but in all fairness I haven’t been away.
I’ve been afield.
Frequently, and in all those little places in between the places on the maps.
If you know me and my wanderings outside of this website, you likely know in recent years I’ve helped form a new Boy Scout troop in my hometown — one that finds itself afield with alarming frequency and with well over 50 boys performing service on public lands, exploring our local backcountry, and spending as much time in the great outdoors as our collective schedules and obligations will allow (and sometimes more — just ask my lovely bride).
Add to that my personal wanderings, family holidays (back when we could manage them), and life in general, and time has been at a premium.
But hark! One of those items filed under the nebulous and rather vague “life in general” phrase includes cranking out a new edition of Hiking & Backpacking Santa Barbara & Ventura — at long last! The new edition officially releases Tuesday, March 9, 2021.
RELEASE THE HOUNDS!
I won’t belabor the details (overly), so below please see some intel that may answer some of the questions I’ve been fielding of late. And then — alas — prepare for some more frequent idle musings to issue from this platform in the weeks and months to come.
(One could also file this under “I Already Have the First Edition — Should I Even Bother?”)
Oh, where to begin.
First, it’s been nine (9!) years since the first edition of Hiking & Backpacking Santa Barbara & Ventura landed, and whilst in the larger scale of things one could certainly say “not much has changed,” a lot has actually … changed. The Thomas Fire. The Montecito Mudslide. New acquisitions and public access. New private landowner restrictions and lack of access. These changes are addressed throughout.
For those keeping a more linear count, eight (8) of the routes found in the first edition are no longer included, with ten (10) “new” routes — Baron Ranch, the Franklin Trail, the Ocean View Trail, Matilija Falls, Fox Canyon, etc. — making their debut … making for a net gain of two (2) routes.
Short version: there are 98 routes detailed in this new guide for your backwood wandering pleasure!
In travel publishing, there’s a general rule of thumb that if 10% of the content has been subject to change or required adjustment, it’s about time to hit the proverbial “refresh” button. (And by “hit the ‘refresh’ button” I mean lace up, check conditions on the ground, hoof it up old trails, push through the brushy ravines, explore new routes, visit old favorites, and make some decisions about what to keep, what to add, and … what to remove for a new edition.)
A common refrain in non-fiction publishing is that a book is out-of-date the moment it’s set to print. And this guide was no exception; some of you may remember the Errata and Addenda I made available in 2014. So the process of building the second edition actually began the week after the first edition released. But the process launched in earnest in late 2017 … just in time for the Thomas Fire to rear its ugly head and rampage across our beloved backcountry. (Naturally.)
After getting back up to speed in late 2018 and most of 2019, the COVID pandemic again threw some wrenches into the works. But as has been said more than once of me (sometimes by me, but not always): I’m not built for speed, I’m built to get it done. On a trail crowded with gazelles, I’m the ox. I won’t be first, but I will always get there … and we’re finally “there.” (fist pump)
Wilderness Press also took the dive and invested in publishing color interiors, which — in my not-even-pretending-to-be-humble opinion — look fantastic. Maps, photos, and headers are now in color and I love the look.
New Maps. Back in the Cenozoic Era when I built the maps in the first edition, I was guardedly optimistic the USGS/USFS Joint Agency 7.5′ quads — rendered grayscale and with a proprietary vector symbol-set layer built atop — would work well for the black-and-white interiors. Truth be told, those came out a bit hit-and-miss. The new maps — all rebuilt after numerous retreads of many of the trails with my trusty mutts with me — are rendered using the Dept. of Agriculture’s all-vector maps. And again, they’re now in color.
Where Can I Find It?
First, support local. If you reside in my stomping grounds, please consider purchasing your copy at Real Cheap Sports in Ventura — they’ve long been a supporter of my work with the Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, and Boy Scouts, and have supported this guide since Day One. COVID has been brutal on local retailers, and many — like Real Cheap — deserve our support.
If you’re motoring up the 33 and happen upon the LPFA’s Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center, you can grab it there and support all the good works the Los Padres Forest Association does for our beloved forest. There are also local book and outdoor shops up and down the Central Coast (e.g., Timbre Books, Chaucher’s, Mountain Air Sports) who will carry the title). Los Padres ForestWatch has also been a huge supporter of the guide and will have it available for sale … with a nice discount on the cover price.
The local Barnes & Noble and REI locations in the 805 have also been extremely supportive of this project since the first edition’s release way back in 2012, so if you are a frequent denizen of their aisles, get some!
And yes, yes — it is available on Amazon, Costco, and sundry other deep-discount locations. The ends can justify the means here — get your copy, get on your boots and grab your kids and/or canine companion, and get out there!
TO THE HILLS!