I'm sitting here in a coffee shop in beautiful and sunny Santa Barbara reminiscing about our unplanned escape to the snowy Los Padres mountains (my toes are still cold).
Around 1 o'clock four of us rounded up and set out to go explore in the Los Padres. We didn't really have much of a plan except to be outside in the mountains and find some snow. Bags ready and packed with coffee makings, hammocks, jackets, camera, and water, we were ready for whatever we found. After about 45 minutes of driving and 4,000 feet elevation gain we reached the snow.
We parked alongside of the road where we saw family's sledding down the hilly embankments and taking pictures with the snowy landscape. We surveyed the area and picked a ridge that seemed to straddle a few mountain ranges and we took off. Shortly after we got past the main trail we decided to kick it up a notch and go uphill through the "heavy stuff." We went about half-a-mile up through a foot of untracked snow before we came to a "No Trespassing" fence that closed the trail. After a bit of discussion we figure "no trespassing" is the best trespassing, so we hopped the fence and went for it.
We really didn't know what to expect. About 500 yards back all we could see was a untracked path and a big closed fence, we had no clue there was a vast landscape waiting for us up ahead. Once we continued on and reached the ridge it opened up to a vast view of the Los Padres Mountains next to a cattle holding and a small field. You could tell no one had been there in quite some time. After we explored for a bit, Trevor noticed the legs of an old coffee table sticking out of the snow next to the cattle stall. We brushed it off and had ourselves a perfect place to make our brew. About halfway through we noticed it getting significantly colder and the new clouds rolling in. Hitting the mid 20's (my guess) it started to snow little flurries. With our coffee in hand, all of us figured it was a good time to head back to the car.
The hike back was perfect. Finding our footprints in the snow with cup of coffee in hand, snow flurries coming down, and good friends to laugh with. It was on of those experiences that you feel days after.