Santa Barbara HPS Big 4 May 10
At just under 45 miles and 9500', this was the day hike I've been avoiding for some time. But 18 hours later, I was quite happy with completing my longest hike (by mileage) to date.

The day or early morning started out well at 2:30AM. I arrived at the turn-off for Samon Peak just when there was enough light to turn of the head-lamp. Samon turned out to be the most interesting from a route perspective and I almost missed the correct way back (through the meadow) which would have forced me to descend the wrong gully.

And so the hike went on over the old forest road for miles and miles. Big Pine Peak was only interesting as a high point, not much else. The route down the west face was unpleasant but quick and the trip over to West Big Pine uneventful. I met Lori and her team of forest service volunteers who had driven up from Oso Campground and were checking out trail conditions. West Big Pine was the furthest from the vehicle I was to get to at something like 22 miles. Hands down it also had the best views.

The return to the Madulce turnoff started off ok but once I left the tree coverage and started hiking up the exposed slopes of Madulce, I really slowed down. It seemed to take forever getting up to the peak and I believe I lost over an hour as exhaustion started catching up to me. Don't remember anything special about the peak as I was too tired to care.

The drop down into Madulce Campsite improved conditions greatly plus it was downhill. I lost my SPOT just below the junction of Madulce Campsite trail and the Madulce Peak trail -- it's yours if you find it. The last 10 miles of the trip included a lot of crossing streams -- first enjoyable and ultimately tiresome. Someone mentioned that there were 35ish crossings and I can believe it.

I stumbled out to the car just about the time I would have had to dig my headlamp out but success! A trip well worth doing and no where as difficult as expected. Highly recommended!
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