Mountaintop Vernal Pool

Little Ms. E. and I went for a walk up to a vernal pool atop the Santa Ynez Mountains. I wanted to see how it looked after the area received over 45 inches of rain this season. Not surprisingly, it was still a giant mud puddle so soon after the last rainfall.

A snow capped peak barely visible rising above the foggy clouds in the background on the right.

What better than a pair of boots and the county's largest mud puddle to stomp in?

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3 Responses to Mountaintop Vernal Pool

  1. Richard Lyons says:

    Hi Jack, I would love to hike up to that vernal pool. Where is it? On private or public land? Easy to get to and how?

  2. Gravy McDaniels says:

    I’m not so sure that is really what I’d call a vernal pool… more like a cattle watering pond. Lots of frogs though, and a few cool native plants. Definitely on private property.

    • Jack Elliott says:

      Well I am sure.

      I’ve never read or heard of a single reference to cattle being kept in this area either in historical accounts, contemporary literature, the press or casual conversation on- or offline, and nor have I ever seen any sign of cattle there past or present. More to the point, what little available pasturage exists is far too small to sustain any more than a couple of heads and at that only for a short time before the grass and soil would be ruined.

      Although Dick Smith wrote of this pool in 1962, “This swimming hole holds water all year,” in my experience over the years, being that my family has had several friends live on this property, it fills only seasonally and at that only during significant rains and it dries out completely in summer and for most of the year. So I’d say it is, by reasonable definition, a vernal pool.

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