Cathedral Peak Cave

I hiked down to Cathedral Peak from La Cumbre Peak yesterday afternoon. I only had a liter bottle full of water, which I didn’t think was enough because I was already thirsty, so I stopped by a creek up on the mountain, and drank what water I had while on my way there.

Climbing down the bank to the creek, I stepped on a rock right at the water’s edge and whoop! my foot slipped off and I crashed into the water. I reached out to break my fall and slammed my filter pump against the sandstone creek bed. My lower leg was soaked from the knee down. SOB! I cursed under my breath. That was graceful.

My pants were wet, but I had another pair with me, yet only had one set of boots. I pumped a liter of water and got on my way. I hiked about 14 miles out of the backcountry last week with wet feet from the morning dew in the grass and I hated the feeling. I really didn’t want to do anymore walking with wet feet. I took off my boot and propped it open under the floorboard heater vent in my truck as I drove to the top of La Cumbre Peak.

Heavy clouds clung to the top of the peak ebbing and flowing in density as I sat in my truck looking things over. It looked like it might be very limited visibility even lower down the mountain at the cave and I considered calling it off. Would I be sitting in the cave with a bird’s eye view of the city, ocean and islands or nothing but a white wall of fog? I figured it would at least be nice and cool for the hike and hoped it would clear. And it did clear nearly as soon as I started hiking down the mountain.

Looking back at La Cumbre Peak, the trail on the left.

I want to fly like an eagle / To the sea / Fly like an eagle / Let my spirit carry me / I want to fly like an eagle / Till I'm free. . . (In this case it was a buzzard that just happened to soar into the frame right when I shot the photo.)

Inside the cave.

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6 Responses to Cathedral Peak Cave

  1. Craig says:

    Great pics, thanks for sharing. Love that cave … and really enjoy the approach from La Cumbre and through that stretch of almost miniature forest at the saddle.

    Oh, and that “SOB” stood for “Silly Ol’ Barbareno,” n’est-ce pas? 😉

    • Jack Elliott says:

      Heheh. Thanks for the translation.

      It’s really funny that you should mention that miniature forest on the saddle!!! What a coincidence. I was actually going to include some thoughts on that specific spot, but left them out.

      I took a short break to catch a breath on the saddle there and was looking around. I was thinking how it reminded me of a Hobbit forest or something.

      Because of the shaded location, the brush seems to have grown taller than everything else around it elsewhere on the sun-baked mountain slope. I guess it is a result of growing in a moister location and also from reaching for the sun in a shady nook.

      Anyhow, I spotted two of those 12 to 15 foot old growth chaparral trees leaning against each other. Where they touched there was a good 12 inch area, about six inches on either side of where the stocks of the plants crossed, that was rubbed raw from constant grinding as a result of the wind. The mark made it apparent that it gets REALLY, really windy there. Windy enough to push hardwood chaparral back and forth enough to cause a foot long scar. How ever windy that is, it’s pretty darn windy.

      And then a gust of wind kicked up and it really felt like a scene from the Hobbit or The Neverending Story or something. The brush started swaying around and the branches grinding against each other and it sounded like a hundred glass fingernails on a chalkboard. It was eerie sounding.

  2. LOL! completely the opposite to hiking over here. You almost always have wet feet for most of the day (despite any claims to your boots having waterproof properties!) and around half the days there is no view, just the inside of a cloud, on the mountains!

  3. Walter Hildbrand says:

    Years ago I hiked from La Cumbre peak down to Cathedral peak looking for this cave. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find it.
    But I have to say it was one of the hardest hike I’ve ever had. I wish I were young enough to try it again.

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