Toddling Down the Davy Brown Trail

The hills along lower Figueroa Mountain Road on the way to Davy Brown Trail.

With a toddler in tow I recently had the fortunate opportunity to rediscover the Davy Brown Trail with fresh eyes. Having kids provides a chance to see the world once more through the eyes of a child, and to rediscover and enjoy again what for years has been taken for granted and ignored. The mundanity of overlooked places, neglected because they long ago turned ordinary then lost their appeal and became boring, disappears when in the company of a youngster. The old and dull become new and exciting once more.

On the drive up Figueroa Mountain Road we passed the front gate of Michael Jackson’s Neverland estate. It was too much of an abstract concept for a small child to comprehend and get excited about, but I don’t think anything could make the gate and guard house there give me a thrill anyway.

Farther up the road a calf taking milk from its mother became worthy of a stop. Though previously, without the company of a toddler, I likely would not have noticed feeding cows or at least would not have cared. So too did horses in a roadside field become an exciting attraction worthy of more than a mere passing glance. Deer bounding through the grass on the slopes of the mountain turned from a common sight into a spectacular finger-pointing event. The ordinary vicariously transformed into the extraordinary.

The smaller things in life take on greater value. Common bugs seen for decades throughout one’s life, and previously ignored, become objects of unusual fascination worthy of closer inspection and the expense of considerable time. Flowers show beside the trail like gold nuggets, each one spotted with vociferous triumph. The gentle wind whispering through the fir trees overhead, audible but invisible, very well might be the trees themselves whispering in some unintelligible arboreal language. Stomping through two inches of water at a creek crossing becomes joyous recreation rather than mere rote locomotion. A short once familiar trail of a few miles turns into an epic journey through an unknown realm. The world is new once more!

The bucolic beauty of Santa Barbara County hinterlands with Zaca Ridge rising in the distance extending from the western edge of Figueroa Mountain.

The summertime golden-brown slopes along Figueroa Mountain.

The crest of the trail leading into the canyon where it cuts sharply back leftward.

With a toddler in tow in a backpack, I carried another day pack or “chestpack” across my front side. Along the upper reaches of the trail as it drops deeper into Fir Canyon.

A riparian section of trail.

Bug huntin’.


Mariposa lily

Humboldt lily


California Sister

A view of oak savannah along the road home through the Santa Ynez Valley.

Aerial view of the trail noted by red dots, as seen on Bing imagery.

 Related Post:

Edgar B. Davison’s Cabin (circa 1900) [Davison made the Davy Brown Trail]

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3 Responses to Toddling Down the Davy Brown Trail

  1. John Hankins says:

    Good story Jack, makes me want to borrow a grandkid and go.

  2. Wow! What an abundance of great photos! The ladybugs were amazing ! As always, great post! Z

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