Two Arches, Gaviota Coast

I hiked to the two arches amid the rocky crags of the Gaviota Coast. Along the way on the ridgeline leading to the arches, there is a mountaintop grassy flat shaded by a few gnarled, lichen covered oak trees that are tucked up against a sandstone outcrop. The wind sucks over the narrow rock-studded ridge with a degree of force and regularity that is plainly revealed in the slanted angle at which the oak trees grow. And the leafless branches stripped bare on the windward side of some plants.

Stepping through the few oak trees that cover the shaded flat or climbing up a few feet of the outcrop reveals a sweeping toes-over-the-edge view of the Pacific Ocean a thousand feet or so below. In late afternoon the sun’s glare reflects off the ocean like a mirror and blasts the south facing mountain slopes with especial intensity.

The wind worn sandstone around the flat is ragged and sharp-edged like volcanic scoria, and pockmarked with caves and cavities scoured out of the gritty rock by persistently gusty weather. About a half mile east along the same ridge, the constantly blustery conditions have created two arches by eroding gaping holes through the ribs and knobs of bedrock protruding from the mountainside.

The ridge top flat overlooking the ocean.

Looking east from the oak tree flat in the previous photo, along the same ridgeline, and toward the arches.

Getting closer.

Top of the ridge just above the arches.

Santa Rosa Island

Looking southeast over the Gaviota Coast and toward Santa Barbara.

The smaller arch.

The bigger arch.

Related Post:

Twin Arches, Gaviota Crags

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3 Responses to Two Arches, Gaviota Coast

  1. stevenschlah says:

    Jack: Those caves are so cool. I thought I knew a lot about the SB Coast, but not this one. It seems that it’s not far from the 101, as your last picture as made at dusk and it would have been difficult to hike back down in the dark.
    On another vein, I noticed your dedication to those who fought for this country. Fast story. A close friend of mine, Lt. Louis McFarland, was he only grad of SBCC to have been killed in Vietnam (while both in unform, we attended the funeral of a fellow friend, LCpl. Jerry Georges). He signed up to be able to get the GI Bill to go to UCSB, but of course he never made it. For over 40 years, I have tried to get SBCC to name a building, preferably the Library, after Louie, but have been continually told that their policy was that only high $ donation benefactors (Luria, etc.) get that designation. As the past chairman of the Veterans Advisory Board (umbrella to ALL SB Vets organizations), even with their support, I couldn’t SBCC to change their mind. My appeal to you is that because your ‘blog’ has breadth in the community and your loyalty to the the men and women who served in our military, maybe you may be of help to get Louis McFarland’s name affixed to a SBCC building.
    Thank you. Steve Schlah

    • Jack Elliott says:

      Hey Steve. It’s a shame that money buys recognition like that but sacrificing one’s life in battle does not. If I had the means or some degree of influence I’d definitely help you out with that. But I have no power or pull in the community. Just a guy with a blog that is little more than a personal journal made available for the public to read if they’re interested.

      Thanks for your comments.

      • stevenschlah says:

        Jack: I realize that I am Don Quixote, jousting at windmills, but you don’t give yourself enough credit, as you probably have a following, due to your love of Santa Barbara County and all that is within it. You may not even know the circles that your blog rotates within. Even way, it was just a thought, as I believe in “networking” and it has, to a degree, worked for me. I mean, isn’t a blog a network?…..On another vein, you still didn’t answer my question, how do you get to the Twin Arches? Steve

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