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.