Last spring, my sister and I drove up to one of our favorite places. Santa Barbara. When we take a trip together, wine tasting and hiking are almost always on our list and this weekend wasn’t any different. 🙂
We checked in to Santa Ynez Valley Marriot in Buellton. They had a small welcome treat packet for Xena.
The hotel was renovated a year ago so everything was new and clean even though it was there since the 1980s. The staff was friendly and helpful, and our stay with Xena was comfortable. My only complaint is that their complimentary WiFi was very limited and weak. You can barely check your email. They offered $9.99 for high-speed internet and $14.99 for the enhanced high-speed internet. Come on Marriott, really? I don’t have to be connected to the internet all the time, but if you advertise that you have WiFi, you should have a working service.
Pet policy from the hotel website:
- Maximum 1 pet per room
- Non-refundable fee: 80 USD
- 1 pet 50 pounds or less pet rooms located on 1st floor subject to availability (We stayed on the 2nd floor so I don’t think they are strict with this policy)
We arrived at Fess Parker Winery in Los Olivos in the late afternoon. I usually like to visit the wineries about an hour before their closing time. It’s less crowded and has a more laid-back atmosphere. Some wineries even allowed Xena to stay in the tasting room in the past even though they don’t allow pets in the tasting room. And it’s also cooler for us to hang outside.
Dogs are not allowed in the tasting room at Fess Parker but they have a huge beautifully manicured lawn with picnic tables spread out. We played fetch and did tasting outside. My sister was planning for her upcoming wedding so this was a much-needed getaway for her as well from all the to-dos. 😉 We all had a wonderful time and felt our stress washed away. Next time though, we decided to go there a little earlier and picnic. We didn’t realize their lawn was this large and has lots of shade. Oh, and if you like white wine, you must try Viognier here!
Tequepis Trail in Los Padres National Forest is an 8 mile lightly traveled trail located near Goleta, California. This single trek is shared by hikers and mountain bikers. As it does get hot here, this hike is suitable for spring/fall/winter. You will hike up to Camino Cielo Road then back out the way you went up.
Drive to Whittier Camp then follow the directions to Circle V Ranch Camp. Although vehicles with high clearance are not required, drive cautiously on the unpaved road. The parking lot will be on your right. First, you will go through the campground. Since Circle V Ranch Camp is a traditional summer camp, the campground was empty when we were there in April.
During the first mile or so the trail was partly shaded and had a gradual ascent under the canopy of tall trees early in the morning.
It’s a great place to go to see a variety of wildflowers in the spring.
At the 2 mile marker, switchbacks began. You know what that means, right? We will have some great views soon. Indeed, we did. We began to have a view of Cachuma Lake and we had a beautiful view from that point on. But wait, the views are even better on your way down!
After 4 miles of the ascent, we reached Camino Cielo Road.
And an incredible 360 degree of view was waiting for us at the top. To the west, there was the Pacific Ocean and Santa Barbara below
and to the east, there was the view of Cachuma Lake.
As I mentioned before, the view was even better on your way down. Enjoy the rest of the hike with a view like this.
Good to Know:
- Hike Date: 4.16.17
- Trailhead: 34.552671, -119.957004 (copy/paste to your GPS app)
- Distance: 8.4 miles RT
- Elevation Gain: 2,454 feet
- Difficulty Level: Difficult
- No toilet