“Experiences like these have helped me develop more confidence and openness…It keeps you active, body and mind, and encourages you to step out of your comfort zone.” -Shannon Kitchell
On Saturday 1/17/15 I went on a hike with Cal Poly’s “Poly Escapes” program to Gaviota Peak in Santa Barbara county. We left campus around 10am and it took about an hour to get from Cal Poly’s campus to the trailhead in Goleta. In the car ride over, all of the trip members got to know each other and listened to podcasts about adventure stories to get ready for the trail ahead. The hike was a 6.5 mile loop with an elevation gain of 2,150 feet, and was a tiring five hour workout with beautiful views of the ocean and the green rolling hills at the top, and a great expereince of meeting other hiking enthusiasts through the Poly Escapes program.
Before ascending, we checked out the Gaviota hot springs at the base of the trail. The water was warm to the touch, and the air smelled like sulfur. The ascent to the top was steep in some parts, and the hike had little shade. The weather was nice, the temperature was in the mid 70’s and the sun was out.
We stopped for lunch just before reaching the peak and took in the view of the ocean. When we got to the peak, there were 360 degree views of the surrounding ocean and rolling hills, green from the recent rain.
After spending about half an hour at the top, we began the hike down. Since the trail was a loop, we went down a different way than we came up. The descent was very steep at first, but flattened out to reveal another view of the ocean and the rolling green hills.
Overall, the hike was a success. It took about 5 hours, but we were taking a slower pace and had stopped at the top to eat. I would definitely do this hike again, and reccommend it to others, but for now I’m going to stick to discovering new trails with different views and new exciting groups of people to hike with.
To go on trips like this at Cal Poly, use the Poly Escapes program, which offers many opportunities for adventure at a low cost. Trip member and first year Shannon Kitchell described the hike to Gaviota Peak and her involvement with the Poly Escapes program as extremely positive. “Going on adventures with new people to places I have never been has been truly rewarding. Experiences like these have helped me develop more confidence and openness. The Poly Escapes Program is a perfect way to branch out and meet new people. It keeps you active, body and mind, and encourages you to step out of your comfort zone.” Said freshman Shannon Kitchell.
To learn more information about Poly Escapes, check out my next blog which is about the Poly Escapes program, or check out the Poly Escapes website.You can also stop by into the Cal Poly rec center, and talk to trip leader or co leader, or talk to program coordinator Derek Wright. Derek says he believes that Poly Escapes is even a good avenue for students who “don’t necessarily have a lot of experience in hiking, and a good opportunity to get outdoors,” because it’s never too late to go on a Cal Poly adventure.
Because it is never late to go on a Cal Poly adventure.