Author: Daniel Pate
CA: Santa Barbara Co: N ChI: Santa Cruz Island: Back to the field station
After breakfast, we packed up our things to leave the perpetually windy Christy’s Ranch and said our farewells to our ectoplasmic neighbor Cynthia. Max excitedly announced a black widow sighting in the bathroom and we set out to return to the UC Reserve Cabin in the trucks.
Just as we were leaving, one of the truck’s tires blew, and Steve and the fam promptly stepped out, got down and replaced it. We continued on our way to a place called Diablo’s Peak, up untended cliff-hanging roads, ascending to what we were told is the highest peak on the island.
Once we were relatively close, we stopped the trucks ~¾ of a mile down from the peak and walked across the road and down a slope to Lagunitas Secos (“small dry lakes”). The hillside here was densely blanketed with bracken ferns and wild grasses. Steve stopped us here and warmly recalled the narrative of his early adult life, the formation of his identity as an agroecologist, and the significance of Lagunitas Secos in shaping the trajectory of his life. Then, after wading through the dry lake of bracken fern, we explored a Chumash midden in an open field of red brome and a representative-of-the-island stand of old growth oaks.