Above the Fog: Boronda Trail & Cisco Creek

The Boronda Trail begins next to this debris flow barrier about half a mile south of the Coast Gallery.

September 2010 Update: The debris flow barrier has been removed! Don’t let this fool you if you’re looking for the trail.

After less than a mile of climbing, we reach the top of the fog bank.

A little higher we come upon oaks festooned with prayer flags. Somehow the effect is more laundry day than Tibetan Monastery.

Leaving the damp and cold behind.

A fawn, bedded down in Owl’s Clover (Castilleja exserta), awaits its mother’s return.

Spanish Bayonet (Yucca whipplei) ready to bloom.

Chia (Salvia columbariae) growing from a crack in the rock.

The ascent continues. The Boronda Trail follows the old Separation Rd. route – so called because the dangerousness of its steep corners “separated the men from the boys.” All the extreme steepness separates today is out of shape hikers from their will to go on (Boon calculates the average grade of the Boronda Trail at 19%).

The Coast Ridge finally in sight.

California Poppies (Eschscholzia californica) line the route.

The Boronda Trail reaches the Coast Ridge at Timber Top – where a Forest Service crew has set up camp.

View from Timbertop. Silver Lupine (Lupinus albifrons), Tomcat Clover (Trifolium willdenovii), Owl’s Clover, etc. in the foreground.

Heading south along the Coast Ridge, Blue Dicks (Dichelostemma capitatum) are blooming everywhere.

Only a stump is left of the landmark oak that for so many years marked the start of the De Angulo and Logwood trails.

The start of the De Angulo Trail is badly overgrown. The Logwood Trail disappeared years ago.

The view of the South Coast from the Jeff Norman Memorial Bench.

Viewed from the Coast Ridge, not much is left of the pine forest that once heavily blanketed the top of Pine Ridge.

Cold Springs Camp is basically just a wide spot in the road – in fact, it’s barely even that.

A Forest Service truck parked at Cold Springs with wheel blocked, as per regulations, in spite of being parked on level ground. Forest Service dedication to safety also extends to forcing crews to hike to and from job sites wearing hard hats, etc.

A big showy Santa Lucia Lupine (Lupinus cervinus) growing beside the Big Sur Trail near the headwaters of Logwood Creek.

View of Cold Springs Camp, with the Coast Ridge Road above it, from Logwood Ridge.

The Forest Service crew has been hard at work clearing the Big Sur Trail from Cold Springs to Rainbow Camp – a huge job that has involved extensive tread reconstruction, as well as clearing of brush and deadfalls. While not every inch of it may be up to full “Mike Heard bench standard,” the trail is likely to remain easily passable for some time to come.

Bush Poppies (Dendromecon rigida) bloom on the floor of an incinerated forest on Logwood Ridge. The Coast Ridge is in the background.

Black Cone (left skyline) and Pimkolam (right background) as seen from Logwood Ridge.

Harlequin Lupine (Lupinus stiversii) blooming amid deep grass in the shade of the oaks mid way between Logwood Ridge and Cisco Creek. Generally considered uncommon in the Santa Lucias, Harlequin Lupine has been popping up all over the place since the fires.

Cisco Creek: A reliable source of delicious water. The redwood groves along Cisco Creek appear to have come through the fire just fine.

Star Flower (Trientalis latifolia) growing under the redwoods along Cisco Creek.

Santa Lucia Sticky Monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus var. bifidus) and Blue Dicks near Cisco Creek.

Looking up the Cisco Creek watershed toward Logwood Ridge.

While we were fooling around at Cisco Creek, someone else visited the Jeff Norman bench and left us this religious tract. It informs us that even though God created us imperfect and incapable of perfection, he nevertheless demands perfection of us and will consign us to eternal torment for the imperfections he saddled us with in the first place. That’s the bad news. The good news is that as long as we say some magic words about accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we can avoid our punishment and spend the rest of eternity in heaven instead – no matter how awful we were throughout our lives. In other words, since nobody’s perfect, feel free to live your life as badly as you like. Just don’t forget to say the magic words before you die. This tract, if nothing else, makes the behavior of the prominent Christians who’ve been in the news so much lately easier to understand.

Now here’s our idea of church: The Double Cone as viewed from a field of Sky Lupine (Lupinus nanus) on the Coast Ridge.

And this: Heading back down the Boronda Trail at the end of a day well spent.

12 Responses to Above the Fog: Boronda Trail & Cisco Creek

  1. bigsurkate says:

    I love taking these hikes with you vicariously, XT. I’ve never felt so limited by only having one leg, as I have since I’ve faced Big Sur’s challenges. Many I can meet, others, I cannot. But with your posts, I can get a small feel for what it would be like to hike these beloved hills. Thank you.

  2. Tom says:

    Between the buddhist prayer flags and christian propoganda, it’s hard to get away from religious garbage, literally. I hope you packed out that trash.

  3. Thanks for the update you posted but some of the scenes were so hard to look at – I really found it hard to see how my beloved forest has suffered these past years. I lived at the Boronda homestead in 1970-71, and later in the 80’s at Timber Top in a wonderfully decrepit caravan named Karnak IV whose surroundings had many magical qualities. I must have driven up and down the Separation Hill “road” more than a hundred times. God what a beautiful time that was. Your description of “separation of the men from the boys” was an exact quote from Walter Trotter, who casually gave me the wheel of his Ford Bronco back in 1968 and told me – with that evil scheming gleam in his eye that I quickly learned to love – “Just drive on up to the ridge top, it’s no big deal”. Anyway, I have a few related pictures that I would be happy to send you to post. If you are interested, let me know.

  4. would love to see any pics you have of Walter or /and his brother(s)especially from any adventures with him.
    wb/coast ridge outfitters at
    fenwood resort

  5. Dean Knudsen says:


    In response to the person with the Gospel tract that was found on the bench. If you really wanted to know the truth, God would reveal it to you. You clearly only see the side of what the media presents of those who have done wrong and claiming the name of Christ. If you truly searched for what the true church does every second of every day, you would see a greater love than you could imagine. But because our media machine doesn’t report the good, all you and others see being outside the church is the bad of a few. Because one claims to be a Christian, does not make one a Christian. If you knew the bible, you would know that Jesus will condemn those who have done evil in His name. Period. You see, as do many others who have not known this God to whom the true Christian serves, only what you want to see to keep you where you are spiritually. God does call the Christian to a holy and righteous lifestyle which is apart from the world and it’s lusts. I hope and pray that you would not allow others to sway you from seeking Jesus as it is the perfect plan of the devil. He will use whatever means necessary to sway people from the Truth which is in Christ alone, and end up with him in destruction. Your choice. God will not force His perfect love on anyone, but know that not all that call Him Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 7:21). Grace and peace to you.

  6. Simon Eagar says:

    well there goes my ‘wackiest comment’ comment

  7. Michael Stellman says:

    My name is Michael and I’m the one who left the tract on the bench.

    You said – no matter how awful we were throughout our lives. In other words, since nobody’s perfect, feel free to live your life as badly as you like. Just don’t forget to say the magic words before you die.

    My friend, in the end it will not be the magic words we say that will save us from God’s judgement but it will be what we did with God’s Son Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ took our pushiment on the cross and died for our sins so that we wouldn’t have to.The reason He did this is because He loves us (John 3:16) Jesus loves you so much that if you were the only human being on earth He would still died for you. Every human being is born with a void in their hearts that only God can fill. My prayer is that you would at least read the gospel of John and discover for yourself the endless love that God has for you. God Bless, Michael

  8. BSHiker says:

    Does the Boronda trail meet Hwy 1 where there’s a cattle shoot and a metal gate? For the longest time I’ve tried to find the D’ Anguelo trial and all I’ve found is a road that seems to lead to Charles Mason’s clan about a mile south of the trail I’ve taken. The trail I’ve taken leads straight to Timber Top camp and what a great hike!
    And for the Jesus guy: who knows what happens after we die? Anybody who professes to know is a fool.

  9. xasauan says:

    Yes. There is a cattle chute and metal gate. If the trail you’ve taken leads straight to Timber Top, you have been on the Boronda, not the de Angulo, Trail.

  10. Chris says:

    Hey, XT…(ironic, that abbreviation given the various tracts in this thread:),

    I have the damndest recollection from up in the vicinity of the deAngulo/Logwood trail “junctions” from years ago. About a 10″ upright stone that looks/looked EXACTLY like a Church Creek “hand.” Damndest thing. Maybe 25+ years ago. Never have found/seen that damn thing again. Looked worked. Sent a grainy photo to Terry Jones years ago (and then lost the print)—but it was too grainy for Terry to determine anything conclusive.

    But if anyone ever heard/saw such a thing, too, I’d sure be interested.

  11. ronbannon says:

    I just hiked the Coast Ridge Road from Ventana Inn to Terrace Creek trailhead and encountered several NFS workers that were not familiar with the area. The Terrace Creek trailhead is closed due to the Sobranes fire, but I wonder if Timber Top/Boronda is open? I’d love to hike in from Ventana Inn but would hate to have to turn back if Timber Top is closed. Any thoughts?

  12. xasauan says:

    Everything in the Los Padres National Forest north of the Nacimiento Fergusson Rd. is now closed. That includes Timber Top.

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