After the cool, shaded climb from the Sisquoc the light and heat of the open Deck are almost shocking. To the North, the far blue mountains are soft, rumpled against the pale winter sky.
To the South, the trail hugs the edge of a vertigo inducing precipice as it climbs steeply up the first of many 'hills' before it meets the junction of the Potrero Trail. It's like looking along the spine of an enormous dragon, scales and all.
For the first several miles the trail is relatively clear, then without warning it completely disappears in a tangle of chamise and star thistle - the bane of back country hikers. We thrash back and forth for some time searching for the track. Hot, discouraged, we are on the point of turning back when the chaparral suddenly and mysteriously opens up again into a wide and well marked trail.
Mile after mile, we climb sharply up, then just as precipitously the trail drops, then up again, now down. As the sun begins it's slow descent to the West, we climb our last, long hill and finally, thankfully see the rusty trail marker for the Potrero Trail.
Golden grass backlit by the setting sun along the aptly named Potrero Trail.
View toward Zaca Peak.
At the base of the Potrero Trail, we encounter a herd of pack goats and their owner, settled in for the night. After chatting for a bit, mutual acqaintences are discovered (such a small world, after all.......) and as we move down the trail in the gathering dusk, the smallest goat runs after us, baa-ing plaintively.