It’s a new year and only two weeks into the new quarter you may have found yourself already behind schedule on the 2 million pages of reading your professors have so thoughtfully deemed necessary. Time management is the name of the game with a heavy winter course load, and it can be an anxiety-inducing struggle to balance your academic, social and professional lives. This is where I tell you to shrug priorities off for a bit and spend several hours sauntering around our resplendent wilderness. At this point, you may ask, “Why should I spend my precious weekend hours hiking in the woods?” Let me count the ways:
Sunny skies. This incredible weather won’t last forever, and eventually the winter rain and spring wind will be upon us. Take advantage of the 70 F weather and sun while you can. That’s not to say wait until poor weather to study or attempt ceiling-less outdoor snappa, but plan your weekend to hit the mountains on Saturday and the books or beers on Sunday, or vice versa.
Fitting in the weekend workout. Getting motivated for the gym on a weekend can be daunting, or perhaps you prefer not to meat it up in the MAC. Grabbing a group of friends and finding a cross-country trail can be a great way to get a social and fun workout. Depending on your physiology and the intensity of your hike, an average of 300 calories is burnt per hour per 100 pounds of body weight. For a 160 pound 20-something-year-old, that means a three hour hike equates to roughly all 15 Keystones you drank last night. Boom, knowledge bomb.
A multitude of other health benefits. Regular aerobic exercise benefits include a lower risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke and depression. Hiking can also reduce the risk of cancer. Only a few hours a week can also increase bone density and sleep quality. This isn’t a cure-all, but hiking does provide an easy avenue for preventative measures. The best part is you don’t have to be He-Man to go for an excursion, as anyone with any fitness level can enjoy the benefits of a trek.
Creating memories. We’ll never forget our years at UCSB. While you may forget a few nights stumbling down Del Playa, you’d be hard-pressed to forget the mountain escapades and the memories made enjoying a scenic view with friends. A must have on any senior’s bucket list is a night hike on a full moon, as sunrise from Cathedral Peak is an unforgettable experience.
The list goes on, but it’s time to get to the third installment of adventures: Tequepis Trail. This trail, pronounced (te-KAY-piss), is named after a Chumash village located south of Lake Cachuma. The naming is appropriate, as the trail offers stunning views of the entire lake. Beginning at 1,500 feet, the Tequepis Trail is a 3.5 mile trip up 2,000 feet to Telegraph Peak. The trail is a long uphill ascent, but the 360 degree panoramic view at the top is well worth the effort. On a clear day, you can see the Santa Barbara County’s front and backcountry, as well as many of the Channel Islands.
Tequepis Trail begins at the gate of St. Vincent de Paul’s Circle V Camp, which is a quick 45-minute drive from Isla Vista. Once there, unload and begin walking straight through the Boy Scout camp. Turn off the paved road onto the dirt at the signpost, and continue up this rutted trail for a half mile. At this point, follow the “Tequepis Trail” sign to your left. There aren’t any more turnoffs from here on, so remain on the well-defined trail and enjoy the fresh air and views.
Mountain bikers frequent the trail, but they ride with bells and are easily heard from a distance. Also, keep an eye out for poison oak, which is reddening with the season and and is no sweat to recognize and sidestep.
Take your pick from the cornucopia of reasons to get out and enjoy Tequepis Trail; it could be a calorie-burning leg workout, fulfilling a New Year’s resolution to be more active, a group excursion with friends, or even taking scenic snapshots with that fancy camera Santa brought you for Christmas. No matter what reason you go with, you’ll be glad you did.
If Harrison Gibson could be a Native American, he’d choose Chumash based on location alone.
Trailhead Directions: Take the 101-S to the 154 and follow that up and over the mountains. Once you see Lake Cachuma on your right, begin looking for the turnoff on your left. You will pass a turnoff with a prominent sign for Camp Allegre, but don’t take this. Take the next turnoff, which has a smaller Camp Allegre sign along with a Camp Whittier sign. The turnoff presents a fork in the road, go left and continue straight on this dusty road until you reach the Circle V camp parking lot, which will be located on your right.