Wondering what the trail conditions might be like at Baron Ranch given the damage to other places on the Gaviota Coast I was not prepared for how much the rain storms had impacted the trail.
While the lower canyon was relatively in good shape, with little damage to the ranch roads, the west part of the upper loop trail (mostly ranch road leading up to the pump station) was rendered almost impassable. The road heading up to the west ridge had hundreds of yards of deep ruts from 1-3′ deep with one almost 5′ deep. Once past the section where the ridge trail will eventually be completed, there were quite a few major slides that only a bulldozer will be able to deal with.
Once past the pump station I was surprised that it appeared the east side of the loop trail (which is actually trail and not jeep road) appeared as if it hadn’t been maintained in several years. The tread was still there and pretty much intact but the trail itself was filled with 2′ high grasses, brush and it was almost impossible to tell where the tread actually was if you didn’t know where the trail went.
It appears it will take a major project to re-open the trail due to the lack of maintenance, which has allowed the vegetation to grow back in. This was especially true after the high point where the trail begins to drop down towards the east side ranch road that leads down to the Chalet. Much beautiful flowering plants but very difficult to get through and best removed with the excavator.
However, the biggest issue turned out to be the high point where Kalon and I had removed the major rock slide using the generator and hammer drill to split up the rock into manageable chunks that we could move off the trail with the excavator. This slide area is now completely covered in rock, some of it very large, that will require a lot of work to clear.
Bottom line is that the road will need major overhaul by Public Works and the trail quite a bit of work to get it back open. I would suggest this could take months depending on when PW ir Parks is able to get the work done.