With Halloween upon us, now would be a good time to tell an extraordinary scary story.
A true scary story.
My then-boyfriend-now-shackled-and-chained-soulmate and I love to hike the hills in Santa Barbara. Every time I would visit him in college we would hike one of the trails in either the front country or back country. Some of the trails in the front country intersect with the original stage coach trail built in the 1800’s that was used by prospectors and the Pony Express. Other trails were used by the Chumash, for hunting and exploring. It’s pretty cool to see huge beams of wood with rusted iron spikes embedded in the hillside as you ascend the mountain range.
The hike we took for this story was the Cold Springs trail up to Montecito Peak. <spoiler alert: we never made it to the end, too long, too scary, etc>.
The Cold Springs trail actually incorporates much of the original Stage Coach trail and is a very long hike, nine miles roundtrip. We set off on a foggy fall morning, headed to the peak, with one backpack, two bottles of Gatorade, and a granola bar.
After clearing the tree line, the fog had dissipated and we were in direct sunlight for the remainder of the hike up. About four miles in, we were starting to slow down and decided take a break to enjoy our snack.
We started back up, and found ourselves on a narrow portion of the trail that was about two feet wide with a pretty steep drop off to the left, with barely any shrubs to catch you should you accidentally trip and fall. A little nerve wracking for this lady.
I was walking ahead of Rob with the backpack when I felt three sharp jolts to the backpack. I stopped, thinking it was the Gatorade bottles jostling in the bag, shook the backpack, and started walking again.
After walking several more feet, I felt three sharp pushes to the backpack again. When I stopped the last time to adjust the pack, I had assumed that Rob had caught up to me, and was walking right behind me, bumping into my backpack. He usually did this when he got tired from the hike...sometimes he was so close to me that he would step on the back of my shoes.
I got irritated, stopped, swiftly turned around and shouted, “What?!”
Rob was about 15 feet behind me, and couldn’t even hear what I had said, and responded “What?”
I waited for him to catch up to me, and I asked him, "Why do you keep pushing the backpack?"
He said, "I’m not."
Backtrack to the pushes I felt….they were coming from the right, and pushing towards the left, where the sheer drop off on this portion of the hike was. Both times I felt the jostles, we were walking on the portion of the trail that was narrow with no shrubs, just a sheer drop.
I immediately got goosebumps and felt very uncomfortable. It was soon after that incident, that I wanted to turn around and go back down the trail. When we had to pass through that same portion of the trail where I felt the pushes, I handed the backpack to Rob and ran past that portion as quickly as I could.
I still love those trails. And every time we are up in Santa Barbara, we hike one of our trails.
So, was I able to scare you?
At least give you the willies?
Ok fine, I get it, it’s not that scary. Unless of course you were me, feeling like someone was trying to push you off a cliff.
To find out more about the history of these amazing trails, go here: