Santa Barbara

March 21, 2021 at 7:49 pm (California) (, , )

Mission Santa Barbara

I went to Santa Barbara enroute to the Channel Islands National Park (next blog post.) At the top of my list were Old Mission Santa Barbara, and the Botanic Gardens. I just happened to be standing front and center at the mission when the Franciscan friar appeared in the doorway. Soon he brought out a folding table and lectern and other items to celebrate Mass outdoors, due to COVID-19.

The inside was closed to visitors, but the exterior was, for me, the most beautiful part.

In the adjacent olive garden was a beautiful mosaic Stations of the Cross. A Spanish-speaking family was devoutly praying their way along all of the stations, in the way I used to do as a Catholic schoolgirl during Lent.

Stations of the Cross mosaic

I actually started at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden before I went to the mission. My GPS insisted that the San Marcos Pass Road (St. Route 154) was the fastest route, even though I could have stayed on U.S. Rt. 101 the entire way from my home in Paso Robles. It was a two-lane, winding, heavily-traveled road and I vowed I would never take that road again. (On the way home I stayed on the 101 and it was a breeze.)

There is limited parking at the Botanic Garden but there were folks there to guide us into a newly vacated spot. I didn’t realize that the garden featured ONLY California native plants, which was a real bonus.

California poppies and verbena

Meeting this gopher snake (at least that’s what I think it is) was a highlight. It was an extremely lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-ng snake covering the entire trail even though it was doubled up. When I moved to go around it, it slowly moved off.

Some other early blooming flowers made my day, too.

Path through redwood forest

Tomorrow: My visit to Santa Cruz Island in the Channel Islands National Park

Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre
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Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com
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