One thing that continuously occurred to me is how much these hills are shaped like the hills in SoCal, much more than Bay Area hills. Very steep ridges with perpendicular folding along the ridges, and exposed sedimentary rock at the summit. You could convince yourself you're in Los Padres near Santa Barbara or the Santa Anas or even, if you ignore the heavier vegetation cover, inland from San Diego. These photos really don't illustrate this but they're darn purty.
Above: you can see where the trail crosses over the top of the peak.