Thursday, September 29, 2011

Las Caballeras Airport in the Sky 9-29-11

For our first ambitious ride I hooked up with some spirited gals and we decided to ride up to the Airport in the Sky and then come back. A perfect example of the journey being more important than the destination, we just want to explore and discover Catalina.

Length: 12.5 miles
Duration: 4.25 hours
Difficulty: Moderate. Some rocky climbs, single track trails, but nothing with a significant drop-off. 

Altitude gain: 2060 ft 

Grade: II

Tobe wearing my beret, looking jaunty and patient as I get him all tacked up and ready to go exploring and visit the Airport in the Sky. 

 These trails and roads are a good example of why shoes are necessary here. The rocks are very sharp and all this walking in sandy roads would wear down his hooves.
 The day was much clearer and the sea a splendid azure, as we wound around and rose higher and higher.
 This is looking back on our little cove, what an amazing campsite. I even swam in the ocean, made it feel even more like summer camp.
 There are lots of harbors and coves all along the coast, and because the land has never been developed except for minimal roads it is easy to imagine landing on this place in a canoe or a sailing vessel in eons past.
 Traveling at mule speed is so relaxing, watching the landscape unfold. 
 And the island is big enough that there are mountain ranges receding into the distance, ........... but wait, ears UP! There are three more bison! We actually went of the road and bushwhacked a big leisurely loop around these guys.
 Off the grid, no computer, just natural light and vistas to gaze upon.
 This looked like a natural lagoon that was a bison watering hole. 
 A sign for the Santa Catalina Island Conservancy outside the airport. We were so very grateful that they granted Las Caballeras the opportunity to ride on the Island once a year.
 The airport, tiny and quaint and with an astounding mountaintop location.
 A metal sculpture of a cowboy roping a calf at the entrance to the ranch next to the airport.
 Looking across the valley at Rancho Escondido, where the Wrigley family used to have their famous Arabian horse breeding program. Now it houses a museum and is being restored for more public use.
 Rancho Escondido's main buildings and corral.
 An old barn at the Rancho.
And a silly portrait of me, wearing a buffalo gal hat I got at the airport. If they scare me I have to find a way to deal with that, might as well laugh!