Tuesday, October 18, 2011

10-18-11 El Woodie

Tobe had a week off while I scrambled with business concerns, and in mule fashion he let me know today that he was NOT happy about having had a boring week. He was cranky, which made me frustrated, so we opted to just go for a 90 minute walk out on the Elwood Mesa rather than something more ambitious. Lots of bicycles and hikers, lovely weather, just a stretch of the legs. 

Length: 3.7 miles
Duration: 1.5 hours
Difficulty: Very easy riding. We just took a stroll. The only scary parts were the bicyclists who came up rapidly behind us without warning and the geese, who were having a very large assembly.

Altitude gain: 130 ft 

Grade: I

View El Woodie 10-18-11 in a larger map
 In dappled light the eucalyptus groves are a pleasant buffer between the housing areas and the Mesa.
 The groves are home to lots of monarch butterflies, which can be seen fluttering whenever you visit the area all year long if the day is warm enough. Some nesting areas are forbidden to us, where the trees are covered with resting butterflies, so here we skirt the edges.
 Turning out onto the Mesa there is a marine layer coming up from the South. Clear and hot here in Goleta, it was socked in fog in downtown Santa Barbara.
 Ever-present on the horizon, the oil rigs. Today in my fancy it looks like a tattered pirate ship at anchor.
 The colors! The intense blue of the sea and sky, with the marine layer a pastel grey coming up on the horizon like another set of islands.
 The mirror shimmer lagoon is filled with resting birds.
 Yes, yes, both Tobe and I would rather be up in the front country mountains of the Los Padres Forest than on a golf course in suburbia, but better to have a short walk than another day bored in a paddock.
 Even on such a manicured world as a golf course the geese are a wild element. A very big gaggle were presenting a hazard, and Tobe was NOT at ALL sure they were safe to pass by. Thus I do not have a close-up photo.... it was a both-hands-on-the-reins kind of promenade as we went past, even though the geese honked dismissively at us and waddled just a few feet out of our way, I couldn't be sure they wouldn't all take wing.
Ah, the Shadow Lad, admiring himself perhaps, or thinking how tasty that highly cultivated grass might taste.