A big Arctic Burst storm was predicted, and tax deadlines loomed, and it seemed like a perfect reason to chuck responsibilities and get the mules out on the trail. After all, once you're out in the wilderness all the petty concerns of Real Life are just a memory, and the immediate beauty and challenge are all-engrossing.
For once it wasn't Tobe and I who were ready last. Otis did circles on Pretty Boy Floyd, and Barbara fussed over Tillie's tack, and then we headed out from the live Oak campground.
We are incredibly fortunate to have access to this property, where no bicycles or dogs create hazards. There is a lot of wild life, so we never know what we will run into. Off we go!
Even though it rained hard last week there was barely any water in the river.
Lake Cachuma glimmering on the horizon is always the high point of the rides here, all paths lead to views.
Then again, right here Barbara said she knew where a barely visible trail behind an oak tree went, one that looked suspiciously like a cow path, but what the heck, we're on mules, we ride the ATV of the equine world, so lead on!
It led to a deer hollow! And I think they are MULE deer, see the big ears on that one laying down in the edge of the shade under the oak? It was a family of a dozen or so, they are masters of camouflage.
Beautiful oaks hung with Spanish Moss, the trunks dark from the recent rains, leaves bright green with new spring growth.
Then down at the lake level, watching for water fowl and feeling the wind whipping across the water.
Signs that wild boars have been here, rooting up the grass.
The wind got stronger, causing whitecaps on the water, and big luminous clouds appeared over the coastal range.
The clouds advanced rapidly, and the temperature began to drop. And this is exactly WHY we are out here, because tomorrow we'll be cosy indoors and this trip would not be possible.
Tobe LIVES outdoors 24/7, so whether he's taking me for a stroll or play-fighting with his friends, it is all the same to him. Another day, another field of grass.
But all of us enjoy the views, as we stop at another promontory to look back across the lake.
This is a rather Picasso-esque panorama............. I'll practice with this app and do better next time!
But today's ride is done, and time to head back to civilization.