Sunday, June 7, 2015

6/7/15 Jesusita Trail Afternoon

Here is today's route. Around the water treatment plant and reservoir, and up the Jesusita canyon. 
Leaving civilization behind for a little healthy adventure in the Front Country.
6.24 miles in a moving time of 2.25 hours, in a total of 3 hours, and an ascent of 924 feet
Today ToBe and I once again rode the Jesusita trail, this time with two companions.
 Glen and his Arabian "Go-for-it-Zo came along again, and brought Frankie and her Morgan Lucky Levi. Glen, as is obvious, is a very relaxed rider.
 In fact, he even rides backwards. He's on a mission to get me more relaxed when I ride, and his persistent clowning around baffles ToBe and keeps me realistic about thinking about danger vs enjoying the ride. It is effective. It is my constant work to be aware and present on the mule, and rely on him to be sensible.
 Glen even rides side-saddle, and Zo probably figures all of this is the way anyone would ride, and thinks nothing of it. Here we are taking a look out over the city to the ocean before we go into the tree canopy.

Our goal today was just to go further than Glen and I did last time. So we headed up the trail dodging hikers and their dogs, and the occasional off road bicyclist. I am always a bit edgy about off-leash dogs on the trail, but ToBe generally gives them a scornful and wary eye and they stay back. He is, after all, a VERY big dog.

 And very soon there we were, in the dappled shade of the oak trees climbing up in the creekbed. It is pretty dry right now, any water is flowing underground, but there were two places where we crossed water and could let the equines drink. The red color is poison oak, ever present but very pretty and obvious at this season.
 This fallen sycamore forms an arch obstacle over the trail, easy for a hiker to walk under, but a low bridge from the back of a mule.
 Fortunately ToBe will go slowly and sidepass over to the higher side so I can duck under.
 The trail is very rocky, so I appreciate that ToBe takes care of carefully placing his feet. Even if he knocks a hoof on a rock I feel confident he will steady himself. I like that he is barefoot, his footfalls are quiet and accurate.
 Above this shady area it is a hot summer day, but down here it is a cool and pleasant ride.
 There is a mix of different kinds of trees, and lots of poison oak, and absolute silence except for the happy music of the hooves on the trail.
 Up and up we climb, usually with the two horses moving faster up ahead and ToBe and I slow and steady behind. We always catch up to the others, he is just a bit more deliberate of a traveler.
 Then the trees part and we see Cathedral Peak up above us, hours of trail further than we are going to go this afternoon...... but we will get there someday. Each ride, we get a little closer to that goal.
For now, for today, this was far enough, so we turned our trusty steeds around and headed back down the pretty trail. Saying hello to all the hikers we pass, gliding by as they huff and puff their way up, yes we DO have a superior mode of transportation!
What lucky people we are indeed!