A very quick visit to the foothills of the Sierras, seeing newborn Morgan colts at the home of a role model equestrian pal and taking a quick trail ride up onto a hillside to look down on the beautiful Tivy valley she calls home, up to an overlook and a view of Clark's Valley. You can see on the map we wended our way through acres of mandarin and navel orange groves, then ascended for views, then tracked back.
Altogether 6.14 miles in 2:19 hours, 4 Morgans and 1 Mule.
Of course, what would a trip across the American landscape BE without a roadside attraction!
This is the plane crash Quik Stop gas station on the old Hwy 41 in Caruthers. And there is my rig, the sturdy SubUrban and Tobe riding in his BrenderUp, ready for adventure.
We started our ride by walking in extreme wind through acres of navel oranges. When equines hear rustling in a bush, they get alert! Very hard for them to assess danger when everything around them is in motion.
But what the heck happened here? Spider infestation?
No, turns out mandarin oranges are self-pollinating, and to prevent any cross-pollination or contamination from adjacent crops the farmers painstakingly cover each tree with a net, keeping bees, bugs and birds out.
The higher we went the more we could see the hills above, the goal to be attained after the long orchard stroll. My host was trying to show the rest of us some cowgirl equine footwork maneuvers, but I confess Tobe and I were in a dyslexic muddle and needed to promise to practice that trick another day.
At the summit of a rise the wind really whipped up, and the grass was undulating and Tobe's mane was whirling.
But on the other side, a slice of heaven. An uninhabited valley, prime
agricultural land. Visualize this next time you bite into a California
We turned and followed irrigation culverts through the valley edge, and passed this mysterious stone dolmen.
The waterworks look ancient, but the water was fresh and clean and ever so welcome in this drought time. The trees stand ready to convert sunshine and water to the best oranges ever.
Then it was time to turn back, return the horses to the ranch, where one of them will deliver a new colt in just a few days. And Tobe and I needed to hit the highway, and wend our way back to the Edge of the Continent, where further adventures await us.