Once again the Live Oak Acorn Riders convened for another exploration of this amazing local resource: the Live Oak Camp property on the shores of Lake Cachuma.
One magnificent mule and three adventurous horses, 5.77 miles in 2.5 hours.
A sunny bright day, a bit of a wind, and off we went.
We met up with today's cohort and headed out.
Tobe Mule and I
Team Leaders and Herd Bosses
Cowboy Bob on Ananda Arabian
Miss Molly on her current Charm School pupil Stoney the Brandenburg/Thoroughbred X
Holly the owner of Stoney, riding the ever-so sensible borrowed Woodrow QuarterHorse
Here is the first of many trail obstacles. A tree has fallen across the trail, so all equines were required to ATV up and over to the left, around the roadblock.
No worries for a mule, but a learning experience for the green bean Mr Stoney, who was on his 14th ride ever and only his 2nd trail ride.
This ancient valley oak, Quercus lobata, had also fallen, and we saw many more with deadfalls beneath them. The drought here is severe.
I KNOW the trail sign points to the left, but look at that clear path leading to the right.......
Finally we had to backtrack all the way to the little sign that insisted the trail went off to the left.
Sharp eyes finally saw what might have been a cow path, that evolved into the trail that headed up and over.
And then it was time to track back down, slowly at mule speed, carefully placing hooves and enjoying the scenery.
Spring wildflowers still clung to their moment, even as the summer heat has begun.
In this photo are the peach-colored Mimulus aurantiacus, "monkeyflower" at bottom right,
and middle right a magenta patch of Epilobium canum, the California fuchsia.
Just over Tobe's ears is a patch of yellow
Achillea millefolium lanulosa, Mountain Yarrow.
Coming down the last hill, heading back to the trailers, looking across what used to be the Santa Ynez River to the Live Oak Campground on the mesa on the right.
In the shade of the trees are the Wild Horses.
We don't mess with them.
They have a stallion and a herd of mares and colts, and watch us pass by.
And yes, there are the rigs at the trailhead, and today's adventure is almost drawing to a close.
Once again a Kentucky Mule adventures into Vaquero California.
“It ain’t dying I’m talking about, it’s living.
I doubt it matters where you die, but it matters where you live.”
~spoken by Augustus McCrae”
Larry McMurtry, Lonesome Dove