Sunday, June 12, 2016

2016/6/12 Santa Rosa Valley, Camarillo with ETI

A beautiful Sunday, and an inspiration to accept an invitation to join the Vasquez Vaqueros, Equestrian Trails Corral 86, for a journey through the Santa Rosa Valley. A water treatment plant operates within this valley, tucked between housing tracts, so water cascades in streams throughout. Very refreshing when most trails nowadays show so much the effect of the current drought.

We traveled 9.11 miles in 4 hours, but easily an hour of that was sidelining for a pee stop and waiting for hikers, dogs, bicyclists etc to appropriately share the trail. The 50 acres of the Santa Rosa Valley Park were being happily utilized by many community members, a pleasure to see.

There he is, my E-ticket to adventure, my eccentric steed.

We were, as usual, the only mule team. And 18 horses of various types filled out the group.

Over his head you can see the winch that I use to lift his saddle up onto him, quite the efficient arrangement.

He is ready to go, and waiting patiently for me to get into my boots, hook up the iPhone to the Mophie battery and turn on GaiaGPS to track the route, and mount up and head out.

Almost immediately the trail began following the path of a stream below us.

It was somewhat astonishing to see and hear so much water.

The water reclamation plant sends a massive volume of water into this valley, and numerous spillways, dams, and rock waterfalls have been placed to break up the flow.

Tobe is wary around water, but we had a good leader and if he sees a horse do it first we have no issues. This was great practice for him.

Every time we'd get to a new variation on the theme of dams and spillways Tobe would give it the skeptical eye.

But once he got a chance to taste the water, and cool his hooves, he was all in.

Then the trail would start to climb and we'd be walking through a pleasant forest.
Then it would dip back down. The planks at the top of the photo are for hikers to cross on, and the rushes growing in the water are to tempt Tobe to snacking.

I couldn't quite figure out what this concrete construction was.

 Then we lifted up and began to follow the ridgeline, giving us views back down into the valleys.
As every equestrian knows, a big part of a young horse's desensitization training is to teach them to disregard blue tarps, plastic bags, anything that might move in an unexpected manner and cause a horse to react with instinctive fear. Here we passed a disused and abandoned terraced garden that was filled with obstacles that could make a horse worried. Not Tobe, of course.
The park being so popular with local equestrians means there are sensible bridges built in spanning culverts and drains.

To keep motorcycles off the trails these simple wooden step-overs pose no difficulty for a horse or human but prevent the heavier of the vehicular off-roaders.

Separating the trail from some houses this beautifully constructed wall was a pleasure to pass by.

Now we were into some serious climbing, above the housing area, and up to the ridge that would give us an overview of the entire valley.
This is when
you are glad you have a mule.
The rocky road is no problem
for his hooves.                                                                                                          Civilization below.

I believe the huge structure in the top center of the photo above is AMGen,
the multinational biopharmaceutical company that is the world's largest independent biotechnology firm.

The trail was bounded by prickly pear cactus, and it was a reminder to be ever vigilant and not let a leg brush up against one of those paddles so well supplied with spines.

The landscape kept revealing new land forms in the distance, amazing to think that the zillions of people who pass by mere miles away on the 101 Freeway will never know this exists.

It was a real pleasure to see lots of young families on the trail.

Even the bicyclists we encountered were pleasant people, happy to share the trail, step aside and let the 19 equines stroll past.

And we'd climb up for a view, back down for the water, over and over.

we came to the very narrow trail
that climbs above Paradise Falls.
Intelligent designers have placed a very sturdy fence
over which we could look down into the chasm
and see large numbers of people at a swimming hole.
I myself would not want to be swimming in water that came out of a reclamation plant. In fact we saw some kids fishing and I asked and they said Hell No they don't eat the fish they catch here.

We stopped to give the animals a break and some of the humans a pee stop and I met this friendly Park Ranger who explained that the Conejo Open Space comprises all of the open undeveloped areas between Camarillo, Thousand Oaks, and Moorpark. We entered through Santa Rosa Park, but we went almost as far as Wildwood Park which is the entrance to this area from the Southern side.

THEN we saw what we had been smelling off an on as we wound our way through the valley.
The Hill Canyon Wastewater Treatment Plant.

How's this for government-speak:
HCTP is known for its creative 
Energy Management Plan 
that focuses on energy conservation, process optimization, renewable energy generation and is a hotbed of innovation, technology, governmental efficiency, and environmentalism.

All I know is they have done a fabulous job creating a beautiful wetland, with one million gallons of water flowing through it.

But it was time to be done with this ride, 9 miles is a good distance and Tobe and I were thinking it was a good thing our winding path was coming to an end.
And we know we will return to this beautiful oasis.
To know there is a wild place this beautiful right on the edge of the urban cityscape is such a pleasure.
This is the California I claim as my birthright as a native citizen.
It's the way you ride the trail that counts. Dale Evans
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 "It's the way you ride the trail that counts."      - Dale Evans

It's the way you ride the trail that counts. Dale Evans
Read more at: