Wednesday, November 1, 2017

2017/11/1 Live Oak

Today in celebration of the Celtic New Year and All Saints Day Tobe Mule and I joined a new friend and rode at the old favorite, Live Oak.

The photo above is the view as you leave the equestrian parking area and cross the bone-dry Santa Ynez River, the entrance to the thousands of acres of lovely trails.

The map has a glitch, I had a technical issue so the iPhone battery ran out half-way back, causing the Motion-GPX to stop recording. Which didn't matter since we were retracing our path. BUT when the iPhone recharged in the SubUrban it suddenly drew that straight line to the point where I was driving on Highway 154.

We rode for about 2 hours and went 5 miles, first through the wooded ridge and then tracking along the fence line of the Rancho San Fernando Rey, in a dry mesa that ends at a bluff overlooking the golf course.
The only other rider we met was this 78 year old on a quarter horse who was looking for the Horse & Mule Riders of the 805 Meet-Up! I'd changed our Meet-Up ride time to noon and he showed up at 11AM as I had originally advertised it, so instead of riding together we sat around and chatted for a long time and then went our separate ways, vowing to share a trail in the future.

Once across the river the landscape rises up quickly, thickly forested with oak trees and crossed with trails that allow for two horses to walk adjacent much of the time.

We saw one deer, but you always get the impression that lots of creatures are watching as you pass by.

Then we got up onto the mesa, which I always think it like being on the African veld.  Dried grasses, huge ancient oaks, and a horizon of mountains that beckon with the promise of trails to discoveries.

Many of the oaks were blasted by the recent drought, so while the main trunk survives the ground around them is littered with fallen limbs.

We tracked along the straight fence that separates the government-owned Live Oak Camp, part of the Lake Cachuma property, from the Rancho San Fernando Rey.

The only cow we saw was this desiccated mummified relic under a tree. I boxed up an enlargement in the photo, we were on the other side of the fence and plenty glad not to get close enough to smell it.

A beautiful day, perfect mild weather, and a classic California landscape.

And a new equestrienne friend, a very accomplished competitive rider who was kind enough to spend an afternoon reining in her Arab to adjust to mule speed.

The camaraderie of the equine enthusiasts transcends occupational or educational differences.

The oak trees are of two distinct kinds. Quercus agrifolia, the Coastal Live Oak, with the rounded and spiky leaves. And Quercus lobata, the Valley Oak, with lobed leaves and deeply fissured trunks. This area is unique in that both kinds grow in close proximity.

We may be walking in tame landscape here, but the mountains are so very close, and a trail system tracks through them that a mule can conquer.

But this ride had achieved its goal, to come to the edge of the bluff overlooking the golf course and Hwy 154.  Then it was time to turn around, and head back to the transport vehicles and down to real life below.

"To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour."                  --- William Blake

You know, real life doesn't just suddenly resolve itself. You have to keep working at it. Viggo Mortensen
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You know, real life doesn't just suddenly resolve itself. You have to keep working at it. Viggo Mortensen
Read more at: