Wednesday, May 9, 2018

2018/5/9 Lake Los Carneros MeetUp

The wild flowers are in bloom now at Lake Los Carneros Park, and it was a fine place to view migratory birds. We strolled the park trails and then went over to see the Railroad Museum and the historic Rancho La Patera Stow House.
5 riders from the MeetUp convened for a quick visit. I did 2.6 miles in one hour leading the group, then while I left to attend to other  priorities the rest stayed and did a few more laps around the park.

We started out trekking across the grassland, where tiny spots of color gave spring to our animals' steps.....
and the waving wild oats presented a temptation that a well behaved mule knows he must not nosh.

Then, what is this? Tell me turtle rescue is not becoming a trend on the trail?
Fortunately this water turtle was very near to his wet habitat, so we merely wished him well on his hike.
 The lake is a community jewel, giving this neighborhood a special character.
 We saw hikers and joggers and dog walkers...and mommies with babies in strollers...
And while Tobe Mule was looking at the birds the tiny baby in the stroller couldn't take her eyes off him.
The lake has paths weaving in and out around it, some leading down to treacherous mud bogs where the lake has receded in the drought. The equines picked up the pace and moved along briskly, covering ground in our tiny herd.
As it happened all the animals were gaited, so we could get them moving along nicely without bouncing around, and the sound of their hooves was very pleasant.

Old eucalyptus trees form much of the larger forested areas, so we followed paths in and out of them.

Then we came to the Railroad Museum, a beautiful old building lovingly preserved.
And so we posed like a posse awaiting the train.

Oh, for the days when cowboys could load their horses onto boxcars and light out for the territories for adventure.
But no, we are but modern folk, touching a past almost forgotten except in cinema.
Directly adjacent the train museum is the original Stowe farm house that belonged to the family who bequeathed this property to the County for a park. A lovely Queen Anne delicacy, popular for weddings.
The impressive gardens are well-maintained and serene.

Wending our way back towards the lake,
following walls made of rounded river stones fashioned by gardeners a century ago.

I decided it would be interesting to go down to the lakeside walkway, now empty of any walkers or strollers. Unfortunately Tobe decided to pull a major refusal, and we did a bit of sideways ATVing on the hillside, as the horses walked calmly on. What the heck?
Then we came to the large rotting bird. He smelled it from yards away and didn't want to get near it. The horses didn't perceive it at all.
One of those self-preservation moments that happen with mules, their senses are so acute and their rational sense big enough to avoid danger without a blind panic. Mule owners learn to negotiate.

What could be better than exploring on the back of a curious creature like a mule?

And then it was time to turn around
return to civilization....

Knowing that this simple recreation area will wait for us to return anytime.

"A lake is the landscape's most beautiful
and expressive feature.
It is Earth's eye;
looking into which the beholder
measures the depth of his own nature."

--- Henry David Thoreau  

Welcome to Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average. Garrison Keillor
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