Monday, April 30, 2018

2018/4/30 Cass Winery Riverbed Exploration

The generous Cass Vineyard & Winery allows equestrians to park on their property to stage rides, so The Horse & Mule Trail Riders of the 805 MeetUp convened there for a journey up the river.

 We went 7.58 miles in 3 hours, traveling on trails alongside the sandy river bottom and inside the river where necessary. The ostensible end goal of the trek was another winery, Sculpterra, but the riders voted to turn around when we were just shy of it.... so that remains for another day.
Here's Tobe Mule all tacked up and ready to go, waiting for the other animals and humans to get organized for the ride.

The first part of the trek was a long stroll on the access roads around the acres of grape vines.

We did a very long loop up and around the cultivation.

Last time we were here the rows of vines were lush and the strips between filled with weeds. But today they are just beginning their annual growth, and the dirt between has been carefully harrowed.

The geometries of the landscape make a fun photographic challenge, and Tobe indulges me by stopping when I insist on Photo Ops.

It is exceedingly rare to be allowed access to a working vineyard like this, so while the Paso Robles area is now a respected appellation the actual day to day work of growing the wine grapes is largely a mystery.

For Tobe Mule a highlight of the day was getting to know Arnie the Fjord horse, a charming little fellow of a most curious and unique breed from the mountainous regions of Western Norway.

Walking at mule speed past the rows of grapes is similar to but entirely different from watching cultivated fields from the window of a speeding car. At 2.2mph the straight lines and the rolling hills beyond form a most pleasing panorama.
Once we left the vineyard it was time to explore the trails and the dry river bed, and I asked the gals to pose for this group shot. From left we see Tobe mule, a paint horse, buckskin quarterhorse, thoroughbred cross, Fjord, and a paint.

The name Paso Robles means a passage through oak trees, and that certainly applies to this system of informal trails that track their way alongside the river.

This is such a wonderful season to walk through this landscape, when the grass is lush and filled with tiny wildflowers. Soon it will be burnt dry for the summer.
The riverbed, or arroyo, is exceedingly wide and the sand is deep and a challenge for the animals. So we tried wherever possible to scout out trails on the sides, which meant a lot of tracking back and forth.
But in some places the passage of torrents of water over the eons has shaped the land into dramatic cliffs, so around every bend there was a possibility of a new interesting view.
But enough was enough!
We had no cell reception to check our location on a map, and I was following the verbal route told to me by a savvy pal, and it did seems like we'd been in that river for a very long time.  So we voted to turn around and head back to have a delicious lunch at the Cass restaurant and promise to MeetUp again sometime for another ride together.

“In all things of nature,
there is something of the marvelous.”
– Aristotle

############FIN########### Pat Fish <")*)><