Saturday, May 5, 2018

2018/5/5 Chamberlin Ranch with LPTR

The private ranches of Santa Barbara County are a hidden treasure, California as it has always been, sections of landscape preserved in their simple natural beauty.
By special arrangement, the Los Padres Trail Riders were granted permission to ride on the Chamberlin Ranch above Los Olivos on Cinco de Mayo.
We ambled the access roads and viewed the vistas from ridges, and a wonderful time was had by the 14 lucky riders. In 2.5 hours we traveled 6.67 miles, a leisurely pace and a very special privilege.

The bright day gave us perfect weather for a Saturday in nature.

The hillsides were covered with Valley Oak, Blue Oak, and Coastal Live Oak.

Many of these ancient giants were festooned with Spanish moss, adding to the sense that we were in a land that time forgot.

Indeed, there is no better way to spend a day than on the back of a fine mule in new territory.

I had never dreamed to be allowed to ride this famous ranch.

And what splendid sights we saw! On the horizon rose Figueroa Mountain and Grass Mountain, and close at hand the promise of tiny spring wildflowers alongside the trail rewarded the sharp and attentive eye.
And everywhere the oaks. Sacred to ancient Northern European cultures, they outlast human lifespans and present us with a silent meditation on strength and patience.
Not to say this was an especially quiet group, the 13 cowgirls and one stalwart fellow kept up a lively dialogue as we ambled along.
And there was much speculation when we found the mysterious Queen Mary II beached at an elevation of 1,403 feet.

A corral and the remains of a cabin bore silent witness to inhabitants long gone.
Look closely and you will see a ring placed into the bark of this oak tree decades ago, for those visiting the cabin to tie their horses to. The growth of the tree has almost completely incorporated the ring now.
The valley floor and the rolling hills, grasslands a perfect place for grazing cattle.
Fortunately the Trail Boss knew the area well, so she led us with confidence when many options presented themselves.
And Tobe was pleased to make a new friend: Bucky the buckskin Rocky Mountain horse, meets Tobe the Rocky Mountain mule.

In the tip top of the tree in this left photo is the red tailed hawk who watched us pass by with calm curiosity.
Tobe is ever alert, and his beacon ears pointed out deer, rabbits, and many birds as we traveled. Locals much too quick for an iPhone camera to capture.
My favorite part of trail riding is seeing landscapes and going places my legs alone could never take me. As a centaur I am blessed to expand my horizons.
And oh so fortunate also to share these happy trails with a nice group of people.
In honor of Kentucky Derby Day one clever gal brought fancy hats for everyone to wear at lunch, and we relaxed beneath an oak and shared a repast before loading up the equines and heading back out of this magical valley to real life.

               "Happy Trails to you, until we meet again."
                            --- Dale Evans

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