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.
A corral and the remains of a cabin bore silent witness to inhabitants long gone.
In the tip top of the tree in this left photo is the red tailed hawk who watched us pass by with calm curiosity.
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 #############