Tuesday, September 18, 2018

2018/9/18 Upper Oso Canyon

On a breezy sunny day 2 mules and 2 Arabian horses set out to see the Upper Oso Canyon.
We were on the trail for 3 hours and traveled 6.75 miles.
For the mule gals it was home turf, for the visitors from Lebec it was a real treat.

We started out on Rancho Oso.
I did my usual trick of backing through the open gate and daring the others to do likewise. The mules aced it, and then with a little consternation and swishing of tails the Arabs did too.

Then it was down the Arroyo Burro Road to cross the Santa Ynez River,

that was so sparkling and lush a month ago when I was here last.

Now it has once again gone underground and was only a pathway of rocks.
Then we rode down the
Paradise Road / Gibralter Road
carved into the hillside,
which has recently been re-opened to vehicular traffic
but we saw very few cars
 and they were all driven by courteous older men who slowed down as they passed us.

Then passing the Lower Oso Day Use area

we turned up the canyon.

This is a flood zone, and the Upper Oso campground has been closed for many months because of damage from fire, rain, and cascading mud.

At one point on the trail Tobe Mule froze, riveted on something in the distance.
Oh look............ a mule deer!

The land forms rising above the canyon are majestic in their stark simplicity, and it is the perfect antidote for my eyes that spend so much time under bright lights in the tattoo studio. Here I get the long view, the distance perspective.

But then, what's this? a Medicine Wheel laid out in the ground with serpentine rock, the beautiful green stone that runs in seams through these mountains.

I asked the ladies I was riding with to pose with the medicine wheel, at the entrance to the campground.

And we met the new Camp Host who gave us the good news
that the campground has re-opened and is once again available for use.

But what strange runic inscriptions be these on this rock?

Some of the campsites have not re-opened, like these two cement picnic tables that were washed downstream during the mud debris flow.

But a tremendous lot of work has been done to return the campground to full use, and it was a pleasure to see it open.

No one was camping there, but they could if they wanted to for $30 a night.

Twenty of the pole pen paddocks have been repaired and are ready for equestrian use, but 7 are still in a bent and twisted pile.

Most importantly the water pipes have been repaired, so the campground has water available for bathrooms and the all-important water trough.

The Arabians moved in for a drink
and so did the pretty russet mule,
the apple of Tobe's eye

"Hey baby, come here often? Can I buy you a drink?"
She was not impressed.
Oh bother.
Animals cooled by the drink we headed back down the canyon and back to civilization.
The trails will await our return, and the road goes ever onward.

"The world is full of magic things,
patienty waiting for our senses to grow sharper."
         -- W B Yeats