The Aliso Loop trail has been closed for some years, and now that it has been reopened we went to check it out, pre-riding for a group who will be camping in the area in 2 weeks. Visible on the map are the several false-trails we went up and then turned back, finally deciding to start our trail by going up Oso Canyon on the right, and then crossing over to come down the Aliso Loop ridge.
A journey of 2.5 hours and traveling 6 miles, gaining 800 feet in altitude, much of it on single-track trails that test the fortitude of both equine and rider.
I was remiss in thinking that it had an attendant at the kiosk, and so our rigs would be safer from vandalism. Nope. A $10 fee is required and our 3 rigs were the only vehicles present, on a beautiful sunny Saturday in the heart of nature.
Tobe was more snorty and anxious than I've seen him in ages.
He kept looking up at that escarpment and trying to let me know something was up there he did not approve of.
As much as we humans squinted we could see nothing.
We knew, of course, that we were going to be on that very ridge later on during our ride.
But of course that wasn't nearly as interesting as being on a trail.
It is a multi-use area but today we saw only two women on horses, four hikers and one guy walking a bicycle.
On wide open trails like this it is easy to share the trail, you can see them coming!
And Tobe Mule's ears hear them long before a human perceives any presence.
He also never forgets any trail detail, so if we come to a spot where we have previously seen a deer he looks over there intently, remembering it quite as much as I do.
Tobe mule was tired, he stood very still!
I decided it would be a good place to take souvenir portraits of my companions.
Simply amazing that this dramatic landscape is 45 minutes above Santa Barbara and unknown to most.
A typical example of government foresight.
This sign is supposed to mark the divergence of the trail, above is the Aliso Loop, to the right the Aliso Canyon. Since no one thought about how it would be mounted on a pipe, it now says ALISO OOP and ALISO YN.
Worse yet, there is no notice that the canyon has a long section of shale that is extremely difficult, dangerous, and is preceded on both ends by a single track trail no more than 3' wide, quite difficult to turn an equine around on should you see that shale ahead and wisely decide to retreat.
Looking down we can see the rigs in the parking lot. Now WE are up where Tobe thought he saw something dangerous earlier in the day.
The pucker factor on a trail that narrow with a drop off is memorable.
"Don't listen to anyone else
Focus on your passion
Burn it with your glance
Become the Dinosaur."
- Ray Bradbury