Tuesday, December 17, 2019
It is a special joy to be able to ride on the edge of the continent. The smells and sounds of the sea strand are unlike any other place, and the wave-swept air is refreshing and bracing.
Today, it was a very brief ride, only 2.82 miles in 90 minutes, but it was a parade!
Every week the owner of one of the Vanners does this route as a California State Parks Volunteer.
Her job is to look for illegal campsites or piles of trash, and report them to the Rangers who will come out and roust the hobos and send them on their way.
The diversity of flora is astonishing, from a variety of native grasses and bushes to the invasive and beautiful ice plant.
From the ocean it looks like sand dunes, but from the inland side there are hills and trails that are bordered by dense vegetation.
And then there are the sorry piles of trash, evidence of human attempts at habitation. The red bra looked like it had a story to tell!
In some of the more sheltered areas are tall Monterey Cypress trees, and while we only saw birds there are certainly many species of rodents and small mammals calling these dunes home.
And here is the whole crew. You can easily tell that the Gypsies are celebrities, they face the camera with a smile, ambassadors for their breed. But both of the brown Quarter Horses were like kids on a school field trip, being a bit obstreperous. Tobe flops a skeptical ear.
Tobe Mule was his usual steady self, but being a Kentucky Mule he's never quite reconciled to this giant lake with the unnatural movement.
In fact, once down on the sand he was determined NEVER to get his feet wet.
I was not in a mood to force the issue, now was not the time to ask for more from him.
Enough that he is my Centaur legs.
“The human has to have confidence in himself. And lots of people don’t have the confidence. And the reason they don’t have it is that they don’t have the experience." - Ray Hunt, Horseman
Saturday, December 14, 2019
The Weather App predicted a blustery wind warning, but we were not to be deterred.
Traveling up highway 101 from Santa Barbara I saw a flying fish cloud in the sky
and knew it was a sign I was on my way to an adventure.
A dozen people met up in Nipomo to stroll around the manicured trails that cross through the housing areas and then to venture forth out onto the upper undeveloped edge of the Nipomo Mesa.
We traveled 8.92 miles in 2:44 hours.
Tobe Mule and I were glad to be followers today, I could just sit back and enjoy being escorted. Being only my 4th ride in a year, I'm happy to go anywhere as long as I am riding!
So excited, my hair was on fire!
The sandy paths are well maintained, and frequently ridden by community members.
Three Mules, a Gypsy Vanner, an Arabian, a Rocky Mountain, some Quarter Horses and two Mustangs.
Friends old and new, taking a walk on their various animals, safety in numbers and good companionship all around.
I especially enjoy riding through the 100-year-old stands of eucalyptus.
They are really working hard to designate areas for equestrians, walkers, and bicyclists.
At corners where trails and streets meet the signage and fencing is well done.
It is very calming to be able to access dedicated equestrian pathways, knowing that cars and bicycles are not a hazard to anticipate.
I like my shadow; it reminds me that I exist.
"No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle."