Saturday, January 18, 2020

2020/1/18 Pure Purisima MeetUp & SYVR

A lucky seven group of riders invited by the MeetUp and the Santa Ynez Valley Riders convened at La Purisima Mission in Lompoc, CA, to take a stroll through the Mission grounds. Once one of the chain of California Missions established by Fra Junipero Serra in 1787, it is now a beautifully restored educational center and a fine place to ride.

Recent rains made this a good choice, the land is very sandy. We were on the trail for exactly 2 hours and covered 5.59 miles. The average walking speed was 2.8mph, but a few times I asked the Trail Boss's permission to rack Tobe on ahead and the GPS monitor said he was going 6mph. That's a land speed record for Tobe Mule!

When I went to fetch Tobe Mule his paddock was filled with a bumper crop of psychedelic psilocybin mushrooms.
What kid of trail ride would this  be?

Fortunately he seemed like his usual self, not psychedelicized, and ready to be my trusty Centaurian lower half and carry me into the wilds.

The ride started with a pep talk by La Presidenta of the SYVR, giving us the common sense rules of the trail, and then we headed off to climb up to the water tanks and see the view.
We were ready!
We started the trail at the interpretive center, which seeks to educate visitors about the culture and history of the native Chumash Indians and their experiences here with the Mission Fathers.

 Equines are not welcome within the grounds of the restored Mission, so we headed up the valley.

There are quite a few of the original buildings still in place, in different states of restoration.

Pretty soon it started to feel like a Drivers' Ed training movie,  with obstacles like baby strollers, bicyclists, maintenence crews in jeeps, bicyclists and joggers darting into our path. Mule keeps it cool.

The central valley of the property is edged with irrigation channels, and I believe was where the assembled congregants grew their crops.

 Sometimes I like to let things remain a mystery, so I have never asked what this monolith is a remnant of.

The higher we climbed to the Mesa above the valley the more we saw evidence of fires that have burned through here in recent years.

 and whether you call them chemtrails or contrails, the sky above was filled with them. Vandenburg AFB is very close by, so these could have been the sky tracks of jets soon to be part of the Space Force.

The landscape was the typical spring lushness of coastal sage chaparral, but the artistic forms of bleached bones manzanita rose above the greenery.

And the eerie look of Spanish Moss draped over the trees camouflaged burn scars.

Finally we could see our goal above, massive blue-green water tanks on the Mesa.

Tobe and I gaited on ahead to  be able to turn around and catch this snapshot of the group ascending the hill.

Then, dagnabbit, he almost broke his ears! Those vital echo-locating mechanisms must be kept in the alert and ready position!

 But it wasn't his ears that alerted to these coyote tracks in the soft sandy dirt, it was his superior sense of smell.

Finally we made it to the top of the hill,
and I took portraits of all the riders.

Hooray for technology that brings people together for such a nice excursion, and for blogging which gives me a way to share these pleasant equine adventures.

And most of all thanks to my Tobe Mule, whose companionship makes these escapes from the urban world possible.


                         ****PATFISH *******FIN*******