Sunday, February 23, 2020

2020/2/23 MeetUp & LPTR at La Misión de La Purísima Concepción de la Santísima Virgen María

A fine day to climb to the higher Burton Mesa area of La Misión de La Purísima Concepción de la Santísima Virgen María. From there we had a view of the entire Lompoc Valley.

We  started by walking up the central valley of the lower Mission acres, before going off onto the trails.                             Eventually we covered        6.31 miles in 2:20 hours.

The dirt access road still has the system of stone cisterns alongside that were used to bring water down from a spring to the main Mission buildings.
Today with the cheerful bright sunny day it was still eerie to see all the Spanish moss draping the trees.

                                                                This tree obviously scarred by fire had a ready made home for a small creature.
Our goal, visible on the upper horizon, was to angle on the access roads toward the tanks, and then return by a more circuitous route through the single-track trails.

The trails are overgrown, but we cheerfully bashed our way through them, knowing full well that we could be knocking ticks down on ourselves. 
I'm quite sure that after a couple of weeks just hanging around his paddock Tobe Mule is as happy as I am to be out in the landscape. 
And today he earned himself a lot of extra carrots taking us up to the top of the Mesa.

Once there I asked all the gals to line up their animals for souvenir photos. Always a nice memory to share.

Jamie Buse on Mosca the Thoroughbred

Jo Benko on JohnBoy Mule
Lisa Bullock on Shameless the Rocky Mountain Horse

Nancy Moore on Jugueton the Paso Fino

Stormy Knight on Pico the Performance Arabian
Bunnie Dunstone on Greter, 3/4 Arab and 1/4 Quarter Horse
Deborah Thorsen on Carbon Del Peru the Peruvian Paso
and of course
Pat Fish on Tobe the Rocky Mountain Mule

Then it was time to head down the trail towards the rigs and home.
Tobe and I followed a bit behind the group, letting their dust settle before we brought up the rear.
No rush. 
This landscape was once teeming with the padres and their congregants, the captured local Chumash Indians. Now only their ghosts remain, and we are free to explore the chaparral and the views.

" Stick to your dreams 
and determine that you're going to make them come true."
- Ronald Reagan

#####FIN### PAT FISH #######

Saturday, February 8, 2020

2020/2/8 MeetUp takes a Live Oak Stroll

The Horse and Mule Trail Riders in the 805 MeetUp took a lovely stroll, starting at the Live Oak Campground access to the trails around Lake Cachuma.

We were out for 2.5 hours and covered 5.44 miles. The day was bright and sunny, the animals were all happy to be out and about, and a good time was had by all.

Access to this wonderful resource costs $10 a day, or normal citizens $100 a year, us old ladies $50 a year, and they've recently dropped the annual pass fee for veterans to only $10!
The first order of business was to cross the Santa Ynez River. At this time of year it is shallow and scenic, and we left the parking area and entered into the wilderness.
The Google Earth map above showing our trail is presently quite inaccurate. It shows the lake as it looked during the recent great drought. This is a more presently accurate aerial photograph, with the lake returned to being a lake.

I started the MeetUp because I like to ride with people,
but truth be told
I'm never alone
when I'm with Tobe Mule!

As soon as we top the first ridge we look down onto the lake. Having watched it become a mud wallow over the past decade, it is a special joy to see it sparkling blue again.
So I chose it as the back drop to take portraits of the people who turned out for this ride.
Jamie Buse on Woody, the Quarter Horse Paint
Lisa Bullock on Shameless the Rocky Mountain Horse
Nancy Moore on Jugueton the Paso Fino
Bunnie Dunstone on Greter, 3/4 Arab and 1/4 Quarter Horse
Kathy McFarlane riding Cache and ponying Sansa, both Arabs
and of course Pat Fish on Tobe the Rocky Mountain Mule
From this point we dropped down into the plateau, and started to be on the lookout for wildlife. We were not disappointed! A small herd of deer made their disorganized panic display, running first one way and then the next, a fascinating sight for the equines.
There are several herds of wild bucking horses that graze in the area, today they stayed their distance away.

And then there was the small herd of cows that saw us and looked like they wanted to be told where to go.

We abdicated any responsibility for their movements and slowly they shuffled off.

A lot of the oak trees are struggling after so many years of little rain. Some are making a come-back, some are gone.
But even if they are bare silhouettes their stark beauty against the sky is lovely to see. Leaving the urban life behind, walking through nature at the 2mph pace of a 4 legged.
So here we all are, posing in a happy line-up, and then it was time to reverse course and start heading back to the rigs.
I appreciate that when I go out riding with people they listen for me calling out "Photo Op!" and wait while I line Tobe's ears up for a shot. It helps me make this blog, and preserve our shared memories.
I never tire of coming to this special place, where you can look North-East out across the mountain ranges and see a vast expanse with no humans in it. 45 minutes from the hustle and bustle of downtown Santa Barbara, today blanketed in a coastal fog so dense it almost felt like rain, and here we are, in the Land of Summer, walking on Centaur legs.
And as always credit is due my fine Tobe Mule, without whom this world would remain hidden from me.

As William Blake said:
"Great things are done when humans and mountains meet."

                    ######## Pat Fish ######FIN#######