This hawk or vulture is that tiny dot in the sky above. Reminding us we are just visitors here, and to travel with respect.
We are being observed.
I created this logo for the quickly organized equestrians who have united to persuade the Board of Supervisors and County Park Staff to keep the trails as they are. Stickers and shirts with this logo are available at my shop on Redbubble online. As of now the "project" that would have opened up the trails is delayed. We hope to stop it.
For up to date information or to assist this effort please contact the Santa Ynez Valley Riders who are coordinating the trails advocacy.
There is bright shiny new signage at the gate that gives access to the trail system, someone paid a lot of money for it. Unfortunately, tax dollars paid for them, and the sign on the left is on unsealed chip board.
Tobe Mule and I like to show off how well we coordinate as a team to open gates. These wonderful stock gates were a private donation, and are easy to open and close while mounted.
If, of course, you are a Mule Team!
Today we were joined by 7 members of the MeetUp. I started it because I no longer wanted to ride alone, and the result is that whenever I post a ride I want to do, a different congenial group of people opts to come along. Often Tobe and I lag behind, that way we feel like we are riding alone in nature but have the safety of being with a group.
Another gate gives access to another part of the trail system, and one by one we pass through.
At the top of this hill is the first view of the lake, and I often stop here to take souvenir portraits of my companions. Those who ride treasure photographs of themselves with their mounts, and I am happy to provide them as souvenirs of our days together.
Bunnie Dunstone on Greter 3/4 Arab 1/4 quarter horse
Jamie Buse on Mosca the thoroughbred
Maggie on Woody the paint quarterhorse
Lisa Starr on her paint
Deborah Thorsen on Carbone the Peruvian Paso
Barbara Winter on her Paso and Mr Winter on his Rocky
and of course
Pat Fish your humble scribe
on Tobe Mule
On my last few rides here I have been scattering California poppy seeds in areas such as this, and I did look today with a hope of possibly seeing some of them sprouting up after the recent rains. But, no sign of them yet.
So many of the oaks have suffered terribly in the droughts of the last few decades, they make beautiful silhouettes against the sky but it is sad to know that with no evidence of spring leaf buds this is another ancient giant we have lost.
The fence on the left is the Beehole Corral, and directly in front is a dip down into a creek bed I always think of as Gelding Gulch, because one day I surprised a large group of frisky geldings at play in the water there.
I wonder if everyone who rides here has silly names for the memorable twists and turns of the trails?
We had run into Ms Sherlock on the trail, and when we parted ways she took this view of us heading back.
Just like the mighty oaks, our days are numbered.
But the old timers say that days spent in the saddle are not subtracted from our allotted span.
When we got to the top of the steep trail cut into the chalk hill I asked to take it, a straight-away short cut back to base.
This gate is a difficult one, and Jamie graciously dismounted to open and close it for us.
The view is splendid, but the pitch is steep, and you can see the amount of erosion caused by the rains over the last 2 weeks.
Below is the Santa Ynez River, forming pools, not moving well enough to reach the lake, and the flat plateau above that is the Live Oak Camp, now almost never used except twice a year.
Back at the river's level, Tobe Mule is glad to know his day's work is done and he can get a drink of water and settle in with a bag of carrots while the humans have their lunch.
Another fine visit to our cherished favorite place to ride.
We will do our part to document it, support the effort to keep it reserved for equestrians, and encourage the Authorities to improve the camp and open it to overnight horse campers who would love the chance to travel here and explore, thus creating a revenue-producing attraction unique to California.
"...You may see me in the dust,
That shimmers in the half light
Or hear me in the whisper, of the grass so green and tall
Todavía estoy aquí I am still here
Todavía estoy aquí my soul is dancing in the moonlight
Oh I mingle with each grain of sand in the land that is my birthright
I am still here, todavía estoy aquí..."
The Vaquero Song by Dave Stamey
hear it here: The Vaquero Song