Following the instructions we passed the base entrance, then followed along a long road that eventually went to dirt, and then out of nowhere a woman pulled up next to me and ascertained my destination from the mule trailer I was towing and said to follow her in.
Once there we picked up our maps, and the score sheet on which our poker hands would be tallied. I know nothing about poker, and left before the winning hands were announced, so I am guessing I didn't win anything. We won by being allowed to ride here!
So once we were all mounted up it was time to follow the pink ribbons and see what we would see.
The trail was nicely marked, and groups were spaced so far apart, that we had a good sense of adventure trying to keep on the alert for the glimpse of pink that led us forward.
As usual when Tobe sets the pace we went 2.2 mph. There were a lot of hills and ups and downs and we soldiered on through distracting grass and brambly thickets.
What the heck? I'm sure with Tobe's acute eyesight he could see these numerous mysterious buildings quite clearly, but we were both at a loss to guess their purpose.
Are we being observed in mighty telescopes, can they see me from that distance taking innocuous photographs of top secret horizon lines?....or are they scanning the stars and thinking about loftier pursuits?
We had enough to do making sure we were following the pink.
Here you see an example of the high-viz plastic tape that was attached with clothes pins to the trail at intervals guaranteed to help keep us on track.
It occurs to me that horses are dichromats and therefore see a reduced number of colors compared to humans, who are trichromats.
And the hot pink TRAIL UP sign doesn't impress him at all.
On May 13th 2022 there was a successful SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket Starlink launch that delivered 53 Starlink satellites into orbit to deliver high-speed internet service in rural and remote communities.This was the fourth SpaceX launch from Vandenberg this year. And yes, the photo of Tobe watching it at the front of the blog is a Photoshop trick. Don't believe everything you see!
The animals care most about the plant life too, but with edible intent.
Sometimes you just have to let the creatures snack. They are, after all, doing all the work of this expedition.So we found a shady place with some nice grass and let them take a break, giving the humans a chance to drink water also.
And then it was up another hill.
is this an innocent agricultural water tower, or the entrance to a labyrinth of underground surveillance facilities?
After that the trail turned and we moved in what seemed like an up-coast direction, through a forest of pines.
trees growing as one was sawed off to ground level.
Why oh why didn't I think to bring my binoculars? Some spy I'd make.
They were sitting in the shade across from this junk pile, which didn't even look like military surplus.
But we had to keep going, the chicken BBQ was calling.
Then we wandered apparently WAY TOO CLOSE and this alarm system started to make mule deterrent noises that were very effective.
I sortof expected a voice to come out of a loudspeaker with the military equivalent of "YOU ARE TOO CLOSE TO THE VEHICLE" but we didn't stick around to see how long before a human would appear.
If you ask me these downed power lines were the danger, and we went way around them. Only to stumble into what seemed like a very dangerous area indeed....
Which of course started me thinking again about subterranean facilities, fall out shelters, who knows what the heck goes on underground out here.
And it is with gratitude that we left this very special place.
##### PAT FISH #####
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