We took a ride with Los Padres Trail Riders to see how it is looking these days.
At the beginning of the eucalyptus forest we are glad to tuck into the trails that take you through nature, away from the world of cement and close-packed housing surrounding it.
The eucalyptus have an allelopathic effect on other plants, so the understory is often covered with no other species, just their own shed off bark and leaves.
Some people dislike them because they are not native. I like them for their beauty, scent, and because they are a home for the monarch butterflies.
These strange cement structures line the path, an inconvenient opportunity for graffiti.
TobeMule's ears are in the back position, indicating he's not happy about what it is he is looking at.
I couldn't read the graffiti either.
Another cement whatever, and above a splash of red in the leaves on the eucalyptus branch.
Palm trees in the distance in the housing area.
Wonderful that neighborhood kids have this free space to explore and play in.
Here we are all spread out on the trail, with Terry pedaling along in the lead.
Equines really are hard-wired to dislike any predatory behavior, so having the bicycle out in front removes their fear of something rushing up on them.
We began to see lots of detritus under the trees on either side of the trail, many sawed off branches and trunks just left where they fell.
Interestingly, the very next day I read on EdHat that a large sum of money has been allocated to clean up the fire hazard this dead wood represents.
Clearly this needs to be done!
Much as I am in favor of leaving things natural, I say get some draft mules in here and drag out the dead logs before some "unhoused neighbor' decides to set up an "encampment" and set the whole thing ablaze, burning up the butterfly preserve and the Ellwood Shores housing development.
There are currently gates that prevent automobiles from sneaking in, but which could be opened for emergency personnel.
At this point it is a nicely maintained dirt path, wide enough for hikers, bike riders, equestrians all to share and pass each other with a nod and a smile.
But with Government funding will they turn this into some sort of Class X Bike Path and defeat the purpose of inviting people to take a slow walk in a natural place?
Tobe and I look wistfully at this inviting bit of trail that would take us toward the beach.......
but it is off limits to equines.
In years past I have often come here to see the miracle of the monarchs.
They are struggling now, but we can hope things will turn around for them and once again people can see the trees covered in living jewels and fluttering in the warm still air between the trees.
Then we turn the corner, and tread our way past the Sandpiper Golf Club. To see amazing drone footage showing the course click HERE.
On February 23, 1942 the Imperial Japanese Navy's submarine I-17 surfaced and shelled the oil refinery at the Sandpiper site.
The championship golf course at Sandpiper has been rated by Golf Digest in the top twenty-five public golf courses in California and top 100 public courses in the Country. The course measures over 7,000 yards.
And next we met well-mannered people with a well-trained dog who stepped off the trail for our little parade to pass safely by.
We so appreciate it!
And finally we can see the sea.
Of course the air is clean and invigorating with negative ions. Negative ions, a name given to a small molecule that’s gained a negative electrical charge, are found in extremely high concentrations near the ocean. These molecules are microscopic and can not only pass through our skin cells but also through our lungs via the air we breathe.
The beach, in particular, can have as much as 2000 negative ions per cubic centimeter as opposed to a crowded city that may have less than 100.
Studies have shown that negative ions possess not only an anti-microbial effect but also a mood-stabilizing one. Research seems to indicate that negative ions can influence seratonin levels in your brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that may have role in mood disorders ranging from depression to seasonal affective disorder.
Oh look, over there on the right, a pipe showing where a bit of cliff has fallen away! Yikes! We will stick to the inner trail, thank you.
On this stretch we ran into lots of dog people.
A very happy place for all animals!
But now it was time to turn inland and go back to the rigs.
Tobe is of the "look both ways before crossing" sort, so he keeps a wary eye in all directions and listens intently.
Surely this eroded zone has its own name? It should !
But soon our path winds back through a short part of the eucalyptus forest ....
And past this new housing development which has all sprung up since the last time I rode out here. So sorry to see open space converted to housing, but that's the way of it.
We will continue in our celebration of the wild, whenever and wherever we can find it.