But once we crossed it and started up the trail the amount of repair work still in progress was quite obvious. This is the main access to the trail system, and a deep drainage ditch has been dug all along the length of it. There is a spring here, so new pipe will be laid to channel off the water coming off the hillside and run it down to a trough by the catch pens below.
No worries for a mule or horse, but these former ranch roads are always meant to be kept open for access by fire and emergency vehicles. Right now it is a very rocky path about two feet wide, and with a three foot deep ditch on the one side and a steep drop off into the trees on the other. Maybe a 4x4 could traverse it but not a car. During drought years it hadn't mattered much that the pipe directing the water had been broken, but time to fix it now. On we went !Sesenta Años XP Ride was happening.
With ambitious folly I rode the 25 mile NATRAC endurance ride on the San Fernando Rey twelve years ago. Tobe mule was up to it, sailing through the periodic vet checks easily, but it remains the longest ride ever for me. And as I recall the last 5 miles or so I was standing up in the saddle with butt burn.
The live oak trees, Quercus agrifolia, are the index species for these lands. Some hundreds of years old, they see humans come and go, and remain survivors.
Looking over the edge on the right we could see a wide expanse of water where in previous years we saw only a creek at the bottom of a canyon.
The drop-off doesn't look so bad?
But at this point we got a text from the Feldmen who announced they were not coming up behind us. They opted to save the thrill of this particular trail obstacle for another day, so I asked Jamie and Noe to turn around so we could all ride back together.
Not that Tobe is afraid of cows, .... it is just like the Bukowski quote:
"I don't hate people, I just feel better when they're not around."
What is that steer doing here, anyway?
And to add to the puzzle, when we had un-tacked and were all enjoying a bit of lunch along came two of the bucking horses that live on the property, and stood by the gate as if waiting for us to let them come over and share a snack, possibly come home with us.
MORE evidence of gates left open!
And so we did....... until next time.
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