Monday, September 27, 2010

Point Reyes, Part 1, Ride to the Coast

Ten days ago we loaded up two horses and headed to Point Reyes, on the coast, north of San Francisco. Hot and dry at home, the weather predicted rain along the coast and coastal range for the weekend. There, on the windshield, our first raindrops since spring. The drive was nice and I was hoping that the rain wouldn't ruin our trip.

We arrived at the campground safe and sound, quickly set up camp, saddled up the horses and hit the trails with some friends who had been there for a few days already. It was very foggy and damp in the forest, so refreshing!

The trails were bordered by lush green trees, bushes and ferns. It smelled so good!

Back at camp, the horses are napping on the high-line. A group of our friends had been there for several days already. We all enjoyed a pot luck dinner and a surprise birthday cake for one gal. Jerry had made his delicious cherry cobbler which everyone always gobbles up. The group warned us about the persistent raccoons hanging about the campground, scavenging any bit of food left unsecured. One couple had stashed all of their food in coolers in the bed of their pickup truck the first night, only to find all of their food eaten or destroyed in the morning by those pesky coons.

We kept all of our food and horse feed locked up in the horse trailer. But in the morning we found raccoon prints all over the hood of our truck.

The second day was rainy enough for slickers, it was more of a fine mist and it was deliciously cool! We took an easy trail along the foot of the mountains, mostly flat, some wooded areas, and we had to ride through several cattle pastures with lots of momma cows and new baby calves. Not many pictures, my lens was wet and the pictures were awfully splotchy.

On the way back we stopped to watch this fella browse along the trail. Then he decided to mosey along ahead of us for quite a distance before he turned and disappeared into the thick underbrush.
After returning to camp, the others in our group packed up camp and went home. They all had previously ridden the trail over the mountains and to the coast before we arrived, it rained the day they rode to the beach.

We woke Monday to a beautiful day! After eating breakfast and packing our saddlebags with a lunch, we headed out. The trails are nice and well manicured, no dust, lots of green and even flowers still in bloom. So many wonderful trees, many of the large ones were Douglas Firs, and numerous Bay Laurel trees with that wonderful bay scent.

This is the view I had of Jerry and Cheyenne for most of the ride. Cheyenne was eager to be walking out at quite a clip while my mare and I were happy to quietly stroll along the paths.

We would catch up with the boys for some yummy green grassy snack breaks. But notice old Cheyenne, he is looking ahead wanting to be on the move again.

Some stretches of trail in this rain forest area were still wet and muddy, we did some slip sliding around on the steeper slopes. Lots of climbing uphill on the way to the ocean.

We loved these trails, cool wet and refreshing. Not humid at all. And No Dusty Trails!

to be continued.......

Friday, September 24, 2010

Point Reyes, California Part 2

The way was very well marked and there is a very large network of trails in this park. Hikers, bikers and equestrians with no motorized vehicles allowed. Many of the trails are for horses and bicycles only. We started at the Five Brooks Trail Head 6.0 miles ago and at this point it was 0.7 miles to get to Wildcat Camp on the beach.

The trail is drying out, the trees are further apart and the sunshine was streaming through.

We've reached the summit of our climb through the wet rain forest surroundings, and catch our first glimpse of the ocean. The narrow, slick-with-mud, steep trails were now behind us. I was giddy with anticipation......

We frequently dismount on rides to give the horses a break, especially on the steeper down hill trails. The horses seem to enjoy it and we get to stretch out our tired limbs and rest that part that sits on the hard leather seat. This was long, tough ride and we all appreciated the breaks.

Just zooming in on the coast ahead and below. My focus and settings aren't that great on the trails, most of the time it's get out the camera and shoot fast while my mare is walking along.

Cheyenne kept wanting to look out to sea, his mane blowing and his nostrils flaring. The blues were incredible but I haven't taken the time to adjust the color on this picture.

The remainder of the ride to the coast is along this two track dirt road. There is a camping site next to the beach that folks can hike into and the road is used by the Rangers to service the outhouses and check the campground daily. The road runs the entire way but it is a much more scenic route to ride or hike the trails.

Steep switch backs take us lower quickly. It is dry and windy, and the vegetation is completely different on this furthest west slope of these coastal mountains

Here we are, finally at sea level. It was lovely.

One last bit of narrow, steep path, just a few steps from the sand and the Pacific Ocean.

To be continued............

Point Reyes, California, Part 3, The Pacific Coast

We made it! Tracks tell that we weren't the first riders on the beach that afternoon.

Our destination, the Pacific Coast. The waves were high, the wind blowing and the roar of the surf constant. Both horses were on high alert.

First close-up look at the big noisy ocean.

Once she figured out the waves weren't attacking, she focused her attention on the globs of kelp littering the sand.

As we s l o w l y walked aong the beach, my mare kept watch between the waves, the kelp and the small rocks that tumbled down the cliffs beside us. Horses point their ears in the direction of their interest, her ears were spinning like little wind mills. I did not take bunches of pictures, there was the greater need to use all of my skill to keep my hot, red-headed, firecracker of a horse between my legs!

It was a great time.
I think I need to return to this sweet place.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Kid in the Country Part I or Preteen Driver's Ed

In the country, we teach kids how to drive young.

Give them a few years learning balance on a two wheeler and in trees. Once these skills are mastered....

Graduate to small engine operation, making it as rewarding as possible, maybe a small allowance.

Once the young person shows common sense and the desire to advance, a vehicle with a larger engine can be introduced. Once the trainee has mastered forward, reverse, turning both left and right and can avoid running over inappropriate objects.......

..... stick him on a small tractor. Teach him to operate a large, spinning auger and have him dig a bunch of huge post holes, under supervision of course.

Tease him a little by letting him ride along on the big tractor and assist with digging the neighbors out of the snow. (Snow we had, that we really weren't supposed to have, according to our realtor two years ago,.... ) moving on,

Let him ride along with my cowboy, in a back hoe, digging big holes in the dirt, ripping out tree stumps, creating much noise....

demonstrate the tremendous power of an engine.

get him excited and get that adrenalin pumping, make him crave driving!

Make him want to drive so desperately that he is willing and eager to operate the ranch tractor successfully weaving between many small trees.

All of this preparation and training, so that he eagerly starts up the tractor to pick up and dump loads of horse manure for his Nana (me).

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bull Pups

Just because I think they are cute and because you got to see them at their c-section, here they are again.

A reminder of how they looked in July at less than an hour old.

Here they are 8 weeks old, full of curiosity and wrinkles.

Watch out world, here they come!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


The previous post reminded me of a recent case at work, I'll share pictures knowing a few readers may be interested. Others won't enjoy, so Di, you may want to skip this one.

The bulbs these Lily sprouts emerged from, oddly resemble.........

The tumor sprouting from this cute guy's head! Am I right?
He is an older fellow and the owner was concerned about surgery at his age, but when the ugly mass grew large enough to droop over his eye and began to ooze, she agreed surgery was the best option.

The area was shaved and prepped for surgery.

The lump was successfully excised. opposed and sutured.

And this sweet old boy recovered rapidly and is doing quite well.
Good news, the tumor was benign, not malignant.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Summer Produce and Blooms

Darkness creeps in earlier, the night air is refreshingly cooler, rain is falling in the high country and the oak leaves are falling in our yard. Farewell summer, I'll miss you.

August is a hot, dry time here in California. The grass is 'golden' and thirsty.

The pastures lack green grass, our wild flowers are no longer in bloom, in the country our vehicles are dust covered.

In hot, dry, golden, thirsty month of August we witness the Resurrection Lily.

The stalks seem to grow as you watch.

Bright pink Lily blooms soon brighten the gardens.

One short month and the flowers fade away.

The final day of August was one of celebration. My peach crop was ready for harvest. Our second harvest here at the log cabin was 3x greater than last year's crop.

Tristan was eager to pick the ripe fruit while I documented our great success. I battled three major fruit tree diseases this spring, insects all summer, jay birds that ate every single ripe nectarine. One peach tree survived but bore no fruit, but this tiny little tree not only survived, she gifted us with ten wonderfully delicious peaches. Cool!

Peaches in crystal.

Geraniums have been blooming. Maybe no deer will sneak in to eat them this year.

The summer squash are growing well in some very entertaining shapes. Plenty of zucchini also.
Farewell to August but I am glad that September is here.
Our dusty trails are craving some rain......