Being outdoors

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Sunday, 7 September 2014

In the old days, you never saw horse bandits. Nowadays all the fashionable horses wear masks during fly season. Good idea.

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The horses were just across the fence at Rancho San Antonio, where I also discovered the Anza Knoll, below.

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One of the open space volunteers is looking for photos and GPS coordinates of all the major monuments and memorials around the open space property, so I sent this to her, along with a few other shots.

On Saturday, Jacky and I volunteered to go after stinkwort at Rancho. There were a dozen of us, more or less, and we cleared a goodly section, and left behind far more. Well, we do what we can.

I started Sunday by going to  La Honda Creek open space preserve. It’s about two miles down impossibly narrow roads, vertical up on one side, vertical down on the other, blind curves, and you really hope you don’t meet anyone. Which I didn’t.

I had the combination to the lock on the gate. This preserve is only open by permit, but it’s easy to get a permit, especially if you’re a volunteer. So I hiked all 3.7 miles of trails here; the GPS says I put in 6.1 miles. Not quite two to one, but there wasn’t a great deal of backtracking in the simple layout of these few trails.

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The view from the vista point, in theory a terrific overlook of the entire coastal plain and well out to sea. Well, maybe later on.

I saw a flock of a dozen wild turkeys in the grasslands. Almost immediately, near the forest, I then found a large collection of turkey feathers. There was something large in the forest, something I didn’t see. Turkey dinner for the mountain lion, maybe?

Following which, I went to El Corte de Madera open space preserve, right next door, so to speak. It has 36 miles of trail, so it will take me a while to hike all of them, two or three more visits.

The terrain is also very steep, and it’s mountain bike heaven.  I don’t mind steep; it’s a challenge, but it’s stressful watching for mountain bikies who may come screaming down that blind curve on the narrow single-track in front of me. Even though most bikies are pretty civilized, it’s necessary to be watchful. Speaking of civilized… one bikie gave me enough room as he passed me on the single-track that his wheel slipped into the soft stuff at the side of the trail and he crashed. Thanks for being nice, friend, but you didn’t have to be that nice.

Mostly beautiful scenery, mostly in the forest, mostly cool, but my skin still leaks a lot. Even so, I had more than enough water, for once, and felt good all the way back to the parking lot, where I staggered in about 4:30. Total for the day: 20.1 miles, 4700 vertical feet.

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