Autumn at Rancho

by

Sunday, 27 September 2015

I haven’t been to Rancho San Antonio for a while — when I check my log, I find it was May! — so today seemed like a good time to have another go. As usual, I started by going out the PG&E trail to the top of Montebello, a bit more than 3000 feet of climb.

Met twenty kids going down Quarry trail, presumably having camped at Montebello last night. As sometimes happens, the ones in the pack were more or less asleep, not watching the trail, and quite prepared to run into me.

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As usual, great distant views from the top, but today my eye was caught by a small lizard on a nearby rock.

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Today I realized what’s different about this preserve, or at least much of this preserve: it’s a bay laurel forest! That’s unusual around here; leaves instead of duff on the ground, and leaves at and above eye level instead of far overhead. And it smells nice, too.

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There are two trail stubs leading off to Hidden Villa, and I always like to make the detour (an extra 3.2 miles, 900 feet of gain). I always forget to look for drinking water, but I was thinking of it today, and found a small sink off out of the way. In this country, water from a pipe, and especially water from a faucet, is safe to drink unless there is a sign stating otherwise. So I tanked up. Glad I did; the day turned muggy and I was down to the final droplets by the time I got back.

The picnic area was populated by several pavilions, lots of kids and a buffet meal. As I walked through, the official fairy made her appearance: flouncy dress, heavily made up, and baby talk in her voice. Barf!

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I returned via Hostel trail, where I found some unusual berries. No idea what they might be.

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More lizards, and quail that were surprisingly tame. Usually they run or fly if anyone gets within ten or fifteen feet, but these were busy enough collecting seeds that they didn’t care.

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Killer hike? Well, it was only 17.5 miles, but the 4100 vertical feet makes up for the shorter distance, so the answer is probably yes.

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One Response to “Autumn at Rancho”

  1. tom Cochrane Says:

    Dave that’s a strawberry gall on a Scrub oak. Yes it seems all the animals at RSA are used to all the people and won’t flee if you get close.

    Like

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