Monday, March 4, 2013

weather and trails, etc

This spring the weather in Northern California has been amazing. A few really cold days, but almost no rain, dry trails, great, right?

Not so much. While everything looks green right now, we are in some serious trouble. March didn't come "in like a lion", it was 70 degrees and blue skies. In December we had some massive storms, making the Sierra snowpack more than 125% of normal. And no rain since. Seriously. Northern California is shattering a record, and not a good one. The driest January/February in recorded history. Just under 2 inches of rain, when 17 is average. We are finally expecting some rain this week, I promise I won't complain. Much.

I have had a chance to do some exploring sans horse, going back to a park I hadn't been since I first got Major. Hidden Falls is a lovely park, that feels like Disneyland. Everything looks manicured. Every trail has lovely footing, all bridges are wide with handrails. I'm not used to that much civility on my trails!

two roads diverged in a wood...
pretty view (tiny distant horse has a great pasture!)

There is a lovely waterfall that you used to view just standing on a giant rock outcropping. Now for safety they put a deck and railing. It is a very pretty but kind-of dull place, and weekends it is packed with bikes and strollers.

Deadman Creek, different small waterfall (the large one is lovely)
the road home

And it only has 7 miles of trails, Not the best place to condition. But they will soon be adding more than 30 miles of trails on adjacent land, which would make the trip over there much more worthwhile. Maybe on a weekday, so we don't have to dodge so many strollers. And not so many people Major can try mugging for treats.

but it is lovely...
sidenote: The first time I took Major there was one of his very first actual outings. We went with friend B and Major’s buddy Friday. Trotting along, I soon realized Major didn’t quite know to stay on the trails like an experienced horse! We came around an inside banked corner, Friday kept going, Major just jumped up the bank and kept going straight up the hillside. It was pretty funny, I hadn’t TOLD him to turn, so he kept going. There was also a squirrel that kamikaze jumped over Friday’s head, interesting ride that day.

I also checked out a local quarry. Not a riding place, but just historical interest. I've lived in the area for more than 10 years, and haven't seen half the stuff practically in my own backyard. I think many of us are guilty of that. So I remedied the situation by taking SO and wandering around Griffith Quarry in Penryn.

evidence of the saw/chisel cuts slowly taken over by moss

piles of mossy granite boulders

There is a small museum with old tools, also telling of heyday of the area, the buildings that the Griffith Quarry granite was used (many in San Francisco) and then a small trail system. It is pretty sad how little is left: a big quarry pit, piles of granite, a few discarded cables and pulleys.

largest of the abandoned quarry pits

the quarry pit now just filled with water

Interesting but disappointing for history that more of the facilities didn't survive. I'm sure some were taken apart and used elsewhere The rest fell into disrepair. I do appreciate that about 100 years after it stopped being used, there is little human evidence left. It is slowly being consumed by moss and trees, only the large pit and unnaturally rectilinear stones will remain.

ferns fitting into cracks

quarry discards

All of this made me want to reread two books: The World Without Us was a book I really enjoyed that has stayed with me about how the earth will survive/recover if humans just vanished one day. Makes you feel pretty small. The other book is about someone small. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving has scenes involving a quarry. That I reread every year and it breaks my heart. Every time. You think I'd get over it!

Maybe with the rain coming I'll get some reading done. And research new places to scout for upcoming adventures.


  1. I love seeing pics of your trails. They are so different than ours here and seeing the moss and ferns is so cool.It's like you get to ride in an enchanted forest. Hope you get some rain soon! We just got snow last night...but like you, we need the moisture now so we don't burn up in July!

    1. Thanks! We actually have a part of the trail we call Enchanted Forest, a collection if rocks and trees, moss and ferns. You have some pretty amazing trails and views yourself, just different. We can all do a rain dance!