Wednesday, August 26, 2015

detour: redwoods and sea

It was time for a small vacation. With family. Is it still a vacation? Turned out we all had a great time and didn't even get too sick of each other. We all (my parents, sister, and significant others) met up in Richardson Grove, a lovely campground in the redwoods.

apocalypse sun

It was really smoky from a nearby large series of lightning-caused fires. But we headed out on a small hike anyway, through redwoods and towering madrones, slippery leaves underfoot. Then proceeded to do what my family does best: sit back and read books in the campground! Then discuss books! Our favorite thing.

twisty tree, root or trunk?

along the trail

We did head down the the river, where Shamus the dog kept a close eye on all swimmers, needing to rescue them but not wanting to swim! There was just a trickle in the river, but the swimming hole was deep enough, even for crazy jumpers.

Shamus keeping an eye on things
swimming hole with crazy jumper: sister's SO!

I wanted to explore a bit more, so the next day dragged my Dad and the SO out the very long, twisty road to the beach. Shelter Cove is the southern end of what is known as the Lost Coast. No roads cross this section, the King Range looms 4,000 feet from the sea, and the hiking is along the steep beaches, watch the tides!

miles of empty beach
rocks and waves, doesn't get much better

lightning trapped in stone

But wow, hardly a soul on the beach, turquoise waters, fabulous rocks. This is not a play-in-the-sand beach, but the black rocks more than made up for lack of sandcastles. And I love the sound as the water retreats from the rocks, stones chasing each other down the beach, then repeat.

no sandcastles, just rock stacks

buried in rocks, warm and heavy!

me and Dad climbing whatever is around

Other trails also beckoned, and though they were not long, they were lovely, though terribly dry. The trails have oaks, then redwoods, then madrones, and cross once-flowing streams, with hardly a sight of the sky from below the thick canopy of trees.

redwood mystery

Kauffman Spring, no water here

only water on trail was in the water tower

that's one way to mark a trail!

left behind

The best part of camp was sharing great food, and gathering around the fire, stories old and new, a silly game of Cards Against Humanity, and just getting away from it all. Except family. You can't escape them, and that's an excellent vacation.

Mom was the chef: amazing kebabs

and we all gather 'round

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

summer fridays

All summer I have Friday off of work, so that means a free day for adventures. And you never know what you might find…

creepy naked staring baby doll, some kid is heartbroken, or really glad they lost it!

Like a naked lost baby doll? I found this at Empire Mine, the last Friday off of the summer. These are lovely, wide, shaded, well-maintained trails, 14 miles worth, though many only .2 and .4 miles long, with lots of little loops and spurs. We crossed the road to a larger area, with more nice trails, great for a day of casual riding, not much of a training area.

not too difficult!

some type of old mining building

pretty bridge

Major wonders why we are stopping for yet another pile of mine tailings?

best buddies (right before Major smeared his messy face all over Friday)

I love Empire Mine for the historical building and mining equipment (see photos from September 2013), the beautiful rose garden, none of which you can access on horses. So I'll go back for that!

There were many other Friday adventures, with and without horses. I saw fun things and ate fair food (can't leave without a funnel cake) at both the State Fair and local fair.
local fair mule racing

Zoltar is just awesome, anyone else love "Big" the movie?

I had lots of water and swimming time, including my favorite Yuba River swimming hole, Sierra lakes, and a fabulous, nearly empty, black sand beach.

Lion Head rock

Culbertson Lake

black sand beach

Major explored the oddly-maintained ("I see dead people" weirdly-stacked wood) at Hidden Falls, and showed Friday (the horse) the correct way to utilize the water trough. And how to clean up your trailer messes at the end of a ride…

weird, just weird

no, splash THIS way!

rice bran was harmed in the making of this mash

There were local explorations on hot summer evenings and views of dwindling lakes.
inspiration point lookout

sacrifice rock on a muggy evening

canyon view

And now free Summer Fridays are over. It is a little darker earlier every evening, but Summer is not over: moonlight rides are calling, cooler evening rides beckon…get out and play while you can…

Thursday, August 13, 2015

lovely, burned

Some might remember this pretty view from the Cache Creek endurance ride this spring:

Sadly, the Rocky fire trampled through here in the last couple weeks, leaving 69,000 charred acres. I drove through the area when the highway reopened, coming back from a short vacation. I thought I'd be ok, fire is such a fact of life here. 

But pulling into the camp area, fire crews still looking for hot spots, brought tears. I know those trails. I've ridden to that camp, that vet check, over that hill. 

Grasses and wildflowers will recover quickly, the forest will take longer. I will hope that the fire went through so fast that it did less tree damage, but only time will tell. There may be pristine pockets saved by firefighters and the whim of the wind that day. 

I'm looking at my trails a little more carefully right now. Taking more mental pictures, remembering. Just in case.