Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Come on a Winter Ride


by Laura Crum

I really love looking at everybody’s trail ride photos. All those ear pictures! All the different places, some so unlike where I live. It may be my favorite part of reading horse blogs. Every time I see ear photos I feel as if I’m going on a ride with the blogger. So here’s a winter ride for you guys. A short pleasant ride along my local trails here in the hills by California’s Monterey Bay. My regular “go to” ride. Nothing too spectacular, nothing too difficult. Come with Sunny and me through the redwood forest, across the creek, and up to the top of the hill to see the view. The whole ride takes a little less than two hours. (I am no endurance rider!) Pretty much the entire thing takes place on singletrack dirt trail that is seldom used. We rarely see other riders and hikers—maybe one ride out of half a dozen we meet someone. Its pretty solitary. Very barefoot friendly (Sunny is barefoot). So here we go.

Off through the redwood forest. Its pretty dark down here under the big trees. The temp is in the 60’s, so its not too chilly. I’m wearing a light vest and I’m comfortable. Sunny is wearing his winter coat—as you can see by his fuzzy ears. You can also see lots of downed limbs from a recent winter wind storm.

Now we are going down to the creek. Passing between two big redwoods—you can see the creek in the bottom of the gully (its pretty low right now, due to a dry winter) and the trail going up the other side.

Headed uphill through the forest. Light ahead. Some of my photos are a little blurry—sorry. I have not yet mastered taking sharp “ear photos” from a moving horse, and all of these were taken as we marched down the trail.

Still going uphill. Its getting misty as we get closer to the ocean. Right about here I saw a deer, but was not quick enough to get her photo. We see many wild animals on these rides. Deer, bobcats, coyotes, foxes. Not to mention squirrels and rabbits and all the little guys of the woods. Fortunately Sunny is not bothered by such critters, even if they emerge suddenly from the underbrush. We have the same assortment of wild animals at home, so he sees them regularly.

Getting near the top of the hill. Things are opening up. We’re almost at the place we call “the Lookout”.

Now we’re there. Its very misty today out over the ocean. Not much view to see.

But since we are here on the computer, rather than riding in real life, I can show you the view on another winter day. Here’s the same view on a clear day last January. That’s the Monterey Bay and Santa Cruz in the distance.

OK, now we’re headed home. Taking a different way back, through more open scrubby country, populated by oaks rather than redwoods. Tired of the deep shade under the big trees. This is a stretch where we often trot or lope, so I’m putting the camera away. (You'll just have to imagine us loping along--which we did--my skills are not up to making videos yet.)

Hope you enjoyed the brief winter tour of my local trails. We’ve had a mild winter and I’ve been able to ride a lot. As you can see, the trails have been dry. Around here, winter is the green grass season. The grass will be bleached gold in the late spring and summer, and brown by autumn.

I can access these trails by riding right out my front gate, so this is one of my regular rides. Its been featured in several of my novels, including "Barnstorming", due out this spring. If you read the book, you'll be able to picture the trails pretty well, after reading this post.

Its always so much fun for me to see the country that others ride through-- I thought I’d return the favor. Now we’re ready for a glass of whisky by the fire, after our pleasant winter ride.

Cheers--Laura

24 comments:

Funder said...

Oh, what a beautiful place you live! Great ear-shots. I agree, those are the best pictures. Really looking forward to riding in some redwoods this summer!

Laura Crum said...

Funder--Riding in the redwoods is absolutely GREAT on a warm day. But riding on week days in the winter is nice because there's no one else out on the trails (almost). You could come down and ride with me once you are in the Bay Area, but I would be unable to stay within shouting distance of Dixie. Still, I could point you on some fun rides...and then we could have the glass of whisky later (after you'd waited for me to come traipsing in at my own relaxed pace). Actually, in the summer, I'd rather go for a margarita. Whisky is for winter (!)

Terri Rocovich said...

Laura, you live in paradise! I want to come for a visit and a trail ride. Maybe someday. Great post.

Laura Crum said...

Terri--I am lucky to have these trails, I know. Course I didn't include photos of the very narrow twisty parts where I have to duck for low (and solid) overhanging limbs and dodge tree trunks that lean into the trail on the steep sidehill. I'm just too busy there to take photos (!) So though most of the ride is easy and pleasant, there are some tricky spots. If you ever come up north, be sure and get in touch.

Linda said...

Thanks for the ride! I love in-between-the-ear photos, too. I used to take many...and will again soon, hopefully. The whiskey by the fire is just my sort of thing, as well. Where did you get that table??

Mikey said...

Yep, that is a paradise for sure. Beautiful trails and gorgeous overlook!

Kate said...

Thanks for the virtual trail ride - I love those too.

whitehorsepilgrim said...

That is a pretty trail. You are fortunate that it hasn't been damaged by motor vehicles. It does look reasonably well used by people on foot or riding. My favourite single track trail had plenty of low branches too, however these were cut back by the authorities as they had a responsibility to maintain that section.

Curiously I have seen a single track trail leading up to a viewpoint in dreams. (Next time I shall look out for another rider - it might be you!) There seems to be something deep and ancient in that imagery if the unconscious throws it up.

Laura Crum said...

Oh Linda--You have a discerning eye. That table is very unusual. My grandfather ran an army base in Papua New Guinea in WWII. The table came from some native tribesman who were still living their traditional lifestyle at that time. Its all hand carved--the wood feels like stone to the touch--very hard. I suppose it belongs in a museum, but I love it and its staying with me.

Mikey--I like it here. But I like the desert, too. Two different kinds of beauty.

Kate--I love the virtual trail rides others post, so thought I'd return the favor.

White Horse Pilgrim--Yes, hikers and horsemen do use these trails. Not a lot of them, but I do see others occasionally, and I see their footprints. That particular viewpoint that I call the "Lookout" is very special. I don't know why. It has a powerful feeling when you're there. I've included it in several of my novels and it has a starring role in the one that comes out this spring (Barnstorming).

redhorse said...

That sure doesn't look like the winter scenes around me. I think I'd love it. Love the fireplace and old table as well.

Laura Crum said...

redhorse--I do love where I live. Thanks for appreciating the details.

Martine said...

Love it! Thanks for sharing! Now I can't wait to get back in the saddle and start sharing our trail pictures as well :-)

Laura Crum said...

Martine--You are in France, correct? I can't wait to see your trail ride photos! I had a lovely time wandering through French country villages (by car, not horse, sadly) about twelve years ago and have longed to go back ever since. Thanks for the comment.

Dreaming said...

What fun! The next time I take a trail ride, I'll take everyone along! The between-the-ear shots are great!

Dreaming said...

What fun! The next time I take a trail ride, I'll take everyone along! The between-the-ear shots are great!

Dreaming said...

What fun! The next time I take a trail ride, I'll take everyone along! The between-the-ear shots are great!

Dreaming said...

What fun! The next time I take a trail ride, I'll take everyone along! The between-the-ear shots are great!

Francesca Prescott said...

Fun blog, Laura! I wrote something similar a few years ago about a moonlight ride in Ibiza, during promo for my romantic comedy.

I'd like to write something like this again when the weather improves around here, but I'm not sure I'll be able to take photos while riding Qrac; I'm bound to drop my phone! But then again, maybe I won't and you'll be able to admire the Swiss countryside. But I'll definitely have to wait until the weather improves as right now it might be a beautiful snowy paradise, but it's far too slippery to venture out. And when the snow melts it will be a muddy mess...but April showers bring spring flowers, and that should photograph well:)

One day I'm going to come over to visit and go riding with you :). I want to go and stay at The Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur...but I guess I'd better seriously start saving up if I want to do that!!!!! Do you know it? Looks gorgeous. Does Margaritaville in Capitola still exist? Just wondering...fond memories!!!

Laura Crum said...

Francesca--Oh yes, Margaritaville still exists! I can tell you've definitely hung out around here if you know Margaritaville. But we make much better margaritas here at my casa--trust me on that one. You will have to come visit.

I have been told about the Post Ranch Inn, and I have actually driven up to its front gate--out of curiosity--but its a little too pricey and upscale for me. Big Sur is great fun, though.

We're off to go ride on the beach this afternoon. Wish you could join us.

Laura Crum said...

And Dreaming and Francesca--Please do take us all with you on your next trail ride. These virtual rides are great fun.

AareneX said...

Ahhhhhh! Thank you, Laura, I needed some "ear-shots"! Sunny has nice fuzzy ears, too. >g<

Heidi the Hick said...

It's been way too long since my last trail ride. I miss it! There are just way too many tractor-trailers on the road between me and the next dirt road, and we can't ride through the crop field anymore to get there.

But this is cool. Beautiful scenery, and he has such cute ears!

Laura Crum said...

Aarene--I love your shots of Fiddle's ears, too.

Heidi--I, too, am afraid to ride along the side of roads, even though my horses are good with traffic. I have to cross a busy road to get to the trails in the post (its right at the end of the little road I live on, but its a straight crossing, which my nerves can stand (barely). Standing on the shoulder while the logging trucks, busses...etc whiz by at 50 miles an hour really bugs me, even though it doesn't seem to bug the horses. Anyway, I hope you have a chance to get out on the trails when your weather gets nice. Take some ear photos for the rest of us (!)

Alison said...

Thanks for the virtual trail ride. 'Winter' in CA looks a lot different than winter here in VA where there is no green except for winter wheat.
I've mentioned it before, but I am totally jealous of your trails!