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Somewhere in the Mojave Desert, California, United States
Gazing into this abyss called Life and wondering.....what's next !?!!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Exploring Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Preserve...

Yesterday, my good friend, James, treated me to a new place to hike in. The late May day couldn't have been more perfect. Abundant sun. Cooling breezes. Vistas to every horizon. The sounds of happy birds and the wind rustling the dried, tall grasses and old oaks. We didn't cross the path of too many people on the trails but those we did were friendly and some enjoyed chatting up a bit. A great place to let your mind clear or enjoy time outside with friends and family. They even have horse and bike trails and areas to let Fido stretch his legs, too, though they keep those trails separate from the walking trails. A very well orchestrated preserve. Kudos to Riverside County for setting aside this little jewel of a place.

This 9000 acre preserve sits surrounded by citrus ranches and vineyards and suburban sprawl, but you wouldn't know once you are engaged on one of 36 miles of trails. It's a bit of a drive from me (about an hour and a half) but totally worth it. I am pretty sure I will frequent the hills of these ancient oaks, especially once it's too hot to trek out in my desert. Our trek of about 6-7 miles ended with a tailgate picnic of fresh fruit, olives, brie, and cool water. This is what Sunday afternoons are for....

Here is the link to this wonderful enclave of history and nature:

Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Preserve

At the trailhead, trekkers are greeted by this sign. I'd imagine early mornings or evenings/nights would be your best bet to encounter this elegant creature. At the Old Adobe, they had photos from a motion scensor camera that captured curious inhabitants. Mule deer, coyotes, a mountain lion, and an ocelot (I think...)! I was happy to see such healthy creatures peacefully sharing this space.
My friend, James, has walked the Camino in Spain a couple of times.
He says it feels and looks exactly like this on many parts of that walk.

With my lens smashed up against the window, a view into the Old Adobe - established in the late 1800's. A working ranch, typical of many that used to be part of the fabric of the Southern California landscape - before gated communities, industry, and strip malls took over....

One of many grand old oaks. They are HUGE. Trekkers must stay on the trails...otherwise, I would have been right on this one.  At the Old Adobe, a 400 year old oak shades the homestead. Magnificent.

Just over this ridge is the view from the next photo....
           Remnants of spring...................

The view from a bench on the boardwalk.  This is a Vernal Pool. Well, it can be. Now the result of a severe drought. When this pool is full, it is rich in waterfowl life.

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