Thursday, November 17, 2011

West Ridge Trail: Cronan Ranch Regional Trails Park

Thursday, November 17th.

I'll confess. My fat fingers deleted my lovely original post. So this is Even Better, I'm sure.

I could walk for hours. Many more hours than I have or care to use. Cronan Ranch is large.

I stuck to the western edge today.

Since this is former ranch land, it is pretty open. I wonder how another 25 years of not being grazed will change this park? Looking outside of the park at hills that are still being grazed, the hills are much greener. I imagine the cattle eat most of the scrub that would obscure the green grass. Or maybe they stomp it flat.

The trails here are well used, sometimes pounded into fine red dust, as wide as a car's treads, other times lumpy singletrack decorated with horse droppings.

Oh yeah. That's right.

So much for all the "please clean up after your horses" signs. I did see one set shoveling manure in the parking lot. Hurrah.

The West Ridge Trail climbs up from very near the parking lot. You get to watch your car get smaller and smaller and smaller, until eventually the parking lot looks like this.

On a previous trip, my friend and I detoured to the West Ravine Trail, which is right next to current cow pasture. Today I could hear a cowbell clanging away.

You think you are at the top of a hill, and you see more hill ahead.

But the views are worth it.

This is a true multi-use trail: bikes, equestrians, and even other crazy midweek walkers.

Sometimes it is hard to grasp the scale of the landscape in the foothills, especially when you can see range after range of hills, disappearing into the haze.

People provide a useful perspective. Can you find the person in the photo below?

Here's a closeup. Look for the little black dot on the road, nearly in the center of the picture.

If you get tired of views and hills, take a break at one of several well-placed picnic tables.

 Stop looking around and look down and you might see one of these fellows. A Gopher snake, I think. I also saw an Oak Titmouse, but was not quick enough to get a picture.

I'll return to Cronan Ranch several times this winter and early spring, to show off more of the many miles of trails here.

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