By Lucky 777
An opportunity to explore one of the great historic ranches of Santa Barbara County.
The private ranches of Santa Barbara County are a hidden treasure, California as it has always been, sections of landscape preserved in their simple natural beauty.
By special arrangement, the Los Padres Trail Riders were granted permission to ride on the Chamberlin Ranch above Los Olivos on Cinco de Mayo.
We ambled the access roads and viewed the vistas from ridges, and a wonderful time was had by the 14 lucky riders. In 2.5 hours we traveled 6.67 miles, a leisurely pace and a very special privilege.
The bright day gave us perfect weather for a Saturday in nature.
The hillsides were covered with Valley Oak, Blue Oak, and Coastal Live Oak.
Many of these ancient giants were festooned with Spanish moss, adding to the sense that we were in a land that time forgot.
Indeed, there is no better way to spend a day than on the back of a fine mule in new territory.
I had never dreamed to be allowed to ride this famous ranch.
And what splendid sights we saw! On the horizon rose Figueroa Mountain and Grass Mountain, and close at hand the promise of tiny spring wildflowers alongside the trail rewarded the sharp and attentive eye.
And everywhere the oaks. Sacred to ancient Northern European cultures, they outlast human lifespans and present us with a silent meditation on strength and patience.
Not to say this was an especially quiet group, the 13 cowgirls and one stalwart fellow kept up a lively dialogue as we ambled along.
And there was much speculation when we found the mysterious Queen Mary II beached at an altitude of 1,403 feet.
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