Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Mudstone Ranch - No Turkeys

 Waxing Gibbous Moon

Yesterday I really wanted to go to the beach. I didn't go, mainly because COVID-fricken-19 is out of control in Monterey and Salinas and I figured traffic would be O.O.C. as well. But I wanted a change of scenery and a bit more of a challenge than my usual walks around San Juan Bautista, so I decided to go to Mudstone Ranch. 

Mudstone Ranch is only about ten miles from here, part of the Hollister Hills Off Road Vehicle State Park, a rolling piece of grazing land set aside for hikers and mountain bikers and equestrians as a buffer zone between the noisy dirt bikes and the burgeoning suburbs of Hollister, CA. I only hike there in the shoulder seasons due to the blasting heat exposure in summer and wet, slippery trails in winter. Yesterday's conditions were perfect and I enjoyed a hardy two-hour hike featuring steady climbs and beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. On the Razorback, AMME Connector, and Roadrunner Trails, I was the only bipedal creature, alone with my thoughts and working up a fine Tuesday sweat.

On the Razorback Trail, you climb pretty quickly up a drainage into oak and buckeye forests and the breeze picks up, lending a little chill to the air. I was glad to be wearing my vest up there, zipping it up to keep my core warm. The trail here is shady and the tread is smooth. 

Toward the top, before the Razorback Trail ends and the AMME Connector begins, the views east and north are outstanding. It's good to stop and catch your breath, be still and look for wild critters. I didn't see any turkeys. Maybe they know better than to show themselves this week.

I spotted a couple of alert mule deer at the crest. They were giving me wary attention before they hightailed it west toward the trees on the AMME. 

I think the AMME Connector is my favorite part of this hike. It's short, but woodsy and full of side trails with deer prints and acorns. It doesn't last long, though, taking you to a cow trough with some very healthy algae and a picnic table with long views down into the Hollister area. 

If I was so inclined, and equipped with a lunch and water, I could have headed out on the Glen Loop Trail, adding four or five more miles to the day, but I was already hungry by that time, so I settled for a return to the parking lot via the Roadrunner Trail, completing a healthy six mile loop, which seems to be about par for my daily course right now. The cows were not impressed. Generally speaking, cows do not see the value of hiking longer distances than those required to eat more grass or wash it down with some algae water. To each his, her, or its own.

Peace, Love, and Gobble Gobble,

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.