Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Curiosities and Loose Ends: Sierra Madre Ridge

Last weekend was a good one for me. A lot of the time was devoted to the hunt for rock art, but while driving, hiking, and biking here and there I took some time out for some of the sights along the fantastic Sierra Madre Ridge. The most memorable part of the day came in the form of wildlife sightings. It was an "animal rich" day. Here's the tally: doves, quail, red tail hawks, horned owls (2), a roadrunner perched atop a manzanita bush (not sure what that was about), deer (6 (including mama and two fawns), Bobcats (3 (one cat ran across a field in front of me and the other two I saw at sunset on the ride out to McPherson Peak), and of course it is becoming absurdly common for me to see a bear while out and about. This big blonde/brown guy got startled out of what was probably a nice nap in a drainage a few feet to my right. He got some clearance between us before pausing for a quick look back at me, then fled the scene. I just have to say that I've had too many of these encounters lately, and every time I see a bear I am totally astonished by their size, stealth and speed. Amazing animals. Seen enough bears though. Really.

Carrying on, in the following photos you'll see some general scenery shots from the day and also some photos of an old US Navy WWII observation post. This structure was originally located high on Sierra Madre Ridge and after the war the Navy let a rancher relocate the post down a hill and next to a spring. At that point the OP became a ranching line shack with an interesting roofline. This building's twin was constructed on Caliente Mountain across the Cuyama Valley. Sadly, that structure has recently been reclaimed by gravity and the elements, but this little slice of history remains with us, just don't mind the cows.
I saw a bunch of stuff that day that I just didn't have the time to explore, but I'll be back for sure.

Cool rock formations can be found in the big portreros along the ridge.

A view into Lion Canyon (San Rafael). It's on the list.

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