Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Hike 2014.055 -- Oak Glen Preserve and Riley's Los Rios Rancho and Riley's Apple Farm

Hiked Sunday, October 27. 3 miles. More or less. The Wildlands Conservan-cy says their main loop is 2 miles. Before hiking that loop, I walked around Riley's Los Rios' U-pick area, which included cornfields, pumpkin fields, strawberry fields, and, of course, apple trees.
Additionally, during the loop, I took a short detour around their Red Wing Pond, and continued off the bottom of their map to the adjoining Riley's Apple Farm (not to be confused with Riley's Farm, or the aforementioned Riley's Los Rios Rancho. So I'm pretty sure I covered my minimum three miles, no problem. Might have made it four miles, but, if not, definitely over three.

The walk around the U-Pick areas was a search for more of the "scavenger hunt" pictures--one of the places I'm working at is trying to put together a "seasons" exhibit, but doesn't want to have to pay for stock or ordered photos, so they're asking the employees if they have anything appropriate.

Since I try to get some hiking in year-round, I did have a lot of possible pictures, and I keep gathering them as I go hiking. I won't get paid for any of this, and the credits will probably only be in an on-line acknowledgement page, but, still, it's fun to get something concrete out of your hobby.
Not part of the scavenger hunt are the changing oak leaves. It being fall, I was hoping for some color. And there was some, but not a lot. The extended drought is stressing the local trees, and a lot of them are dropping leaves before the leaves really even change color.
With some back-lighting, however, they still light up nicely. These were mostly on the westerly leg of the loop, as the trail drops down through a "Deciduous Forest" exhibit.
At the bottom of this loop is a small park area, with some benches. And among these benches are a mixture of various trees. One of them was a Giant Sequoia, which I thought was pretty photogenic.
The rest of the leaf pictures were from that earlier section of the loop, or on the short detour to "Red Wing Pond."

There's an additional pond a bit north of this one, but I was mainly looking for changing oak leaves.
Once at the bottom of the loop, I decided I wanted to cross Oak Glen Road and visit the next farm down the way (Riley's Apple Farm). I am really a creature of habit, and usually only visit Los Rios Rancho on my trips here, in part, because of the convenient nature trail. But, on this day, I was looking for more seasonal shots, so continued to this second farm.
Like many of the farms in Oak Glen, they had U-pick apples, as well as a large pumpkin patch, full of already-picked pumpkins.

There were also several residences on their land. Very picturesque.

The trails in this area were not clearly marked, and, in fact, the trail leading to the farm picture below was a dead-end; there was a fence between me and the farm, so I had to backtrack out of that area.
There were some silly kid diversions in this farm, as well. They had a panning (for gold and other valuables) section, a tomahawk throw, and a knife throw. There were also several stores, several food outlets, and a cider press area. That's in addition to the apple orchard and pumpkin patch I mentioned earlier.
After finishing my detour, I had to re-cross Oak Glen Road and get back to Los Rios Rancho. Funny thing about that, though. While a trail does lead out of the Los Rios area and to Oak Glen Road, there's a sign facing the road, prohibiting entry except "by permission" into Los Rios and the Wildlands Conservancy.
I assume that really means, "No Entry Unless We're Open," or perhaps entry only if you came out this way, and already passed the information booth as you entered the Conservancy lands.

Either way, having left the Conservancy lands via this trail, I definitely intended to return this way, too. Which I did.

From here, it was a pretty steep inline back to Los Rios. I also passed a different park, which I'm not sure if I've seen before. This one is on a flat area, with the ravine where the trails I had taken down from the farm off and below, to the west. It wasn't until I got almost back to the farm that I knew where I was. Funny how just a little change in persepctive made the place seem so different.
As noted previously, it's supposed to be a two mile loop, to which I added at least a mile of wandering, both on Conservancy lands, and on the neighboring Apple Farm. Great weather for wandering. Kind of crazy on what was the weekend before Halloween. I assume once you pass Halloween and the pumpkin pickers are gone, it'll get a little less crowded. Because I've been here many times before, but this trip seemed like the most crowded I had ever seen it. Still, it was a good visit. I bought some apples, but no pie. I bought a pie the last few times here, and figured I should give my waistline a break. :D

This was several hikes ago, so I'm still behind in my blogging. Several older ones still remain (including the first one of the year!). Catching up is proving difficult.

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