It is really hard to get my horse into the spirit of the day. I told him all about the new land that just opened the other day, with all the lovely giant redwood trees. He seemed excited about exploring, but when we arrived at our starting point in Snooker, all he wanted to do was sniff the flowers. He is the weirdest horse on the planet, I swear.
He's always been most interested in places that have a lot of hills and lakes, so I have made a point of taking him along when I have wandered in the camping regions and when I have gone looking for swimming holes in the high lands of Bellisseria -- except where it's too steep and rocky, of course. He's never seen redwoods, though, so I thought today would be a treat.
We started from the west, barely the other side of the bridge over the huge ring lake that dominates this area. Once I got him away from the daffodils, we crossed the bridge and headed down dirt roads into the heart of Snooker. I'm impressed by how much work has gone into stonework here. There are some picturesque retaining walls and stone fences all along the roads.
Roads are convenient for people who live in these houses, but my horse and I prefer to get off into the woods and hills when we can. You can see a lot more of the landscape when you can get up above rooftops and low trees. From even a low ridge like this one, we could see well across to the north shore of the ring lake.
The hills are also popular with hikers and picnickers, just as they are in other parts of Bellisseria to the west. I will never understand why people just walk off and leave a fire like this untended, however, or how they can believe that plates full of sandwiches will still be there when they decide to come back. It boggles my mind, and it puzzles my easily-distracted horse.
We followed a winding ridge crest from Snooker into Jerife Blando, getting higher and higher into the redwoods. (Some quiet evening I want to dig into local history to find out who this "Gentle Sheriff" was, by the way. When I find out, I will tell you. I bet there's a good story there.)
Before we knew it, we were headed back down the eastern end of the ridge and were in Filbert. It's easy travelling all through there -- hardly any shrubbery or loose rock to make my horse nervous. There are lots of birds and small critters up there too. They are hard to spot, but we could hear them rustling and singing in the trees.
When we came back to the road again, it was in a rocky part of Filbert where there were many more wildflowers than in Snooker. Butterflies too. My horse is a sucker for butterflies. He was starting to really enjoy himself.
The road winds between rocky knobs and over low ridges as it leads into Scranton Woods. I love the way that some houses here are perched at high spots like this one on the left. That's a dramatic setting for a home. I imagine that it's even more striking in stormy weather. Wouldn't that be a great place to live?
It wasn't long before we reached the bridge that leads across the ring lake in the east. Someone has gone to a lot of trouble to cut the road through some gigantic redwood stumps instead of just bulldozing them out of the way. I've spotted others like this one from a distance, so I figure this must be part of a scenic betterment program, making photogenic landmarks to fascinate travelers. It's a cool idea, even if it is extra work.
My horse was thirsty, so we stopped to rest at the ring lake. As lakes go, this one is not especially deep or wide, but it is pretty. I pointed out the way homebuilders have nestled houses right up to the shore, making it easy for people to launch small boats, or maybe go swimming right outside their own back yards. I'll admit that I was tempted myself, but despite the fact that this is a relaxed, forested area, it is a bit populated. We never saw a soul all afternoon. I'm sure that someone would have noticed as soon as I stripped down and headed into the water, though. My horse never cares, but people can be funny.
He's really single-minded. When I travel with him, we just seem to jump from one flowered area to another. Silly horse.
The afternoon was wearing on as we wandered into Dhingle, where the road is not nearly as up and down as it is in Scranton Woods. We could see open land further to the east, so we pressed on just far enough to see what was there.
And here it is, the end of the road for now. This is the eastern edge of Dhingle, where they will have to end up building a bridge and then more roads into the mountains on the other side of this large lake. There are no homes past this point yet, but they will be coming soon. You can be sure of that. Pure, open back country doesn't stay empty for long.
I think my horse might have wanted to explore to the east, but I could tell that he was getting tired and he would have needed to swim to get there. I could see that the bottom drops off quite a lot at this spot -- not a good place for a horse to try getting into the water and then try to scramble up the bank on the opposite side. Besides, there will be other days to see what's over there. With any luck, there will be good ponds and lakes in the high hills, so I can add to my growing list of swimming holes in Bellisseria. There's always something to look forward to.