Friday, August 5, 2011

Riding Along the Arroyo Seco on the Back of a Horse

Once in awhile, serendipity creates a great adventure.

Such was the case last week when I spotted a friend bathing one of his horses on a weekday afternoon. Surprisingly, we both had finished with work early that day and before I knew it, he said, "Let's go riding!"

For a horse lover like me, I jump at the chance to ride whenever I can, so we took off on our trusted steeds, him on Maya, me on Lobo (seen here) for what I thought would be an hour ride from the Altadena Crest Trail to the Loma Alta Equestrian Arena.

But you can't stop horse people when they are having a great ride on a beautiful summer's afternoon. Before I knew it, I was agreeing to ride all the way down to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena (a four hour round trip ride, I might add)!

And what a great ride it was! Entering the Hahamongna Basin eastside trail from Altadena Drive, we enjoyed a slow quiet ride through one of Pasadena's great urban nature corridors. The birds were singing, the air was fresh from a slight breeze and the Arroyo Seco was still full of water, unusual this late in the summer season. Except for the passing of an occasional walker and photographer, we had the trail all to ourselves.

Soon we were travelling through the Devil's Gate Bridge tunnel down the trail to the Central Arroyo. I especially loved riding this section - so natural and quiet with the unchannelized Arroyo Seco stream to our right, gurgling along.

Civilization in the form of Brookside golfers and Rose Bowl Loop bicyclists and joggers soon appeared as we turned onto Washington Blvd to Parkview towards the westside Arroyo Seco trail heading back northward.

This was my first time on the Central Arroyo Seco westside trail and what a delight! Most of this trail is shadowed by old age oak trees on one side with a bucolic view of Brookside Golf Course on the other. My unflappable horse, who calmly walked down city streets, past bicyclists, cars, and joggers, stopped and perked up his ears each time a golfer teed off and the 'whiff' sound filled the air.

I really loved being on the westside trail which brought us right next to the Arroyo Seco stream north of the golf course. In fact, we had to cross the stream, about ankle deep, to reconnect to the trail back into the Hahamongna and northward home. What fun!

Sir Winston Churchill once said that 'the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man' (or woman!) and this adage was no more true than while on this ride along the Arroyo Seco.  It's incredible that it's possible to ride (or walk!) streamside in an urbanized area of Southern California....yet feel totally in nature.

I can't wait to continue my horseback riding adventures along the Arroyo Seco and look forward to future trips both northward into the Angeles National Forest and southward into the Lower Arroyo Seco and South Pasadena Nature Parks.

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