Across California: Tejon Ranch
We found our entry point to the Tejon Ranch and waited. Not too long after the appointed time David and Lauren from the Tejon Ranch Conservancy arrived in two vehicles. They took our packs (I said I would walk across California, not backpack) and we hit the road. This 271,000-acre remnant of wild California is a fabulous! 240,000 acres are now in a permanent conservation easement.
We descended Tejon Canyon, ancient route for Native Americans and site of the first reservation in the US. Gone were all the rutted dirt bike gashes up the hillsides because the security here works. We all are carrying passes and someone from the T.Ranch or the T.Ranch Conservancy is mostly with us at all times.
We started in incense cedars and now are grassland populated by cattle and invasive grasses. But, it is still grassland, and the animal species such as kangaroo rats and kit foxes can move from here to the Carrizo Plain, where we'll be in five days, if all goes as planned.
The Conservancy has brought out dinner for us the last two nights and carried our packs in a pickup, a far cry from 17 lbs of water and a week's worth of food on our backs. The Ranch is absolutely the key link among 4 ecosystems and we are seeing bits and pieces of them. What a privilege it has been to be allowed here.
-- Cal French
Cal, 74, a member of the Sierra Club for 42 years, is trekking 530 miles from the Colorado River to the Pacific Ocean to highlight the threatened natural corridors of Southern California. Cal sits on the Sierra Club Santa Lucia Chapter Board. He is blogging from a BlackBerry.