JACK LONDON PARK RIDE
Redwood Empire Trail Riders
had a fall fantastic ride at Jack London State Historic Park on Sunday, October 30th. Jack London named his property in Glen Ellen the Beauty Ranch, and it’s true the location and the day couldn’t have been more beautiful. The temperatures couldn’t have been better—it was a clear, bright day in the 70’s. Twelve of us rode just a few of the many trails in this historic CA. State Park. We had four guests along including prospective member Carole H. from Healdsburg. Karin invited three guests from Mendocino County, Dell, Marge and Doris.(Sorry, I don’t have their last names.) Our RETR members who rode at Jack London included Karin, Debra, Angie, Barb, Paul, Dave & Carol R. and me.
Luckily, Debra had a complete trails map of the Jack London Park, which Barb (with volunteer advisors) used to plot out a circle loop of trails for us. We took off from the summit road onto Quarry Trail, made a few more turns onto some “fruit” named trails bordering old orchards. (Hmmm, should we call that the Fruit Loop? Ha!) We went past the SDC campgrounds, skirted some rural-residential areas (which may or may not have been part of the SDC properties), but were marked as part of the trails system. We then went past some minor road construction onto a newly graveled road, and looped back past another pond. At one point we ended up on the Broken Bridge trail, and yes, the bridge was broken! But it’s easy to ride or hike around it.
Barb took a group photo of us, at one of the ponds, although Dave & Carol missed the photo. Unfortunately, they had had to turn back as their palomino, Chester, had turned up lame. After about two hours of riding we passed the “Ancient Redwood” (or maybe it’s called the “Ancient Tree”), which is beautiful & yet very spooky looking
(perfect for Halloween!) then we went about 100 yards farther. There we found
hitching racks where our horses enjoyed a rest while we ate our saddlebag
lunches at thick-planked redwood picnic tables. Friendly hikers came by while
we ate—we directed them to the “Ancient Tree” as a “must see”.
We also passed other hikers at various times during the day. At one point hikers on a trail parallel to us were so quiet, I wondered if they were part of the ghostly rumors about the park. (Don’t think they realized it’s best to just keep talking in normal voices when near
horses.) A few kids and their parents enjoyed petting Barb’s Joe and Angie’s Surfer Joe.
After lunch we ventured towards the vineyard trail, onto another “fruity” trail or two & then back onto Quarry Trail until we came to the summit road again. At that point, those out in the lead headed us back toward the trailers. On the way back we saw the bat houses, the Wolf House ruins a short distance away, (no horses allowed there!) and old silos for the London ranch. In all, we had a great day. (If you’re
interested in the complete map of Jack London park, Debra said she bought a
copy at the Sonoma Outfitters near downtown Santa Rosa. A minor copy is
available online from the CA. State park services.)
Now, on a more serious note: I suppose you’ve already heard the news that
Jack London State Historic Park, Annadel and Sugar Loaf State Parks are all on
the chopping block to be permanently closed next July 1st, due to
budget cuts by the State of California. Some funding raising efforts through the Valley of the Moon Historical Society are underway to save at least Jack London park. I believe there are also efforts in the works to also save Annadel & maybe Sugar Loaf. (I don’t have concrete information on those two parks.) So, if you can, crack open your wallet open and make a donation. This link may help you find more information:
http://www.jacklondonpark.com/VMNHA%20Page.htm. Or, contact me to make a donation through the Redwood Writers, a nonprofit branch of the California Writers Club.
Thanks! —Robin Moore