Rancho Seco RP - Howard Ranch Trail - Flatland Photographers

Finally! We’re heading back outside after a little recovery time. For this outing, we brought some friends to show us around California. Though none of us had been there before, we were all so excited that the weather had cleared.

Howards Ranch Trail is towered, literally, by 2 cooling towers next to a nuclear power plant.Though, it’s quite beautiful how a man made structure such as that is surrounded by green, rolling hills with the Sierra Foothills and Mountains flickering in the distance.

We leisurely walked around the lake on the small path. Passing kayakers and fishermen, we listened to bees humming in the bushes and looked over the fields that showed yellow little blooms reminding us that the spring is here. The path diverged towards those mountains that flickered over the valley where Beth and I couldn’t open the gate.

It took a hot minute for the four of us to realize which lever to pull up, as the sign stated, but off we went; into a cow field. With every step we took I was reminded of Scotland and the many gates we passed through that led us to a cow pasture or open land with sheep grazing. Though, on this trail, the only evidence of cows were their patties on the ground. We were fascinated with the sun shining down on us and how beautiful the day was. As we looked at the beauty around us, that’s when we saw her. Two black ears and a white face. That’s all we could see of her as a hill blocked the rest of her body. I named her Ol’ Bess. The real evidence that we were truly in a cow pasture. She was the only one that we could see, just watching us walk by.

Making some comments of how alone Ol’ Bess was, we stepped over a footbridge where we were startled by a little squeak followed by frogs jumping in a creek. Soon after, Heath realized that there was a Bald Eagle perched in a nest in a distant tree. I guess since it was the first weekend where it truly felt like spring, nature really wanted to give us a show. Beth was really excited. It as her first time ever seeing a Bald Eagle! She was all smiles looking through the binoculars to get a closer look at the nesting mother. It couldn’t get more American than walking through a cow pasture and seeing a Bald Eagle nesting.

Our adventure came to what seemed like a hault when the next gate was padlocked with a sign stating that the trail was closed beyond that point. We walked along the fenceline before turning back and seeing Ol’ Bess inching closer to the trail. She quickly became startled by a group of other hikers that would soon be just as bummed as we were about the state of the trail. Ol’ Bess finally ran across the trail and we saw her cow friends further south of the trail. She still seemed just as intrigued by us as we were of her.

We rounded out the hike with lunch on a dock on the lake. We could look to one side and see our cars in the parking lot, and to the other we could see snow capped mountains. Not like this is a metaphor or anything. Go to the car or go to the mountains. Until next time.