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Across California: Tehachapi Mountains

Last night, we camped on a grassy slope low in the Tehachapi Mountains. Within a few minutes of our arrival, a greeting committee of eight horses and one donkey approached, full of curiosity. The Angus cattle also gathered about, so when we were dining on Chinese food brought in by Jen of the Tejon Ranch Conservancy, we had quite an audience. Later, during the night, the horses closed in tighter. Even though Madeleine and Tom were under a tarp and Dave was in a tent, I decided to sleep out in the open. Sometime during the night, I heard a horse breathing, chewing, and walking a few feet from my head. Having been around horses a lot as a kid I was not concerned. Mad was of the opposite dis-positioned....

This morning was perhaps the least interesting of the trek as far as nature goes. It was all on roads, first dirt, then paved. The fields were nothing but a collection of invasive grasses -- red brome, ripgut brome, foxtail barley, wild oats ... you name it -- and forbs such as fillaree, black mustard, and tamarisk in the water courses.

We crossed the largest single site user of power in California, the Edmonston power plant that supplies power to pump water over the Tehachapi Mtns. into Southern California. And, of course, we did cross the California Aqueduct itself.


A few nature notes: four golden eagles, numerous western kingbirds, violet green, barn, and cliff swallows.

Because I am now in a motel room using my spouse's laptop, have had a shower, and am wearing clean clothes from top to bottom, I fear this entry may have gone on too long. Tomorrow we cross the last two miles of our passage through the Tejon Ranch and enter the Wind Wolves Preserve, where we'll spend the next three days. So it will be back to carrying our backpacks, finding our own water, and navigating with map, compass, and GPS. Enough of decadence.

-- 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.


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