Hiking the Bowden Ranch Trail

California has transitioned from the lush green of the winter and early spring to the golden yellow of summer. It has been very dry.

This morning I hiked the Bowden Ranch Trail to the peak (elevation: 1,520 feet). I also walked along the ridge to take in the views of the valleys on either side. It was a cool morning, with light fog and overcast skies. The Pacific Ocean was not visible due to the fog.

Madonna Mountain (Cerro San Luis) viewed from the Bowden Ranch trail.

Madonna Mountain (Cerro San Luis Obispo) viewed from the Bowden Ranch Trail.

The other side of the ridge, looking toward Atascadero.

The other side of the ridge, looking toward Atascadero.

The 101 headed toward the Cuesta Grade.

The 101 headed toward the Cuesta Grade.

The valley beyond the SLO airport. It is evident which parts are irrigated.

The valley beyond the SLO airport. It is evident which parts are irrigated.

On the ridge, overlooking the valley, stands a bell tower.

The bell tower.

The bell tower (notice the silhouette of the distant Bishop’s Peak on the lower left).

I assume Batman can be summoned with this bell.

I assume Batman can be summoned with this bell.

It was a bit chilly on the ridge. As I started the return descent the change in temperature was very noticeable.

Many prickly pear cacti (Opuntia sp.) are located along the lower part of the trail. I’m still amused by large, wild populations of cacti. One cactus bore a declaration from an unnamed carver who loves someone named Amy.

Amy the good news is that someone loves you. The bad news is that it's the sort of person who would harm a cactus.

The views of the valleys from the ridge were impressive. I liked how the lush green looked earlier this year, but the contrast between dark greens and golden yellows is a new kind of beautiful.

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