Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Mt Madonna and Dog Friendly Trails

Mt. Madonna County Park is serene and gorgeous in late Autumn. Few folks camp at this clean and beautiful campground during this time of year. In our section of the campground, there were only three other campers.

And there were even fewer folks hiking the vast system of trails that traverse the hills of Redwoods, Tanbark Oak, and Eucalyptus trees that make up this wonderful park. We only ran into one man hiking with his two boys on the trails, but there were numerous folks that drove up to see the White Fallow Deer and Henry Miller Estate ruins during our visit. Hearst gave Miller two deer, and today the Park takes care of the herd.

One lonely male caged away from the rest of the herd could not be bothered with us, while a curious female came over to check on us.

 Not too far down the way from the encage deer are the ruins to the Henry Miller Estate.

Once a beautiful home with vistas of the Valley, the property now only contains the ruins of the estate that children enjoy climbing while adults ponder the massive wealth of "Cattle King" Miller and his good fortune for that time period. Miller came to California in 1850 with only $6, invested in cattle and land, became one of US largest land owners, and a millionaire- equivalent to a billionaire today.

After wandering around the ruins, we take the Lower Miller trail over to the Loop Trail, which we use to hike over to the Iron Spring trail. While hiking on the Iron Spring trail there are notices to stay on trail since there is an active archery course. The Archery Range encompasses a large area with trails connecting the many target areas. This system of trails is different from the hiking trail system.

It is on the Blackhawk trail that we pass the man with his two boys. They were reading one of the directional posts and trying to figure which way to get back to their parked car up at Hilltop. It seems that they had wandered too far off their hiking route for the day.

After a peaceful night's rest and before packing up to head home, we took a short morning stroll. We were rewarded with a bench to rest and enjoy the pretty view of the valley below.