Monday, 30 March 2015

Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve

This Sunday saw us visiting the Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve. We had a later start than planned, and reached the place around 11 am. This actually helped us in a way - we were able to find parking quickly because the early visitors had started leaving. Parking is an issue, there are lots of parking lots but the place is also quite crowded on the weekends. One of the reasons we picked this place was because of the Deer Hollow Farm - a working farm with cows, goats, sheep and hens.

We took the shortest route to the farm, and on the way passed scenes like the one below. The trails were lined with California poppies and other flowers, and at one point on the trail you also reach a California Bay tree .. these trees are big!

We also saw wild turkeys running around - not something we had seen before!

The farm itself was quite nice - baby animals in fairly large numbers made for lots of "aww" moments! The farm also sells eggs, but those were sold out when we got there.

The 5 y.o. was understandably very interested in all the farm machinery on display.

Lunch at the farm is in a converted barn - the barn has picnic tables. No trash cans, so prepare to take your trash back with you. After lunch we continued on for a bit on the High Meadow trail but we turned around before reaching the vista points - it was hot and the 5 y.o. started to get quite tired. This part of the trail also went up quite a bit, so we may have been more ambitious than realistic - in hind sight, we should have stuck to the shady, flatter trail by the side of the creek.

We saw a fair amount of creatures on this hike - in addition to the farm animals, we saw turkeys, blue jays, quails, a raptor (this was very close, directly overhead - but I have no knowledge of raptor identification), loads of butterflies, ladybugs, and a few blue tailed skinks. Overall, an excellent 4.5 mile hike - we might come back to this place due to the sheer number of trails available.

Some points for families:
1. There are restrooms at the parking lot closest to the trail head, and a couple of chemical toilets near the farm.
2. There are drinking water fountains near the farm.

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