Just recently we found ourselves traveling the historic El Camino Real along the California coast, (otherwise Hwy. 101), making several stops and finally home via the Sierra foothills. This raised the question, is there anything more quintessentially California than the Juan Bautista de Anza trail? Or the Central Coast in spring? What about the orange blossoms blooming in the Central Valley?
As native Californians we have an enduring love for our beautiful State. From the oak-filled arroyos of the central coast to the towering peaks and cirques of the High Sierra, there is no shortage of inspiration, beauty, history and culture. (And please, it's the Sierra, not Sierras!)
The Vaquero Tradition
Cattle baron Henry Miller (Miller & Lux) employed Narcisco Jesus Castro as a head vaquero (or majordomo) out of his Bloomfield Ranch headquarters. Vaquero heritage is strong in California's culture and history.
It is not hard to drive along the coast and envision the Vaqueros of old who worked the massive land grant estancias of the Spanish Dons, or imagine the rigors (or woes) of the Spanish Missions. From the Mission San Diego de Alcalá to the queen, Mission Santa Barbara, or to my favorite, Mission San Juan Bautista, we recall the daily life of the Chumash or the Paiute, and the graceful skill of the Pacific Coast horsemen. We take in the vast expanses of the ranchos of Henry Miller or the agricultural bounty of the Salinas Valley – the one John Steinbeck called "the valley of the world"; we gaze upon the shimmering Pacific from the tranquil beauty of the southern coastline to Big Sur, and the wild north of the Lost Coast. As the motto says, "Eureka!" – the Greek for "I have found it!" Our Golden State. Land of the Golden Poppy and the giant Sequoia; the Bristlecone and Redwood. For the heritage, the beauty, the graceful and the wild, the majestic and the awe-inspiring, we will always be grateful for such a place to call home.
Owens Valley branding pen, Lee's good old horse Roany. Carrying on the skills and traditions.