Thursday, May 22, 2014

003 - Renald and Checkers

Trail Portrait 003 - Renald and Checkers

I typically run the Pleasanton Ridge trails on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, however, my daughter's softball team had a playoff game on Monday, so I adjusted this week's running schedule to Tuesday and Thursday. I got a late start today because of a hectic day of work, starting my run at 6:45 PM, but it made for a wonderful experience. One of the nice things about running later in the day is the Pleasanton Ridge is less traveled and therefore, quieter and more peaceful. I enjoy the solitude on my solo trail runs.

In the late afternoon, the climb up the east-facing side of the ridge is largely in the shade because the sun is blocked by the ridge itself. However, as once one reaches the top of the ridge, one is greeted with the bright afternoon sun, bathing the ridgeline with warm, orange light. It's always a treat to pass through the wooden gate near the top of the ridge and be surprised with such a beautiful scene.

My seven mile, weekday route takes me to a bench on the hill, which overlooks the city of Pleasanton. As I climbed the last little section before the bench, I met Renald (Ronald?) and his dog, Checkers, sitting on an ATV. I asked if he was a ranger and he said, "no, sheep" and pointed to the sheep grazing on the hills in the distance. Renald is a modern day shepherd, riding a four-wheeled ATV instead of a two-legged horse, and in my opinion, he has the coolest job around. The sheep graze the Pleasanton Ridge park lands from late March through May. Today, the sheep were grazing on one hill and tomorrow, Renald and Checkers will move the sheep to another hill to graze.

English probably isn't Renald's native tongue and our communication was somewhat challenging, however, I enjoyed my short chat with him today. If I'm lucky, I'll bump into Renald and Checkers again before this year's grazing season is over -- if not, I'm sure I'll see them next spring in the hills of Pleasanton.

22 May 2014
Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park
Pleasanton, California

I didn't get a photo of the sheep today, but here's a picture of the herd from my run last week.


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