We get a little bored walking every day on the fire road to the beach. I know this sounds churlish considering the landscape is heart-stoppingly gorgeous, straight out of a travel brochure. But it's a narrow lane and the dogs move fast and how fascinating can poop from the same six coyotes really be?
So we drive up the canyon where the recent building bust, while bad for developers who have cleared acres of land and carved rough roads deep into the hills, has turned out to be pretty great for Jake and Maisie and me. Huge swathes of open space with just wind and sun around us. Few cars, fewer people, and trails that lead to more and more trails.
Jake sticks close to me, protective maybe, but also I've-seen-it-all mature. Maisie, on the other hand, is very, very busy. She runs ahead, plots our course and so far, does a pretty good job.
We see oaks and prickly pear and poppies, deer and hawks and California quail. We hear rustling in the bushes and smell wild sage on the hot, Santana breeze. And, doggie nirvana - we find miles of piles of coyote poop that's never been sniffed.
The view from West Winding Way.