This morning after getting coffee, I drive over to Rohr Park to take some photos of Mt Miguel in the distance.
At the far end of Rohr Park, a horse evacuation center has been set up. There are only a few horses there, but Dave who is there with his horses tells me I am welcome to give them some hay and and carrots.
They are pasture horses, and used to running free on a large acreage. Being kept in the pen overnight after having been evacuated is tedious for them and it's evident they are agitated. After tying the horses that are not his on the outside of the corral, I help Dave unhook the lead ropes from his horses so they may run around the pen while we talk about the area, about trails that we both enjoy - I with a mountain bike and he on a horse.
It turns out that horseback riders have endurance events too. He was tells me about a 35 - 50-mile ride that they take into the back country. Covering that kind of distance takes at least 5 hours or more on a mountain bike, and with all the climbing is especially difficult. It takes about that long on a horse too, and I'm as surprised that he would undertake such as ride on a horse as he is that I would do so on a bike. We both think the other is slightly crazy, but respect the other's right to be so. For the record, I've only done one mountain bike ride like that (but it was only 25 miles!). I was the only female, and yes, I was in way over my head.
Dave is the coordinator for Horse Evacuation and Rescue centered at Rohr Park. Although very few people took advantage of the this location, there are over 2500 horses at the evacuation center at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. I can't imagine the chaos there. Horses are very sensitive creatures. You can have 20 horses in a paddock that are calm and steady, add one horse that is high-strung and agitated, and suddenly you have 21 horses that are agitated and kicking up dust. Dave is thankful for the calm that surrounds us here in Bonita, as are his horses.
I leave Dave my phone number in case he needs any volunteers to help if things start to get crazy. Although most evacuations have already taken place, the fire is moving through Julian and across to Deerhorn Valley, and we may be getting overflow from Del Mar.
Evacuation areas are shown in red...
I check back with Dave and Dana later in the day, when my friend Stephanie and I return to Rohr Park and feed the horses some more carrots and ask if we are needed.
It is quiet, and the horses have adjusted to their temporary home. Dave says it's been almost like a vacation for him. He sits in the shade in his captain's chair by the lake (don't be fooled; it's a duck pond), watching the horses and visiting with folks who stop by the feed them carrots or just chat. A family came by, and Dave put the little daughter up on one of the horses and gave her a little horseback riding lesson. He said the mother was grinning from ear to ear.
We talk about how San Diego has pulled together as a community, and taken responsibility for its citizenry. I was in north central NJ on Sept 11, 2001, and commented that I didn't think I would ever see such a sense of community, neighborly concern, and kindness outside of the Tri-State area (NY-NJ-CT), least of all in California. I think San Diego is truly unique in that aspect. I'm so proud to be here.