A Detailed Recollection of
Los Viajeros Riding Club's early days
From 1941 to 1953
Los Viajeros was organized in Patroni's Lunch Room at Princeton-by-the-Sea, CA in 1944, but its actual birth was at Mar Vista Stables in 1941 by a group of horsemen who decided to ride to Boulder Creek for Boulder Days.
Jack Roberts suggested the idea which met with the approval of Ray Stone, Bill Zappetini, "Jackie" Fleming, Murray Norton, Emile "Slug" Rovere, Marie Denman, Bess Donnelly, Bobbie Burke, Walter Burnhardt, and a dog called "Narrow Gauge".
These riders set out for Boulder Creek, riding Skyline Boulevard all the way, stopping at Billie Condron's Ranch overnight and making Boulder Creek the second day.
This ride met with such enthusiasm that it was decided to make it an annual event, and trails were scouted to keep the group away from pavement wherever possible.
Also among the early pioneers of this club were Hal Herman, Bob Price, Al Seigliano, Slim McNair, Marge Murphy and Nils Johnsson. These horsemen joined the original group in 1942.
In 1943, 23 people made the ride, stopping at the Deeney Ranch and along Pescadero Creek, riding through Butano Forest and arriving in Boulder Creek the third day. This was the first De Luxe ride. Jack McFetridge prepared and served the meals, thereby relieving the riders of this burden which in the past they had taken on themselves. This was certainly a relief after a long day's ride.
In 1944 the group had grown to 38 riders, following approximately the same route but stopping at Gazos Creek the second night. This was the year "Los Viajeros" came into existence.
At the luncheon at Patroni's at Princeton, the organization of the group as a club was discussed. Ray Stone suggested its name which met with the approval of everyone. Jack Howell spoke at some length in favor of such an organization and, as Ray Stone had spent much time and effort in scouting and cutting trails, nominated him for President. This nomination met with the unanimous approval of all present. The following officers were then elected: Murray Norton, 1st Vice President; Bill Zappetini, 2nd Vice President; Vera Haskins, Secretary/Treasurer, and Mario DeLemos, Sergeant-at-Arms.
In 1945, members and guests totaling 59 people, rode down the coast to Deeney's, then on to Loma Mar for the second night's stop, and then through Butano Forest into Boulder Creek the third day. Ray Stone and Oscar Hardie provided the food for this ride. This was a grand and never-to-be-forgotten ride.
In 1946, under the presidency of Eddie Noonan, 69 riders took off from Mar Vista-Lakeside area, going to Mangini's on Portola Road, via Spring Valley, Woodside and Menlo Circus Club trails. The group was entertained there by the San Mateo Mounted Patrol. The second day's trip took them to Montezuma School property. Their last day's ney took them over Skyline Boulevard and adjoining roads to 4-H Club grounds where they had lunch and were met by a group from Watsonville. From there they continued on to Mount Madonna Park where they were entertained in grand style by the Pajaro Valley Horsemen's Association.
In 1947, under the presidency of Bobby Watson, 108 riders left the vicinity of Lakeside and Mar Vista Stables riding through the vegetable gardens and coming out near the San Francisco County Jail from where they took the road that leads to the North Gate of the beautiful Spring Valley property, then up through the trails coming out at the top of the Cahill Ridge, to the Torpey Ranch and into the Greer Ranch for lunch. After lunch they climbed for about five miles through various ranches, over Kings Mountain, crossing over into Woodside trails and then to the Hirschy Ranch for the first night.
Leaving the Hirschy Ranch the next morning and again riding through several ranches, they arrived at the Burns Ranch where lunch was served after which the journey continued into the Oakland Y.M.C.A. Camp on the Pescadero Road, riding through the woods by the Boy Scout Camp on to Portola Park which was the old Islam Shrine Grove of Virgin Redwoods, which has been purchased by the State and renamed.
The riders were met on the third day by a group from the Santa Cruz and San Lorenzo Valley Horsemen's Association which group led them over a logging trail up to the China Grade Road where they had lunch, then proceeded on into Boulder Creek.
Hauling of horses was done by Bill Zappetini of Mar Vista Stables in his ten-horse van. Also, riders were reminded that it was their privilege to ride with the chuck wagon caravan if they or their horse became exhausted.
This was the largest group that Los Viajeros had had on any ride so far in the history of the organization. It was a tremendous success and a good time was had by all.
In 1948, under the presidency of Murray Norton, approximately 70 riders left the area of Lakeside and Mar Vista Stables, riding again over the Spring Valley property, stopping at the Greer Ranch for lunch and then on to Summit Springs for the first night's camp.
The second day they rode over the Bear Gulch Road spending the night at the Russell Jackson Ranch near Pescadero.
On Friday morning the riders proceeded on through the beautiful Butano Forest, which is truly a forest primeval indescribable, arriving at the Locatelli Camp for the last night on the trail. Here the group gathered around a huge bonfire and started some community singing where many new friendships were born. There was so much fun and good fellowship this night and the following morning, that many of the riders were reluctant to leave for the last of the trek into Boulder Creek.
Several members from the San Lorenzo Valley Horsemen's Association met them at the Locatelli Camp and spent the night with them. Many more of their group rode in the following morning and escorted them through some scenic tails in Boulder Creek.
In 1949, under the leadership of President Bill Zappetini, riders left their starting place, rode through the vegetable gardens, Jersey Farm and Spring Valley Water Company property to the quarry on Skyline Boulevard, where riders had lunch. From there they continued through Woodside Trail Club trails and Searsville Lake property to Skipper's Park where the group stayed the first night.
Next day the club members went through the Ormondale Ranch, up Alpine Road and ate lunch at the lake on the Mosely property. The group was joined there by Ralph and Helen Burnell, who led them through their property and down Stevens Creek to Bordi's. They rode through the Bordi Orchard and vineyard to the Redwood Road, thence down the Saratoga Road to the Longbridge Picnic Grounds where they spent that night. The following day the group rode an old grape sled trail to the Montevineo Vineyard; from there to Alma which was their lunch stop. Leaving Alma members rode up the Soda Springs Road, passing Loma Prieta, to the Railey Ranch, which was that night's stop.
On the fourth and last day the horsemen and women rode the ridge to Madonna Park where they had lunch. That afternoon they rode down to the Pajaro Valley Horsemen's Association headquarters at Watsonville, where they had dinner and danced.
While some of the days seemed long, it was a beautiful trip and could have been made much easier on all, if everyone had "stuck together", started out on time and ridden in on time.
In 1950, under President Nils Johnsson, Los Viajeros riders left the same starting place, Lakeside, and rode to the County Jail through the Jersey Farm and Spring Valley property to the Torpey Ranch, and other ranches to Summit Springs, the first night's stop.
The second day the group rode through Woodside trails to Bear Gulch Road to Nils Johnsson's ranch for lunch, and from there to Memorial Park for the second night's stop.
The third day they rode from Memorial Park through Blomquist property to Butano Forest, lunch on top of Butano, from there down China Grade to Rogers Road to the CCC Camp, down the little Basin Road to Eagle Rock Fire Station on the Locatelli Ranch, the lunch stop, then along the Empire Grade Road, continuing on Alba Road into Hubbard Gulch and onward to their destination, the Town and Country Club.
In 1951, leaving Lakeside Stables, the travelers rode through the vegetable gardens to Jersey Farm entering San Francisco Water Co. property, riding these trails to the lunch stop on Skyline Blvd. Then on to Portola Road and Canada Road to Nils Johnsson's Rancho Canada, from there to Huddart Park for the first night's stop.
Second day, leaving Huddart Park riding Mounted Patrol Grounds and trails and Woodside trails to Portola Road and Searsville Lake and then to Ormondale Road and on to Alpine Road for lunch. From there the group rode to Ralph Bernal's via Alpine Road and on to Stevens Creek, down Charcoal Grade to Bordi's Ranch, their second night's stop.
Leaving Bordi's the third day, back up Charcoal Road to Skyline Blvd. to Bielawski Summit Lookout Station. After lunch in this vicinity theyrode through Mr. Snead's Ranch. The riders then followed the ridge to H.W.Starr's Ranch, through his property to Bear Creek Road to Nord's where they camped the third night.
Leaving camp the fourth day down Bear Creek Road and up a fire trail to the head of Love Creek Road to the Town and Country Club, their destination. Everyone enjoyed swimming.
In 1952, under the presidency of Eddie Castlemen, Los Viajeros left Lakeside, rode through the vegetable gardens and through Jersey Farm to the junction of Skyline Blvd. From here they entered the State Riding and Hiking Trail and followed this to the dam and on to the Valley Hills where they had lunch. After lunch they followed the State Trail to Nils Johnsson's and into Huddart Park where the riders spent the night.
The second day the participants rode from Huddart Park through Woodside and Searsville, and on to Alpine Road where they had lunch. After lunch they followed Alpine to Ralph Bernal's and to the Bordi Ranch for the second night's stop. The next day they followed the Charcoal Road to Skyline Blvd and on to the Snead Ranch for lunch. Then they rode down the trail to Mr. Starr's property. Their camp for the night was at Nord's. On the fourth day they followed the Bear Creek Road, crossed the creek and up the fire trail to the head of Love Creek. After lunch they rode down the Love creek Road to the Town and Country Lodge, and the end of the ride.
The above history was taken from The 1953 12th Annual Ride
1953 four-day ride description
Leaving the Lakeside Stables area in San Francisco on Wednesday, June 10th, Los Viajeros members ride through the vegetable gardens and continue on until they reach the State Trail. Lunch stop will be somewhere along the Sawyer Road. After lunch they ride State Trail, eventually wind back onto the Skyline Blvd. where they wend their way to the Valledeo ranch, finally into Summit Springs for the first night's stop.
The second morning they head toward Bear Gulch Road from here into the Norman Souza Ranch and on into Memorial Park for their second night's stop.
The third day They ride from Memorial Park onto a trail at the Butano, lunch will be at the C.C.C. Camp down the Little Basin Road. From here they proceed along the trail to the old Locatelli ranch, which Bud Villa has leased, for their third night's stop.
The fourth day will find them riding some very beautiful trails into Hubbard Gulch and onward toward their destination, Ben Lomond. Here they may swim and relax in the afternoon until dinner.