Ain't nuthin like ridin' a fine horse in a new country - Augustus McCrae – Lonesome Dove

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Signs of Spring!

Skunk Cabbage
My first ride in March & it was yet another sunshine, brisk day.   King Five weather mentioned that every month since February of 2014 we've broken records for warmth.  I believe it!  This is a far cry from our normal early March weather - not that you'll hear anyone from this side of the state complaining!
Heading to the far side
We decided to head to the far side of the tree farm, on a mission to find another old trail.  It had been a couple years since Linda had ridden this far & I always enjoy it when we go out to the places where we used to ride when things looked oh so different!
Nakashima Barn - north end of the Centennial Trail
We headed down to the old Scott Mainline & there turned south.  The logging roads are still pretty soft, we were trotting & I was on the look out for the holes that had opened up the last time I was here.  Since we didn't see them - maybe someone filled them in?
Linda said that the creek above used to be full of Salmon - with Eagles sitting on the trees to feast...   I'm sure it was a sight to see!  We kept going - happy that the days are long enough that we could go as far as we needed to & still get back before the day was done!
Linda leading Count
We made our goal & found what we wanted to find!  We can't tell you where - it's a total secret - but we were happy that even washed out & in bad shape - it was still there!  Now - we were about as far away from where we started as we could get!  Time to start back & we wanted to do the lower loop, which again, Linda hadn't seen for a while.  When we started up - Linda asked if I recognized it?   No, not really - but it was only the second time I'd taken it the direction we went.  Linda said;  "It's the hill where we used to let Eb & Alexi Go!"  That put me in flashback mode - of the two of us - blazing sunshine, open hillside, gradual uphill grade & flying along side-by-side!  It was really hard to reconcile that scene from the past - (Over 20-years past!)  - with the now overgrown & narrow wooded trail.  We are lucky indeed to still be doing what we love & still riding together - with all those years of trail dust behind us & ongoing plans for more ahead!
Three Fingers
Back at the top of the first long climb & even on Farah - looking for Food...   I used the zoom on the new camera to get the above photo.  The day was never really warm on the shady side of the mountain, I had my coat on over my vest all day!  Now though - we'd been out over five hours & it was cooling off as we rode around back to the west side & into the rapidly dropping sunshine!
My first Salmonberry blooms!
What a bonus to find the Salmonberry starting to bloom at the top of the hill!  A sure sign that Spring is around the corner!

Friday, February 27, 2015


What you doin' Justin?
We managed to go six-weeks on a set of shoes!  Of course the ground is softer with all the rain & we haven't covered as many miles - so far this year - as we had the last couple.  It's pretty hard not to be getting excited by now!  With Patty's invitation to accompany her to  Joshua Tree National Park -
I've been setting out all the stuff that I think I'll need to take!

Last week we did paperwork, Health Certificate, Coggins & Brand Inspection.  This week, I'm starting to get things together for the trip!  The cinch rings have worn away some of Farah's winter coat - they have a flat, brass ring - with mohair strings, that I've used for many years.  I do think it's her winter coat that causes the problem.  I'd been using the Cashel Ring Masters, but over time the neoprene roughens up & almost feels like sandpaper.  Did some more searching & found the Sheepskin Fleece by JMS.  They arrived yesterday - seem to fit pretty well & hopefully will solve the problem.

I've been borrowing Linda's saddle for almost a year now!  Garry McClintock was hit by a fully loaded motor-home - while sitting in his truck at an intersection.  Thankfully - he's recovering from his injuries & back working in his shop.  Last time I spoke to him, our saddle was next up!   At one point on our trip - we'll only be about 150-miles from his shop - so I may call & see just how close to completion the saddle is!  :-)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Glorious Day to Ride~

At the Morgan Horse Club
We spent the weekend working at home - & what a beautiful weekend it was!  So darn beautiful - that we stopped mid-afternoon - pulled out the chairs & sat in the sun drinking root beer!  But - today, Joyce & I planned to ride & Joyce wanted to do some exploring on the west side of the tree farm.
Whitehorse & just the top of Three Fingers (with the zoom)
Joyce took us over to an area that we hadn't been on for probably close to a year - when we'd had Lynn with us.  Both of us were surprised to find rock going down everywhere & a new logging road going in here too...
No zoom - where we were~
If you can't tell already - Butch bought me a new camera for the saddle, the little Canon SX600HS that's been getting good reviews.  When I tried it out in the store I liked the stability of the zoom.  Both the Nikon's I'd been using were older cameras.  The technology both of the camera & the high speed cards have improved a lot.
Target & Joyce are both busy :-)
We trotted, we galloped - we even trotted & galloped side-by-side!  Anyone who's been out with me knows that Farah finds this difficult!  :-)  Today we were so proud of both horses!  Galloping along on a loose rein doesn't happen often when you're riding two pretty darn fit & competitive horses!
View of Victoria~
We were out for almost three-hours & it was chilly enough that we had our coats on for most of the ride.  The grass is growing though & we did stop to let the horses graze & soak up the sun!   As Joyce said so well;  "Once an Endurance Rider - always an Endurance Rider - at least at heart!"

Friday, February 20, 2015

Whitehorse Trail Update

Bridge 703~
At last nights meeting, we had both very good & some news of another delay.  First the good news!  The second & third bridge - east, toward Darrington & past Tin Bridge have both been decked!  The non-slip grating will be installed at a later date.  This makes the hearts of the many, who have worked long & hard toward the opening of this trail - so happy!
Looking so good!
This section of the trail is NOT open yet!  There is still the large hole to the east of Cloverdale, where ballast rock was removed/stolen years ago, that will need to be re-filled & other work to do first.  It's certainly a huge start down the trail of many more bridges on the 27-mile length!
Bridge 703
With the anniversary of the slide coming up soon, all of us are saddened by memories of the day that  forever changed the lives of the survivors & communities affected...  Already there are problems with people coming up, trying to park & walk around the area that is considered hallowed ground by so many.
December 2014
The engineers involved on the project want to wait a full year - to let the soils in the area move, settle, shift & do what they are going to do, before finishing the section of the trail that goes through the slide area.  Feelings have already been hurt by governmental agencies - that while trying to do the right thing - sometimes don't. Herald Article~

The plan is to do all the work to the trail both directions from the slide - so that everything will be completed by the late summer of 2016 - when this area too, is supposed to be finished.  So far, there are no plans yet - to pave the trail - but the operative word is yet!

Please consider writing letters to;

Russ Bosanko, Division Manager
Park Capital and Operations
Snohomish County Parks & Recreation
6705 Puget Park Drive, Snohomish WA  98296
425-388-6602/ FAX: 425-388-6645 

Include your name, address, where you live in relation to the trail, how you plan to use it, horseback, bike, walking, etc.  Why you would like it the surface to remain unpaved - as it currently is.  Please be sure to give a big Thank You for the work that's been done!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

To Pilchuck Veterinary~

Open Wide~
Oh dear!  It was that time again!  Farah knew where she was the minute we pulled in, remembered the routine - to the scale - weight in.  What!  1075 lbs!  Glad those six + flakes of hay per day are doing something for her! The remarks were - "Solid muscle!"  "She's FIT!"  :-)  Music to my ears :-)  Next?  To talk Dr. Holohan out of one of the animal crackers she was eating, then spit it out!  It wasn't a real cookie!
A very good report!
 It's been just under a year since Farah's last float.  We'd had her in every few months the last couple years, to correct problems that she'd had from before we bought her.   How sweet to hear that the pocket that had taken so much work - has stayed gone!  It was interesting to see where Farah holds the bit - she's made her own place for the bit to sit.

We also did another brand inspection for our upcoming trip.  It's maddening to have paid for a very nice brand & not have it show.  Dr. Essex has told me that the branding iron wasn't hot enough.  Now it would be a major ordeal to have it re-done & to have it look decent.  I never like tossing good money after bad - so doubt I'll ever bother to have it re-done.  If you look really hard - the outline can still be seen...

Finally, Farah stayed for a while in the mare barn, while our youngest daughter & three of my favorite Grand-kids picked me up for Jentry's birthday lunch!  When we returned, Skyla & Josie wanted to feed Farah carrots & of course that was the best part of Farah's day :-)