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

Monday, January 19, 2015

Mudslide on the Whitehorse~

Trail Closed!
Today was one of those changeable days that start out overcast & gray - but by early afternoon it was warm enough that I was thinking that even if it did rain - it wouldn't last long.   Butch has to work  some nasty hours, trying to finish up the project he's been on for over a year.  Today, he left early & will work through the night - meaning - no need to cook dinner!  I did chores, gave Farah a good brushing, loaded her up & we headed to Bracken Rd.  The parking lot was packed!  I didn't recognize anyone, but on three-day weekends, we get people driving up from everywhere.
Soon to be solar powered water pump for a water tank~
We rode up to check out the new addition to the tree farm, funded by our local Back Country Horsemen Chapters.  It looked almost ready - will be such a nice addition & in a good spot too.  On we went, out to Tin Bridge.
Winter Woods~
 It was a beautiful afternoon, big white thunderheads rolling around, some looked threatening - but we stayed dry!
Lots of water flowing down the North Fork~
I wasn't surprised to see all the water in the river - I love the sound of it flowing by~
Looking back~
I wanted to ride toward Arlington & check out what the quarry is doing just past the start of the trail there.  Riding along the river is so relaxing & it's a nice quiet section - just a little noise from 530 in places.
Farah sees something~
Someone in an orange jacket had managed to get down the hill on the far side of the river!  No trail & nothing there - so have no idea what he was doing.  With the heavy rock on this portion,  walking is tough enough - but I was surprised at the way the rock has actually packed down some from what it has been.
When we saw the brush & fallen trees over the trail, we were a mile west from Tin Bridge.  I stood up on the saddle & got this shot of the section of hillside that had slipped.  I don't think the mud itself reached the trail, it's the trees & brush that will have to be cut away.  As we were discussing in the meeting last week - taking on this trail is a Huge Challenge!  So many places were the banks are high & the soils crumble easily.  Just as we found this - my phone chimed with a message from a friend - who'd found the slide from the far side.
These chunks are what the sandy mud looks like as it falls off the hill~
It's easy to see how an entire mountain side slid...
By the time we got back to the trailer parking, there was only one other rig besides ours.  Farah looked up as we were getting ready to leave & here came Kathryn!  She told me about some of the clinics at Rhodes River - sounds like fun - so may have to sign-up for one :-)  We need two more riders to get a really decent price for three days of riding.  If anyone reading this - who lives in our area is interested, let me know!

Was really good to get in a nice ride on a super nice day in January!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Where Trails End~

Where once a trail was~
Linda & I had a plan for today - since the trail she uses to access the tree farm was wiped out by recent logging - we wanted to check it out from at least one end.   On top of that - Linda is on her new property & still has a driveway to get put in.  I can't get my trailer in there, so we have to meet up on the farm.

I've been fighting with something - not sure what...  But if anyone can get me in the saddle, it's Linda. I pulled into the parking area just as two friends - had just finished their morning ride, in the sunshine.  I left the first time without my helmet - went back for it & on our next attempt - Farah was in her Full Trot mode & we were cruising.  I swear she knew we were meeting up!  As we rounded the final corner where I expected Linda & Count to be - they were!  So we headed over to see what one end of the new clear-cut looked like.
Linda in the middle~
If you haven't experienced it first hand - it's incredible how different a landscape that you thought you knew - looks like after being logged.  We thought we might "find" the trail & ride through - but after Farah almost went down, we decided that I would hold the horses & Linda would scope it out.
Linda "Scoping"~
It's rough - very rough - but we're already making plan to figure out a way though.  At this point, we turned back & headed up to the Monument.
The fog rolls in~
It was chilly in the sunshine, but let me say that when this fog came in - it became bone chilling!  We ate a late lunch anyway - then started down.
Sunshine trying to break through the fog~
We kept hoping that the sun would win out & it finally did, just as we were about back to the trailer parking!
Lake McMurray under fog~
Linda still had another three-miles to ride to get home.  I loaded Farah for our drive home.  Farah thought it pretty darn strange that Count was leaving without us!  :-)  Count would have preferred a trailer ride I'm sure!  :-)
Our track
 Next, re-establishing the trail!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2015 - First Ride!

Mt. Rainier - 12:23 p.m.
Finally, Lynn & I managed to arrange a ride!  We'd hoped to go on a long point-to-point, but with all the flooding, the trails that we might have done this on - were under water in many places!  Instead, I talked Lynn into coming up to Victoria, where on the mountain, the roads are dry.
Our lower loop
During our much enjoyed time off the trails - I called Garmin & finally figured out how to overlay my routes onto Google Earth - again!  Not only that, but now I can go back & save images of the rides I did last year - happy - happy me :-)
Lynn & Sophie
It was really nice to have company on the ride - it had been too long!  Lynn & I had plenty to catch up on :-)  Every time Farah tried to act up toward Sophie, or started her bucking routine, I just turned her around, walked her back the way we'd come - she would sigh & we'd turn back.  All in all, a pretty successful way to manage her & she did seem to enjoy having company with us as much as I did.
Plenty of water~!
All the little streams were very full & we could hear them before we saw them!  It was cool in the shade, but so warm & wonderful in the sunshine!  When I was going through Arlington about noon - it was 44.  Coming home this afternoon - about 4 p.m. it was again 44 - with fog moving in.
Mt. Rainier 3:10 p.m.
There was an amazing view of the mountain both as we started out & as we were returning!  Heavy cloud cover or fog over the lowlands~
Farah's "Saddlebred" look :-)
Just after I took the photo, we saw a horse far up the hillside - which put Farah on alert :-)  Thanks for the photo Lynn!  A really stellar day for early January! 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

I Have this Friend~

She is a friend - who is more like a daughter to me, since she is the one who seems to know when I need a lift, the one who remembers things...  Like the Silver Anniversary of the Homestead.  When Farah & I came back from our ride the other day, Farah 180's right at our driveway!  What?  What are you thinking mare?

Well, there was this Big, flat box at the gate, with a plastic bag around it flapping in the breeze!  What self-respecting equine wouldn't spook at that?  It took me a minute to convince her that all was just fine.  I dismounted, went to lift the box & found out that it was HEAVY!  What on earth could it be?  I hadn't ordered anything?
The gift!
The return address label read;  Diane Stevens...  OK!  Safe to open...  she'd said something about my new pair of tights?  But No Way did this box contain tights!  If it did, they were made of cast iron!  It took me a while to get it cut open - very carefully - since I still was totally stumped!  Not for long - soon overwhelmed when I realized the size & scope of the gift!
By Chris Martin
When I called her - she said;  "Isn't it your Silver Anniversary on the Homestead?"  Yes it is - twenty-five years that in ways - went by in the blink of an eye.  During those years life happened & continues to - thankfully -  here at the place on planet earth we call home!

(Butch spent the afternoon standing on top of the camper putting it up & now says it's time to re-build the arch once warmer weather arrives.  That will allow him to hide the light etc.)  These pieces are made to rust & we could have hastened the process, but have decided to see how long it takes Washington State to do the deed!  :-)
A New look for the New Year!
  It's such an wonderful feeling to know there are people in the world like John & Diane - the kind of people who create happiness with their thoughtfulness -  no matter the miles between us!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Farah & Connie
The first day of a Brand New Year!  Yippee!  I'm so excited about our riders in the Derby getting out there & riding today!  Already the first miles have been logged!

Our ground is still frozen solid, but today we warmed to 40!  The warmest it's been in days & days!  Farah didn't lose any weight this year with our second place finish in the DD2014!  I'm pretty sure she will again be the highest mileage horse - & that was our goal :-)  After riding with this group for two-years, I'm sad to see the end of that Derby - but happy that it's morphed into more Virtual races in several different states, including ours!
Sunset - Three Fingers
 Wishing you all a healthy, happy, successful year!  Saddle-up & Ride!