We spent most of Thursday packing, shopping, washing, doing all the stuff that seems to take forever when you're getting ready to go to a ride... It's always been difficult for me to understand Why it takes so long to pack - yet half the time & effort to unpack? It rained off & on, but we woke up Friday to a beautiful morning. The 2.5 hour drive down was uneventful, so nice to only have a short distance to travel!
We arrived in Ride-camp to the sound of Loud gunfire! Wow! It's a gun club - but gee - isn't this supposed to be a "horse" weekend? It was - until the club double booked our ride on the same weekend as a long standing black powder shooting event! Oh well, we have neighbors at home who on occasion fire off high powered rifles, so Khari took it in stride. Still, less than relaxing for the horses & riders alike.
|Sirie braids Khari's mane|
We sat up our little camp next to Aarene's Pirate encampment & the Fish Creek Team. Pulled out chairs & enjoyed the sunshine! Registration was really organized & I was first to sign-in for the 50, giving Khari #100! Butch vetted her through & she received her usual all A's :-)
Heidi was hoping for the 80+ riders who had confirmed that they would be attending the ride, so held off on the ride meeting until about 8 p.m. We had really nice maps of our route & everyone was looking forward to a good ride.
|Ride Info. sheet|
We had fun catching up with everyone's news & meeting a new friend too! Karen, owner of the Wren Loop Thoroughbreds blog! Was so much fun to see the big bay Cartman in person! His owner too of course :-) We'd watched him vetting in, admiring his shiny, big Thoroughbred form!
I didn't check to be sure our alarm was set correctly, so found myself waking up at 5:30 instead of 5! That put me under pressure to get ready & get Khari warmed up for the start at 6:30. Linda had told me her ride plan for the day, which was similar to my own. Go out, make time - get our completions. We decided to leave together & see how the ride went.
|Linda & Connie before the start~|
It was cool, cloudy & very overcast - but believing the weatherman, neither of us took rain gear, thinking that by the time the rain was forecast to move in, we would be in camp for a hold & could pick it up then... Not! We left in the front & started making time, heading up the long climb to the top of the mountain when it started to mist. The mist turned to drizzle... Linda said; "Aren't you glad that we're used to Western Washington weather?" The words were hardly out of her mouth - when it started to Rain! The rain turned into a Downpour! Within minutes we were soaked through. The trail had turned into a mud bath, water was standing several inches deep in the trail furrows. We continued to climb - right up into the rain-making clouds - we couldn't see anything of the view - it was a complete white-out. I started watching my GPS. We were only about 7 miles into the ride! We knew we'd be coming up on the trot-by at Fall Creek. The Vets gave a wave & we passed them by - both mares moving really well.
|Bare Bones per my GPS|
After a few more miles, a rider caught up with us, the trails continued to deteriorate. Khari hates being tail-gated & totally stopped paying attention to what she was doing to worry about the horse behind her. (She slipped hard once, caught herself just in time to keep us from taking a bad fall.) I moved aside & asked the rider to move ahead. If I was going down, I didn't want to get stepped on! The three of us continued on & on & on. My GPS was reading over 20-miles & still no out-check in site. Suddenly - no more ribbons! Oh NO! We didn't want to make a mistake in that weather! We turned & went back to find the last ribbon & ran into other riders trying to make a decision as to which way to go. Kathy was somewhat familiar with the trails, we followed her advice & found ribbons again! The out-check came up quickly - we were in at 9:54. Butch was waiting for Khari & dropped a blanket over her. What was to be a 45-min. hold time was shortened to 15-min. due to the cold. We'd ridden 25-miles & the horses were hungry. Khari ate all the time we were there, but we decided to go ahead, leave on time & finish the ten-miles back into Ride-camp for the 45-min. hold. Due in part to the fact that we were soaked to the skin, dreaming of changing into dry clothes & rain gear!
As luck would have it, that ten-miles was the nicest of the day. The footing improved, horses knew they were heading back & we clicked right along. We did run into several groups of trail riders & a few of the riders on the LD. That slowed us down in places, where we were on single-track - but everyone was so courteous about moving aside as soon as space allowed.
At 11:39 a.m. we arrived back in camp! What a relief, the rain had stopped! Time to eat & find those dry clothes! The break went quickly, but we were ready to leave again at our out time.
|12:26 p.m. Ready to leave on the last loop|
Back out on the blue/pink loop for the last 15-miles. We weren't on the trail for more than five minutes when directly in front of us there was a loud "BOOM!" Freebie threw on the brakes & tried to whirl! Linda managed to keep her seat! There was a man with a Huge black powder rifle firing just around the trees from where our trail merged & turned away. Nothing like a little adrenalin to keep you moving!
The three of us continued on. We were drizzled on a few times, but by the second half of the loop the sun came out! That's because we'd all worn our rain gear! The trails were still slippery, but were actually drying out in some areas. I'd so looked forward to this ride, hoping for a bright sunny day... Even with the rain -- it always feels So good to get out there & GO! Khari was strong all day & as per usual - didn't spook once! When she puts on her game face - she's as professional as it gets. Drafting the leaders, she can set her own pace, stop to poo or grab food as she wants, then move out & catch back up. This doesn't win us any rides, but it's sure a nice way to travel :-)
We crossed the finish line at 2:16 p.m. in 3rd place!
|2:17 p.m. Our Finish!|
Sweet! After sixteen-years in the sport - I have a mare that's reached 1,000 miles. 20-fifties without a pull. Not bad for a backyard horseman :-) I reached my personal goal of 2,000 endurance miles at this ride too. Butch was waiting, we took Khari back to camp & washed all the mud off before presenting for her final VC. Her only low was gut sounds... which is not like her - but she just didn't have the time to fuel-up that she usually gets.
|Butch trots Khari for completion~|
Only one rider out of the 14 who finished showed for BC. It was a really tough trail. The rain & cold temperatures didn't make it any easier on horses who'd just acclimatized to our short summer of 80's. When we returned to our camp, the sun came out & it actually felt warm again! Khari laid down, then began eating her hay :-) Dory came over with her camera, saying that her 3,000- mile retired endurance horse FT, used to do the same. She took some cute photos that she's going to forward to me. I'll post one. Sirie came over & laid next to Khari,other friends stopped by. Poor Khari - she gave us all a look like; "You know... I was trying to take a nap here! :-) I wasn't as honest with her as I should have been going into this ride. I should have & could have done more conditioning - but was distracted by the fun of riding my new girl. I won't make that mistake again.
Heidi & her crew did a first-class job of making everyone feel welcome, marking a super beautiful trail & arranging a beautiful ride-camp! With four Vets, there was No Waiting! It didn't feel a bit Bare Bones! :-) But... I'm still going to hassle her to have the logo made for t-shirts! :-)