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

Saturday, April 27, 2013

ACTHA Competitive Trail Ride

Washington State Horse Park
This event drew us for several reasons.  It was our first visit to the park & we were going as members of our local Saddle-Up group - so we'd be socializing & enjoying an evening pot-luck.  I was interested in the ride itself, my first with the ACTHA.  Since one of my favorite Endurance Ride Managers - Gail, was managing this ride, I knew it would be fun regardless.

The park is really going to be an amazing facility when complete.  It already has the bare bones that give you the feel for what the final outcome will be.  The arena's are amazing - huge!  The cross-country course is beautiful, nicely laid-out over the rolling forested hillside & with good lines-of-sight for the jumps we saw.  The Bolander Extreme Trail Course looks challenging, it's in a gully area which helped with the lay-out of the obstacles.  For a rider who likes miles & miles of trail though - it's disappointing.   From what I rode & understand in talking with others who have memberships, it's mostly limited to six-miles, without looping back.  Maybe in the future there will be the possibility of connecting to other trail systems that may be in the area.
Route of the ride~
We pulled in early Fri. afternoon, it was warm, sunny & beautiful.  The RV hook-up sites were wooded, semi-private & landscaped by mother nature with blooming wildflowers!  Stalls are required if you overnight.  They were decent sized, safe & clean.  After getting our camp squared away - Lynn, Jennifer & I headed out for a ride.  Both of them had visited the park before & everything they'd said about these trails was true!  Perfect footing, beautiful pine forest & a couple nice views.
That evening we sat out around a portable gas fire "pit" & enjoyed an incredible pot luck dinner.  Later - the stars were blazing across the sky.  The drawback - is the noise from I-90.  It was roaring like a raging river, ebbing & flowing most of the night.  This is one place where I think a sound wall would be appropriate?  Ear plugs if we stay again...
Our Saddle-Up group!
Sat. morning was another incredible day with a nice breeze & clouds blowing across a blue, blue sky.  The ride meeting was well attended, with pretty much any & all questions answered.  Equipment/tack allowed was a big topic.  There were plenty of handouts, rules, description of each obstacle & map of the course.
Jennifer on Idaho, Connie on Farah
I think there were somewhere around 60 riders, I didn't want to spend time trying to keep Farah calm if a large group was ahead of us coming into an obstacle.  Instead - I asked Jennifer if I could ride with her, since her ride plan was to get out early & complete the course in a timely fashion.  It had been years since the two of us had been out together & we really had fun - both wishing there were more miles to do!
Our return with only one obstacle remaining.
The obstacles were well laid-out & pretty easy to negotiate - good form is important in this sport, not just getting through in one piece :-)  We ran into Gail - who told us to slow down, which we were happy to do!  We returned with only the rope "gate" between us & a finish.

Jennifer went first, Farah did not want to be left behind... so Gail kept us company while we waited our turn.  Butch didn't get the first part of us unhooking the gate & going through - so the video above starts as I was deciding how to latch it!    Once Farah figured out that Idaho was waiting for her - she paid attention to what I was asking her to do!  Big thank you to Jennifer for having that handy treat as a reward :-)

After watching some of our friends finish, Butch & I went back over to the gate to see how some of the more experienced riders did it.  We were really impressed with the caliber of horses, riders & the training that goes into doing this sport!  There were long hold-ups at obstacles though - which did away with any forward momentum on the trail...   I think the first requirement in way of training - would be to have a horse that can calmly wait!

From the little I have learned - the ACTHA differs from the Competitive Trail that we did in the early 90's.   Those rides were 25-miles in length with the judges out on the course at natural obstacles (Sometimes they hid in the trees!) & a five-mile pace required to complete in time.  This is shorter in distance, some of the obstacles placed & more finesse required for top scores.  Tack & clothing too can count toward your final score. There are five divisions at which you can compete, I rode as a "Scout", the beginning level.  Another interesting horse sport!

Garmin Stats~

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Head for the Hills~

Snow covered peaks of the Cascades
My favorite place to ride... high & wide open country.  Sunshine - blue, blue skies - the kind of day that you wish would last the entire year...  After our weekend of walking through fire, screaming police sirens, smoke bombs & flares - both Farah & I were ready for some quiet time!

It was quiet too, but I pulled in to find several vehicles in the horse trailer parking again.  A couple ladies with dogs who were offended when I asked them if they could read?  I think they got my point.  When we were about a half-mile out - a loose dog came running full speed & barking at us - one of those "under control but off leash" dogs that are now allowed.  His owner came out of the bushes to try to catch him.  We flew by at the trot.

Once up on top - the beauty of the views & the day took my breath away.  The newest clear-cut on the trail to the monument has opened up yet more views of the Sound & was actually, almost dry now that it's exposed to sunshine!
Olympics in the background
(Still looking for the Renegade buried in the mud years ago Diane :-)  Once over to the west side of the mountain, there was a fantastic fresh breeze blowing up off the water.
A now "common" photo~
The trees, grasses, ground all erupting in fresh spring growth!
Farah would have happily spent the rest of the afternoon grazing, but after a short while we headed back over to the east side.
The lake was like a deep blue jewel~
On our way down, we ran into a large group of people with bikes.  They moved over to the side of the road, very polite.  Then when we came to where the blue bucket used to be, we headed down again - my idea was to do a good gallop back up to the top.  On the way we passed two more ladies with bikes & a third closer to the bottom.  I told them we were going to gallop back up & to please stay to the side.   We turned & Farah knew instantly that she could Go!  :-)  We Went!  The girls did stay to the side & Farah didn't even break stride as we galloped past!  Fun!
Flowering Currants
The flowering currents almost "lined" the trail & looked stunning against the green foliage.  Once back at the trailer I let Farah graze on the tall grass along side the road before we loaded up to head home.

I downloaded my GPS stats & added my days miles to the Distance Derby.  Yippee!  We're now over 300-miles for the year & that without January miles!

 Victoria by hhmstead at Garmin Connect - Details

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Bill Richey Mounted Police Training

Walking through fire~
This Clinic was as good as advertised!  Bill Richey is one heck of a nice guy & has a unique way of teaching extremely diverse horses & their riders.  If I were asked to describe it all in one sentence - it would be;  "Facing Fear!"  You can see the pictures, watch the video's & it still doesn't give a complete picture of how Bill progresses each horse/rider team through obstacles with distractions that most of us wouldn't attempt, even in our nightmares!  :-)   Pun intended!
Butch took photos, a little video, helped Bill, riders, horses, moved obstacles & was the "go to" man for Farah & I!  We didn't attend the first day, but arrived Fri. evening to spend the night & be ready for Sat.  We were met by Patrick - Farm Manager, nicest guy around - who showed us to a fresh stall for Farah.   We sat out that evening with some really fine people, swapped stories & shared their fire & grill for dinner.

Sat. morning I saddled Farah at the trailer & we entered the arena as a few of the riders were warming up.  (Luckily - I had Not mounted up yet!)  In the next instant Farah erupted with a head-down full fledged bucking fit similar to an exploding volcano.  She ripped the reins from my hands & caught off guard, I still managed to step on a rein & get her back just in time for her to again leap five feet off the ground in another bucking fit & again deliberately ripping the reins from my hands - took off across the arena.  I caught her - apologized to all concerned & with Patrick's help - took her to the outside arena, attached a long lounge line & watched as she tore around me at a full on gallop in deep pea gravel/sand footing.  This went on for what seemed forever, until she finally dropped into a trot, eventually slowed & came to me with a big blow, head down & apologetic...  (Third heat cycle - third tantrum.)

This did NOT make my day!  I took her back inside, mounted up & joined the class already in session.  She was tense, I was tense - but it became so intense that the only recourse was to relax & go with the flow - which we did.  The "normal" obstacles were easy for us, but as the day went on - as the horses would relax with what was happening around them, Bill would up the ante - siren, smoke, flares, barking & attacking dog etc.  I think all of us were ready for a tall one by the time the day ended!
Smoke so thick it was almost dark!
Sunday, I'd spoken to Patrick about one of the trainers at Butler Hill, Dusty - who agreed to "put a ride" on Farah before class.  I was hoping & so was he - that she would go to bucking.  No luck...  instead Dusty gave her a beautiful ride & the two of them were a pleasure to watch.
Dusty on Farah
If I lived closer, I'd have Dusty do some western training with her.  He's quiet, demands respect & has that slow methodical way with horses that only comes from those naturally  born horsemen.  He tried for some bucking, got a couple cow-hops - but not the show we were hoping for.

On into Bills' clinic we went.  This day - which I don't think any of us believed possible - was even more intense than the day before.  I was thrilled with how Farah responded.  She LOVED "extraction" & lead the group going in to surround the police car with lights, siren & barking dog - then, follow along as close as possible as it drove safely out of the "crowd"!  :-)
We head to the car as Bill directs
 She also enjoyed "chasing" the car!  :-)
Chasing a police car?
The two highlights of the clinic though - walking through fire lines, which we did a lot of & of course facing a flying heilcopter!
Farah (far right)  spots the chopper!  Her "giraffe" look!
My plan, besides staying topside, was to stay out of trouble, so I managed to keep us off to the side, next to a sensible Arabian gelding!  :-)
Here he's coming in low & fast
We were all very proud!  All our horses HELD their ground!!!  Yippee!  It was pretty amazing!  Needless to say, for safety's sake, (Butch stayed well away from both horses & helicopter.)  the pilot didn't fly close enough that there was any chance of a downdraft putting us in his way!

Bill was far from done with us though!  We went back inside & this time did it all & all at once!  Instead of "lights, camera, action", it the Mounted Police version of ; "fire, siren, smoke, flares, cars, dogs etc."

Everyone was all smiles as the day came to a close.  With the welcome sunshine, Bill invited us all outside to give pointers on how to desensitize our horses for mounted shooting.  Butch & I watched from just behind the shooter.  Farah, at first stood beside us, but after a couple rounds - moved to a safer position behind us!  :-)

It was close to 6 p.m. by the time we picked up our certificates of achievement & headed home.  Thanks Bill!  (Who has an evil little laugh! :-)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

It Happened Again!

Bright green foliage of Spring~
I'd scheduled another of those "must" do appointments, teeth cleaning :-(  Guess what?  It was another stellar morning!  The personnel in the dentist office - when I explained my dilemma, responded with the suggestion of booking my schedule solid - so that the rest of the residents of WA would benefit from my weather predicting knack!  Not!

Instead, since the afternoon was staying almost as nice as the morning, I saddled Farah & we headed out to enjoy the filtered sunshine & get in a short gallop or two.
The Wetland has taken over the access road~
Sometimes things stay the same, sometimes they change quickly.  Since the last time I was up here, the wood debris had been washed away from the water's edge & opened up the flow over the road.
The water of the wetland was as still as a mirror~
It was one of only three rides so far this year where I could get away with long sleeves & a vest.  The bugs are really coming out now - even if somewhat delayed from "normal" temperature years.
Down the hill~
We took some trails through the woods, went through sections of the trees where there wasn't a trail & came out high enough to see the way I take on west.
Here's a section of the steep hill down~
We didn't go as far today, it was getting late & after finding my second Trillium of the season, we turned for home.  The first two I'd seen last week looked pretty "sick", falling over on their stems.  This one was at least healthy~
The view down & across the width of the valley is an ever-changing panorama~
Mt. Pilchuck & Green Valley
Great way to get the vision of where you live in the big, wide, world.   This view has changed a several times over the years, but I've always wished the the Homestead sat up here!  We stopped to talk to Pat & family - the puppies are All too cute!  As we turned out at the bottom of our road, Butch was turning up!  Farah was Very Happy to see him & we zoomed right up to the gate behind his truck!  :-)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Farah's Lesson Today~

It seems this spring as though Farah has been cycling every other day!  Either she's witchy, or she's a sweetie.  Today was a "sweet" day & I think it worked to our advantage.  No bucking this time, a more lackadaisical attitude- which contributed to a smoother stride & nicer ride for Sandra. 

Farah is collecting up more & more on the trail, she's naturally athletic & yesterday... when under saddle, she stopped, I felt something brush the bottom of my inside stirrup - then looked down to see the toe of her hind foot, up & scratching the side of her cheek~!  Wow!  Now that's "talent"!  :-)  A definite first for me!  The last thing I wanted was for her to somehow catch that foot in her headstall, so Very Carefully asked her to put the leg back down!  :-)

Today Sandra was working to see where Farah seems the most comfortable with her head set.  We might try my Mylar combination with the nose piece next time to give a little more tilt to the nose - since I do get this when I'm riding her on the trail.  More for me to learn, more for us both to work on.  Sandra's help has been invaluable - it's the journey~

Monday, April 15, 2013

"Twas" a Cold One!

The Monument on a Cold Spring Day!
Was needing some saddle-time.  The weekend was a tough one, the week had been too, so even though the sky really looked like we'd get drenched at least once, Linda & I headed out late morning.  I was pretty sure that the day would be warming up, so only wore a couple light weight layers.  Wrong!  We froze, or at least I did!  Linda was smart & wore more layers, thicker layers & was cold along with me :-)

Regardless, we covered a lot of ground checked on the progress made by the last work party just a couple weeks ago.  A lot was accomplished, with plenty more to be done, as per usual on Western Washington mountain trail. 
Now we can see the bridge~
The hard working volunteers cut an amazing amount of downed tree off the little bridge & stacked it to the side.  When the loggers were finished with the clear-cut, they left the trees in the gully.  Winds came up & of course blew them down onto the bridge.  Now - there's just a huge root ball covered with dirt that's going to have to go somewhere if the trail is to be re-established.  No lack of work for the future!

It was almost 4 p.m. by the time we got back, having covered a slower paced 12-miles.  Still cold, but warmer lower down, with less wind - than it had been up on top!  I pulled in at home just ahead of a Big Black cloud that unleashed a big strike of lightening & hail as I'd finished my chores!  Good timing!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Another 30+ Mile Week~

Smooth, fast ride~
As usual, I'm in awe of Joyce's natural innate ability to lay out a ride.  This one was smooth, gave us a couple really nice trotting loops on good footing & kept us off the wet & muddy trails most of the route.

We left after 11 a.m.  with only two other trailers in the parking area.  Never did run into anyone out there - but the area can easily hide many, many riders :-)  Once the worst of the competitive edge was worked off with what uphill trotting we could find, our two horses settled down & impressed us with their steady over 10+ mph. trot. 

Farah has taken to trying to intimidate geldings - if I bring her behind them, she tries to nip them on the butt.  If she's with another mare, such as Dena's Bella & snarls at her...  Bella just snarls back!  :-)  Today Jesse just did his level best to ignore her!  Just as we were heading back, the first of the sprinkles hit - by the time we were at the trailer parking, the wind came up in a rush & the rain hit sideways!  Perfect timing!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

When Good Men Die...

Farah's first shoes~
This morning when my phone rang & I saw it was my friend Linda, I was glad - as Linda always brightens my day & it had been a tough week.  This day - her news stunned me silent & saddened me beyond words...  The man who has kept my horses on the trail, sound & happy for many, many years now, was gone...

Art was a Farrier that could ALWAYS be counted on.  First - it was the evening call the day before your appointment to remind you.  He was ALWAYS on time, or Early!  Then - there was his incredible craftsmanship.   When I met him, he'd come highly recommended both by Linda & another friend.  I was ready to take Khari to Bryce for the multi-day, she had yet to even do a 50-mile ride & I was so worried to be trying a new Farrier just before this trip!  I shouldn't have worried, even with a first time shoeing on a strange horse, his work was so exemplary that we made it through some of the most incredible trails in the country, over two-weeks of travel & days of trail, with all four shoes & no lameness issues.   When Jim Bryant, DVM did Khari's pre-purchase exam & complimented Art's work - I told him & thought he'd bust his buttons!  :-)  When I brought Farah home, she'd always been barefoot, has a big stride & feet that needed some shaping & work.  Art was our man!

If a shoe came off, I'd place a call from the trail & by the next day - even if it was a Sunday, I'd have a shoe back on!  Lately, since she's been moving in a much more collected frame, we were getting some forging issues & again, Art was right out - fixed the problem & always meant it when he said to; "Call with any problems".  I can't say how much I learned from this man - to watch the wear on all four feet, check to see how even it was, also from diagonal to diagonal.  That hind shoes worn more than the front was a Good Thing!  Never radical, always with the best interest of the horse above that of the rider!

He loved his hunting trips, had a young horse that he'd raised & groomed every evening.   He was so happy when we put in our electronic gate opener & gave him the combination!  That resulted in him scaring the sHit out of me one day when I was up in the barn & he walked up behind me!  :-)  Always a professional, a gentleman & a cowboy...  he will be Greatly missed by all who knew & loved him...

Happy Trails Art, may they be long & beautiful~

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What Tree Farms Do~

Convoluted trails~
When I pulled in to Bracken on this day - I felt totally disoriented!  The nice trees that acted as a buffer from Grandview Rd. - were gone...  The porta potty looked totally out of place/time with even the large tree that was behind it gone...
Welcome to the "new" look at Bracken Rd.
I had to remind myself that yes - it's a "tree farm" - their business is growing trees & I'm ever so thankful, as are all the horsemen in this area - that they allow us the access to ride!  Without these wonderful large areas - we'd be relegated to the formal "lineal trails", finding private land-owners who would allow riding - who???  Or heading for the state parks that allow horses.  These are few & far between! 
New Bold Signage!  The RULES!
It seems almost every spring, when this area gets inundated with riders from all over, north, south, the islands & beyond...  problems crop up.  There's the people who leave poo on the gravel, or this morning, someone hadn't used a shedding blade on their horse EVER, but decided that it needed to be done before they rode, so mountains of hair topped off with a pile of manure was all that remained of their visit.  Rude!  So darn Rude!

I could go on...  it's so rude too, to let your horse leave a pile right in the middle of the paved portions of the Centennial Trail...  WHY I ask myself when I see this???  Most of the time I can tell when Farah is going to leave a pile & I darn sure don't have her do it on the paving or on the path!  If it did somehow happen, how hard is it to dismount & kick it off to the side???  Must be darn hard for some...

Anyway - for those of you who are conscientious enough to pick-up after yourselves & your animals, I salute you for being the responsible people you are!  As to the rest of you - I hope I don't actually SEE you leaving your next mess!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Another SVT Ride!

Our 14-mile ride
It was gray & drizzling at home, but Dena said that the weather her way was a little better, so I loaded Farah & we left for Duvall.  As we traveled south, the weather did improve - big thunderheads moving by, but no rain when we saddled up.  It was after noon, there were a few other trail users & it was a beautiful Spring afternoon.  Looking down the straight stretches of trail & seeing the new leaf buds getting ready to open, along with the blooms of the flowering Cherry's was like something out of a children's story book.

I'm sorry to say that I didn't take any pictures...  Dena & I were busy catching up & the mares were moving along at such a nice walk, with some trotting thrown in.  Just before our somewhat "planned" turn-round point at a bridge, we saw a man with two large loose dogs that he was trying to hold by their collars.   Rather than push our luck & go on to the bridge & closer to the dogs, we decided to go ahead a turn back.  Just as we did, the rain started, a big dark gray cloud right over our heads!  :-)  As we said, once you're out there & committed to a trail, rain isn't so bad!  :-)

Bella did pull a front shoe, Dena had a EZ boot in her saddle bags so with that on we continued back - arriving at the trailers just as the sun returned!  Great Ride!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Butterfly's, Blooms & Bugs!

Morning Cloak
Anytime I have to schedule an appointment of some type in advance, it's 100% assured that day will be a beauty - not the kind of day for sitting in an office waiting your turn...  As I drove out the gate yesterday morning - I found the visitor above sunning herself on one of the fence rails.  I did my errands, then hurried home, ate a late lunch & saddled up.
Part of our route on the Centennial Trail & our ride today
The first thing that struck me, up in "our" woods, was the Salmonberry blooms!  As we approached a semi-shade/sun area - the Morning Cloak butterflies were playing in the air over our heads!  They too - must be enjoying the bright pink blooms!
Salmonberry in full bloom!
Then - there were the bugs!  I didn't get a picture of what I've always called the "buzzing bug" - there's usually at least one that buzzes by me in my woods & when I'm out on the trails too.  I have no idea what they are, they've never landed on me & they're fast!  We headed north, then over to the far side & soon smelled...
Skunk Cabbage!
 Just after I took this photo the sneeze hit!  This late afternoon, we heard dirt bikes coming fast!  We moved fast to find a place to get off to the side - but thankfully they took a different trail.  As we were taking our grazing break by the gas lines, two bikes were coming down from the north, but again took a different trail when they saw us.
Heading home for Dinner!
We covered just over ten-miles, the roads had hardened up a lot with the last few days of dry weather & with all the rock, we took it easy except for a good gallop!  :-)  Our slippery-slide downhill obstacle - had dried out a little, no puddle at the bottom & Farah received a A+ for negotiating it perfectly!  As we came home, I realized that we're doing our rides now - on a loose rein.  Contact yes, but more & more Farah is working off my seat & I'm using the reins less & less!  Of course - all bets are off if there happens to be a nice area of something GREEN that's in a much better direction than the one we're traveling in :-)

Wishing all my fiends well, who are busy packing & will be heading over to the first ride of our season - Home On The Range.  I'll miss seeing everyone, love the ranch, but also love our Granddaughter Skyla - who's second birthday party we'll be attending that day!  :-)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Trotting on~

Newly improved Whitehorse Trail-Head
Since Ben had stayed over another night - today it was time to take him home :-(   (I decided to take Farah along & do a ride on the Whitehorse trail again.)   Jentry had a friend visiting, so Farah gave pony rides to the children.  She's till a little young to really like giving pony rides, & keeping her nose out of the nice green, growing grass was a challenge...  but she managed to create some Huge smiles!
Looking east toward Darrington
 It was a strange day weather wise.  Overcast, gray, barometric pressure was very low I'm sure.  I was a little tired, sad to see the end of Ben's stay...  & thought I'd just amble along enjoying Farah's big walk.  Not to be!  We were just a few strides down the trail when Farah moved right up into her trot.  I continue to be amazed at the easy way this mare can pick them up & put them down in such an effortless, smooth fashion.  It's been many, many years since I've ridden a horse who loves to trot, go & see as much as Farah.  It's a gift that I really didn't appreciate as much as I should have with Jas - I hadn't ridden all the "so-so" horses in between.  Horses who liked to spook, horses who didn't have any "go", horses with issues.

As anyone knows who's owned horses, you can't just pick one out of the herd & know that you & said horse will be a match.  Even training & trainers are no sure-fire way to insure success.  I know - we've spent more money that I want to think about on that...   No, it sometimes takes years & miles to really get a feel for each other.  Then if the feel isn't right - it's such a bummer.  Most of us spend a lot of time still trying to find a fix - usually without success & again with large expenditures of money on saddles, pads, anything that is advertized to help!
Forston end of the six-miles of open trail!
It's never quick & it's never easy - but over the time Butch & I have had our horses at home, we came to the conclusion that it can take up to a couple years - for a horse to decide if they like you, like their living arrangement & like the job you've put them to.  A few weeks ago - it was as if something clicked between Farah & me.   Not that she isn't usually mannerly & it was obvious that she likes living with us, but finally one morning when I walked up - she was there, she was in my face & she let me know that I'd become hers :-)   The lines of communication were fully open, the trust was there & we both knew it.

When we traveled the trail last week, it cemented the bond.  That took a Lot of trust on both our parts, to handle the traffic, noise & unexpected stuff that came along on our way.  Today - when she moved into her trot, on her own, without being asked & continued it over 12-miles of trail - I knew that we'd arrived!  It seemed a simple thing & may be to some, but to me - it means the World!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Biking on the Trail~

Grandson Ben & our bikes!
The Bronco is way more used to having the horse trailer on the back than a bike rack!  But with Ben visiting for a couple days, we thought it would be a great opportunity to introduce him to the Centennial Trail! 
Ben & his BMX
The "tradition" has been created, to start all trail "newbies" under the arch in Snohomish.  The day started out hazy, but it was pretty warm & we started off at a nice pace, Ben well out in the lead!
Ben leads the way~
Ben didn't expect to see any other BMX bikes out there, but as we moved north, two boys passed us going toward Snohomish - both riding bikes similar to Ben's.  It's an uphill grade, so before long...
The bikes needed a rest~ :-)
We sat for a while on the bench overlooking the Pilchuck River - what a perfect way to spend a morning?  We continued on, Ben asked if we had any particular destination?   Not really - a little further up we saw a Bald Eagle!
He's the white spot, 1/3rd of the way up from the grass in the frame
At just under five-miles we crossed Machias Rd. & could see the roof of Machias Station up ahead!  That looked like a good stopping point to us both!  Ben showed me some of the tricks he can do with that bike!  We decided to start back & Ben wanted to switch bikes.  OK, I was game...  after less than 100 ft. - my respect for Grandson Ben leaped up several notches!   Talk about Hard to Ride!  Wow!  Effort expended is Huge!  Especially when the boys don't even sit on the seats~!  Good kid that he is - we switched back!  Our round-trip even with me forgetting to turn the GPS back on after our break, was over ten-miles.

On the way back, we had a little "head-wind" - but also the downhill grade, so made good time!  Enough good time that we headed for the bakery!  A cup of soup & sandwich hit the spot!

At home, we did chores & waited for Butch to get home so that the three of us could go riding again!  This time we decided to leave from Haller Park in Arlington & head north over the bridge.  It was just a stellar evening - birds singing, people friendly & blue evening sky.
Ben & Butch on the Haller Bridge
Ben & I were a bit worn...  I was anyway!  So we decided on the Bryant Store as our destination stop.   Ben was again staying Way out in front of the two of us!   He has No gears though!  It was about 3-miles of beautiful trail to the bench at the Bryant trail-head.   The bikes were complaining - so after another short break, we were headed back, with dinner on our minds!
Butch & Ben under the arch~
On our way we stopped for a photo under the arch!  Once back at the park, Ben did some swinging while we loaded the bikes.  Another 6-mile ride!  So, on Ben's first time on the trail, he rode that BMX well over 17-miles!  What a kid!  Someday...  want to be able to ride the Whitehorse trail all the way to Darrington!  I think I'll take Farah!!!  :-)