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

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Our Finish~ On a High Note!

1,625 feet up Mt.Washington
I was so hopeful of another ride before year end.  I wanted a little cushion between me & the fifth place rider in the Derby.  It was dark & raining when I left home yesterday morning.  Joyce had wanted to do this ride again this year & as long as it didn't start pouring - she decided this would be the Day!  The rain had stopped & the temperature was maybe 40 when we started out.
At the edge of the woods~  We climbed to 1,700 ft. in 4-mi.
It didn't take Farah long to realize where we were going!  Our last time up here was on June 22nd - it was a Totally different kind of day!   Both horses had to dig in & did some grunting as they pushed up the tiny, twisty, steep trail.  I always want to stop for photos the minute the views open up.
Mt. Pilchuck to the south - high point 2,200 ft.
By the time we'd climbed up to the road, we'd gone five-miles & climbed to 1,700 ft.  With the heavily overcast skies - it was great to have such clear air beneath the cloud cover & I was very happy to have the views!
Almost 1 p.m. & a low layer of clouds moves in~
We decided to see just how far we could go, Joyce wanted to at least get a feel for that section to see if there might be anyway to loop around.  We decided to go out another five-miles, then - if we couldn't orientate ourselves - head back.
Joyce & Target
We climbed to Barbara's Bench, then kept going.  There was up, more up & yet more!  We saw fresh logging, which explained the heavy use of the road.  Again we went around the little valley & over to the Stimson Hill side.  We took the lower fork of two roads - where it ended -  we could look down at the Stillaquamish & 530 heading to Darrington!
The Stillaquamish River & 530 to Darrington
The Google Earth image below, is as close as I could come to reproducing the above photo.
Looking East toward Darrington~
 The day would have been oppressive, dark, brooding, quiet - but we both think that we were about drowning in the negative ions!  At ten-miles & by after 2p.m. we knew we'd have to turn back or run out of daylight.  We didn't want to be out on Grandview after dark!
Whitehorse Peak
I had to zoom in & get this last image of Whitehorse Mountain.  On the way back, there's of course...  Lots of down!  Lots!  We got off & did some jogging along side our long suffering mounts!  :-)  Both found growing fresh grass & plenty of water so were doing just fine!
Clouds moving by below us~
It started cooling off a little, we were doing a good trot - when around a corner came two ATV's going like Bats from Hell!  It seemed forever before they looked up enough to actually SEE us!  Joyce had jumped off Target, Farah was holding her own - when they slowed down & the noise level dropped.  Good adrenaline rush for us!  Otherwise - we hadn't seen a soul.
Our fearless Leader!  We'll go That Way!  :-)
It's always so hard to head back from up there - feeling like we've miles to go & wanting to ride them!  By the time we'd climbed back to Barbara's Bench, the sun was starting to set!  Joyce had a dinner to attend & time was running out fast!
View from Barbara's Bench 2015 ft.
We kept moving right along, knowing that we were racing daylight.
Almost 3:30 p.m. - Stunning Sunset over the Olympics
All too soon, we were back onto the lower trails.  I say lower - but we were still just over 1,000 ft.  We dropped below the cloud layer & again saw the sun as it came through the clear-cuts, turning the air & all it touched golden.
After 4 p.m. My golden girl~
We set a speedy trot down Grandview heading for Joyce's!  We beat dusk by a few seconds at least!  :-)  I think Joe was ready to get in his Sheriff's car & come looking for us!  So glad he didn't have to!
Our Route

Our year-end Derby miles total;  1,423.  (Not including 44 miles I rode in January - I signed up too late for those to count.)  Then, only one ride I forgot to log :-)  Garmin Connect recorded;  1,478 - 360+ hours & 120 rides.

 As my last ride of the year - it's time to thank my good mare - for taking me along for all those miles!  I believe that she's the highest mileage horse in this years Derby.  Riders finishing ahead of me were riding multiple horses.  Farah never took a lame step, never quit,  gave more when I asked her & has gained so much both physically & mentally!  Now - I'm dealing with an over abundance of self-confidence.  We tried a lot of new things & ended up coming back to the place we both enjoy most - trail...

Heartfelt thanks to the friends who helped me with my goals;  Joyce, Linnea & Linda - for the miles they shared with me!  A special Thank You - to Justin Foss for keeping the shoes on the mare that carried us 100% sound over all those miles!  To Dean Essex, DVM, James Bryant DVM & Brandi Holohan, DVM - all of whom contributed to our cause!  Finally - & yet again to - my husband, who supports every mile, while keeping the Bronco & trailer smoothing running along - for the many, many miles we spend on the road to get to the trails~


  1. Congrats on a great year. It was good to get to know you thru the Derby and look at your beautiful pictures and trail. Here is to a fabulous 2014!

  2. Thanks Tammy! That goes for me too, feel like I made new friends! Cheers to the new year!

  3. Thanks for that nice write-up, it is inspiring! How old is Farah? What kind of warmblood? Love hearing about your wonderful last ride of the year.

  4. There's a tab at the top of this page for Farah, she's a different one :-)

  5. What a lovely ride! Thank you for sharing it with us.


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