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

Saturday, May 9, 2015

CHC Annual Chili Ride

Parking filling up!
Why not we thought?  We belong to both the Cascade Horse Club & Traildusters Chapters of Back Country Horsemen - but had never gone on an organized ride.  Mel was guiding a ride up Blanchard Mountain to the Samish overlook.  I've ridden there a few times over the years, the last time was with Best of America - in 2013.  We left in a few small groups, I was with Linda, Toni & Carrie.  No one was real familiar with the trails, but most everyone thought they could find the way :-)
On our way :-)
 It was just another of a string of exceptional days - sunshine & forecast to maybe break a record for warmth.  The trails were dry & we were having a great time.  We went past Lizard Lake - & were looking for the correct trail when we came to several men & boys working on the signage.  We asked for directions to Oyster Dome - thinking that was where we were going - NOT - rather than the Samish Overlook!   So, the men pointed us forward!
Tree's over the trail~
Finding these trees over the trail at rider height - probably should have been our first clue - but we just dismounted & continued on...  The trail got steeper, more technical - technical to the point that we were wondering just how much climbing over rock & tree roots we'd have to do?  The horses dug in & we Climbed!  Then - we Stopped!  We literally - had - Nowhere to Go!  Suddenly we were surrounded by hikers - at least 40 - more than I'd ever seen before!  All totally Astounded to see four horses where we were.  No space, just a very steep hillside, with a lot of trees & no more trail!
Farah waits - thinking I'm sure;  "What next?"
All these people were taking our pictures, almost surrounding us!  I asked them to please not surround the horses - it was almost intimidating to me!  Let alone four horses in tight quarters.  I could see that there was one heck of a view out there - so tied Farah off & went to see.
View from Oyster Dome~
At 2,075 ft. it was quite a view - with a straight down drop-off.  Just so beautiful it took your breath away.
Looking out at the islands~
While I was snapping photos, the rest of my group were asking about how we were to get down?  Yes...  The way we'd come up...  Thankfully - all the hikers were so courteous - they squeezed out of our way, giving the horses full use what trail there was.  Good horses all!
At the Samish Overlook~
By now, we were behind the rest of our group - but caught up to them at the Overlook!  We let the horses graze & took a few photos before starting back.
Farah & I talk with a hiker~
On a day like this - everyone feels so wonderful - that it's almost like one big family - warm & so friendly!  Linda & I decided to start back on our own & both Count & Farah let us know that THEY knew the way back! 
Of course there's logging...
It was so sad to see a once beautiful trail reduced to clear-cut.  But - I'm sure there are many reasons that this popular place has to be logged too...  Nothing in this state is sacred when it comes to logging...
The Spread!
We all arrived safe & sound back at the parking lot to find this incredible spread of food - all prepared by Jan!  Chili, corn bread muffins, hot dogs, brownies, I could go on - but I was too busy eating!
Map of the trails~
What an incredible day, wonderful people, great food & the camaraderie of fellow horsemen!  This ride will now be on our yearly list :-)

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