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

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

New trail at Victoria~

Blazing sunshine at home this morning, as I traveled north - the sky filled with low hanging gray, almost fog like clouds.  In Arlington, it was thick enough to block most of the sun.  By the time I was past 530, the air had cleared & the sun returned.  Yet another in a long string of sunshine days - our norm for over a year now...
Fresh grass
We left from Linda's today-  I wanted to see the new trail that the bikes have put in & changes they'd made to another trail.  Taking the long way around, we ran into a couple hiking with their dog.  Stopping to chat - they are from the Auburn, CA area & planning to relocated to Camano Is.   Smart to scope out the local riding areas & they had already visited Fire Mountain!
The thin haze covered the Sound~
Once up on top, you could plainly see the haze had filtered the earlier bright sunshine.  It was one of those kick-back days - we enjoyed a couple fast trots on the trails & soon Linda directed us to the new one.
Blocked Trail~
On the Magic Forest Trail, the corner that has been there forever, was blocked with limbs, rocks etc.  The bike riders had re-routed it to the other side of the big Cedar that's on the left.  We don't know why- nothing wrong with the corner.
Dry views~
First time in my memory that I've seen this view of Whitehorse & Three Fingers with their glaciers melted down so low...  You can see the haze in the air here too.
New Signage too~
We turned onto the new trail, soon coming to this new sign.  The trail took a turn here & horses are directed around a downhill section.  We're not sure why - but it works for us.
Linda & Count going through the middle of an old stump!
The trail was well laid out - but very soft in many places.  If enough horses go over it - it will be compacted faster than just the bikes would be able to do.
Another sign~
As we came off the by-pass, there was another sign at the bottom with a vine maple bent over to mark the spot.
Old road~
The trail dropped us down onto this old logging road that was once a trail.  Linda said it wouldn't take much to get it re-opened.  The bikes plan to start another section of trail off this road eventually.
Toward the west side~
Heading back toward Linda's on the trail I hadn't ridden since the hill was clear-cut, the change in the view was apparent!  From forest, bright sunshine over the new clear-cut area.  Linda has finally made a path through the worst of the left-over logging debris, it allowed us to complete our loop.
Wood cutters~
  As we came off the top & onto the road, there were wood cutters working away to load up the left-overs.  They were nice enough to shut down the equipment & we stopped to chat.  We spent as much time chatting today as we did riding :-)  Almost!
Our route~
All the zig/zags to the far right - is the new trail, it cuts right down the hillside & it is really pretty.  Very nice to have new trail, it's in an area that shouldn't be too hard to maintain.  Most of the trails are again open & if this weather holds, we can hope to have access to the trail system for a few extra weeks this season.  Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Carnation Farmers Market~

The drive to Duvall is usually so enjoyable, I take the back roads until the outskirts of Snohomish - where I take the Hwy 2 on ramp from 88th.  The ramp was closed just as I went to make the turn.  Directed to Lincoln street, past the Lord Hill turn & on to Monroe in a solid string of trucks & traffic.  I called Courtney to tell her I'd be late...
Courtney's back patio decor~
I needed some advice on a sewing project I may get started on this fall & Courtney had the expertise to help!  Lunch at the Grange was just a good as usual!
Spectacular flower pots outside the Grange~
The plan was to pick up Mason, (Cassidy had a game in Fall City) then visit the Farmers Market in Carnation.
Made me want to have a picnic!
 This market opens on Tue. afternoons by 3 p.m.
New covered area for the market!
It had been a couple years since I'd been here - the new cover is such a nice improvement!  
There were some wonderful displays of fresh farm products!
Sweet red peppers
Such variety too!
Swirling colors~
Courtney & Mason tried their hand at marbling paper!  Glycerin mixed with water - then add the colored dye of your choice.  Next dip the sprayed paper in the mix & see how it comes out!
I don't think there's any way to go wrong when it comes to playing with bright colors!
Veggies good enough to eat!  :-)
 With a light breeze, brilliant sunshine, friendly vendors, it was a perfect way to spend the afternoon.
Brilliant blooms!
Mason is always hungry & directed us as rapidly as he could toward the food vendors!  A hearty recommendation for the pulled pork sandwich convinced me to place a to go order.  They had a variety of fresh salads, I couldn't pick just one, so decided to try two for tonight's dinner!  With a lemonade drink that included fresh blueberries, I was ready to make the drive home :-)

Monday, September 28, 2015

This is Fall?

Pretty doe
As Farah & I left from home this afternoon, a little later than I'd planned - we saw this beautiful doe at the top of the hill.
Her twins were nearby :-)
With weather as fine as we've been having - it's hard to Not be out & riding!  Things aren't getting done at home - again!  Without Ben to do the mowing, I managed to hit a rock with the mower, bent the blade & now it's out of commission until Butch can get it replaced :-)  Such a shame... :-)
Farah looks at the "Dead" Kubota
Once up on the power lines, there was a truck coming at us.  The driver stopped to say that they'd been contracted to mow under the power lines & had gotten the mower stuck.  Tomorrow they're coming back with the tow truck.
Deep ruts
I've seen this area mowed many times in the past & have to say that I have Never seen a mess like these guys are leaving!  They're going way overboard - into the deep wet soils & it a miracle that they didn't get stuck long before they did!
Our way home~
It was one of those days when I was just along for the ride.  Farah is going better & better every ride!  She will start one of her antics, then stop herself & move on out!  The two of us are working on our partnership - with the changes in my balance on the seat.  The differences are slight - but being in that sweet spot & in perfect rhythm is our goal :-)
Ms. Farah
She started chomping on her bit as we rounded the corner to where the tree had blocked our way last week.  It was too funny when we came to the spot, the tree was cut & her surprise was so obvious :-)
A dry view of Mt. Pilchuck
The logging to the east of Granite Falls has almost denuded the hills now - there's something about clear-cutting that just rubs me raw.  Another ruined view is driving east on Hwy 530 coming into Arlington - seeing that large mountain clear-cut from top to bottom.

The weatherman keeps telling us to enjoy this weather - as it will change, but at this point most of the rain that's been forecast has been a non-event.  I love this weather as much as anyone, but for the sake of Washington's Green - I hope we get the moisture that we so badly need.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Hoofin' It on the Whitehorse~

After the grand-kids left with their parents, Butch & I decided to go ahead & hike the Whitehorse Trail.  We started at Haller Park & walked over the Trestle.  Looking up - we were thrilled to see the Osprey now in place!
Osprey sits atop the Haller Trestle
 Many thanks to Sarah Arney, for spearheading the effort, the Arlington Arts Council & our own Centennial Trail Coalition for contributing the funds to help with the purchase & mounting for the installation of the beautiful Osprey.  What a wonderful work by artist Dan Brown that is now permanently perched on top of the Haller Trestle!

We headed to Resilience Arch & admired the new bricks that are much higher quality with deep etching that will hold up to the elements.  From there - we were on the ballast rock of the old rail line.
On the Trail~
 Such an absolutely gorgeous day - walking along the river was so enjoyable.  We were about a half-mile out when we saw bikes coming toward us!  At first I thought it had to be horsemen - I'd Never seen bikes on this trail!  Too much heavy rock!  But no - it was indeed two men on bikes!
All the way from Darrington!
I am literally 100% sure that these two are the first to have traveled this trail point-to-point!  With only three bridges left to be decked, they had those to detour around on the highway - which was challenging.  Otherwise - it was the rock that made the journey a long one!
Slide Area
Our next surprise - the area of trail that was impacted by the small mud slide, was completely cleared away!  (Using the word small, in comparison to the horrible slide that is foremost in our memories.)  Not at all small when it comes to the man hours that it took to clear all the broken trees & mud away.  Many thanks to Snohomish County Parks & our hard working Park Rangers!
Views of the Stillaquamish~
Throughout this part of the trail, it's easy to take your time, take in the fresh air & appreciate the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
Almost to Cloverdale~
Butch wanted to continue on to Cloverdale & see the new survey work.  I'm hopeful that this is preliminary in preparation for the repair & completion of this section, so critical to everyone looking forward to enjoying the west portion near Arlington.
Interior of the barn roof~
 We met the property managers of this amazing property, originally part of the tree farm properties, then operated as a nursery - at least the year that I first went through this area.  It was a thrill to be invited in to see it.  The owner has future plans to restore the barn which already sports a new roof!
Up in the loft - was the surprise of the day :-)  Just too crazy fun & can you imagine the sound - especially with the wood acoustics of the barn?  The remaining old barns in this area are such an asset to our rapidly urbanizing landscape.  Private property owners wise enough to know this & preserve them - deserve our thanks.
North Fork of the Stillaquamish - toward Arlington
Beautiful from either direction~
In sight of the Arch~
I didn't have my GPS, so still need to check my records, but should have the distance recorded from a ride.  Round-trip was probably about 7-miles :-)  About half way back I thought of a quote from "A Knights Tale" - Chaucer:  "To trudge: the slow, weary, depressing yet determined walk of a man who has nothing left in life except the impulse to simply soldier on" 

My feet were speaking volumes by the time we got back to the park :-)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Fun Times!

It's so seldom that we get to enjoy a visit from two of our favorite Grand-kids - that we took every advantage!  Arriving late on Fri., we went to the Barbecue Bucket in Granite to pick up a yummy dinner to go!  Next - was a movie, one the kids had never seen & we hadn't seen for many years - the original Incredible Journey, narrated by Rex Allen.  The story was as wonderful as we remembered & so fun to see it through the fresh eyes of another generation.
Mason, Papa & Cassidy
Saturday morning, these three were engulfed in a game of Uno!  I made breakfast, pumpkin french toast, sausage, cantaloupe, hot chocolate etc.  It was a gray, overcast morning - I had a hike in mind :-)  A hike with a purpose, since Butch was toting the chain saw again.
Cassidy & Mason
The kids were amazed at the size of the root ball on the blown down Cottonwood.  We continued on up the trail, this time quite a way further, until we came to the tree that had blocked Farah & my path last week.
The kids show the height of the tree :-)
Just a little on the high side for even Farah to jump :-)
Down it goes!
Butch made quick work of the tree, after lugging his McCullough up for the second time in just over a week.  Now, we're clear all the way to the power lines.  We walked on, the kids enjoyed seeing the beaver pond, now almost empty of water.  Then walked along the top of the beaver dam hoping to see a beaver - but they were taking the day off :-)
Glider leaving for Arlington
We were back home just in time to see the three gliders that had landed at the little airfield just down the hill - getting a tow back north to the Arlington airport.  The day gave us a little drizzle - but no real rain.

Hungry after our hike, it was time for lunch - afterward we sat down to a cut-throat game of Uno!  Butch read the rules & found that the kids hadn't been playing as the rules suggested.  We all agreed to try it using the rules that come with the game.  Even making that change - Cassidy Still Won!  :-)

After a hearty dinner of porcupine meatballs, spaghetti, & cheesy bread - time for one more movie on Papa's Big screen.  This time, Far From Home - I can't say enough about what fine entertainment this movie was!  We all loved it!  Mason decided that if he were hungry enough - he would eat bugs too!  Cassidy said she would stick to fishing!  :-)
Sunday morning latte & hot chocolate!  Nika too!
We had big plans for today, Sunday - breakfast in Arlington - followed by a visit to Haller Park, to play on the new equipment - then a walk on the Whitehorse trail.  Our plans were foiled by those pesky parents, who decided to come back early :-(  The visit was Way too short!  We had Way too much fun!  Plenty to look forward to next time!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Many Shades of Gray~

Those Views~
Besides the joy of riding a good horse, it's the views that come with the climbs that I live for.  We went to see Unbranded  last evening & it was just as advertised - a really great, true life adventure.  Even though those cowboys broke through some nasty trail (I'm sure we didn't see the half of it.) they too - rode for those views, as well as the miles, I'm sure.  P.S.  They stole my favorite quote that is at the top of this blog!  :-)
Linda took Suzanne & I on a route using almost all trail.  She & Scott had worked an entire day - on five different trails, cutting out the fallen trees all over the mountain.  Retirement does Not mean a lack of work for these two horsemen & trail enthusiasts! 
Farah sees a change :-)
When you think of the miles of trails that are enjoyed by So many riders in this area - then the few who actually work to maintain them - it's incredible what that volunteer effort accomplishes.  The bike group has put in a "new" trail, of course - as usual in the hope that the horses won't use it.  I have to ask - since they ride ALL of the trails that were originally cut through by horse people - for horses - wouldn't it be grand if they realized that it's we who share with them?
Suzanne & Linda
Suzanne was riding her stallion Saber & Farah was in cycle :-)  Of course - isn't that always the way?  Her first time out with a stallion & Count had the job of staying between them :-)  Farah was very interested, in the handsome gray - but behaved herself, as did Saber.  Suzanne said he had a tough time watching the silver tail swaying back & forth :-)
Many Shades of Gray
  I put my rain coat on the back of the saddle, so I wouldn't need it & we did the entire ride without a single rain drop...  There's good & bad in that...  We need rain so very bad.  As I said - if it was going to be cloudy & gray - then we really should have the rain.  Regardless, after several miles of fine trail, some very steep down hill & steep up - Farah is loving the Stonewall as much as I am.
Our route
I've ordered a pad from Stonewall, anxious to get it & adjust my rigging in the hope that it will stay put!  We arrived back home to find two of our favorite Grand-kids waiting with their parents!  The parents are off for a anniversary weekend retreat, while Mason & Cassidy get to spend the weekend with us!  Yippee!  Farah got Lots of carrots & peppermint treats :-)  Let the fun begin :-)