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

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Pockets Full~

Rain, quite a bit overnight, some this morning - then sunshine!  OK, everything could really wait & I really wanted to ride before the storms that are predicted for the next couple days.
At the outlet of the Wetland~
Saddling Farah, I used the new Stable Ride saddle pad liner that I'd cut to go under the wool saddle pad I purchased from Stonewall.  I'm still having issues with the pad slipping out from under the saddle & I hate that.  We headed out to the north, so many trees down now in the Development - that there's not much buffer left between the construction & my trail out.
Color along the power lines~
 The clouds were moving back in when we left home, once up on the power lines, the rain started.  I stopped to put my jacket on, no point in riding wet.  The colors were just stunning, both in the woods & along the power lines - even on a gray afternoon.
Into the woods~
 Debating which way to go, I decided to go through the woods on the crest of the hill, following the tracks from the ATV's.  Thinking about mushrooms & knowing that this area is mostly Fir trees, I had hoped to find some.  Since the last time we went through here, the trails were more established & easy to follow, Farah hit her trot & we whizzed around, making something of a circle.
Farah with her new orange rump rug.
 Joyce made us a rump rug out of the orange fabric that is used in hunting vests!  Very bright & hard to miss!  I did hear gunfire more than once, a huge doe crossed the trail in front of us, but she wasn't in any hurry.
The large Wetland~
 The rain just got heavier, but the air smelled so sweet & was so fresh - negative ions abounded!  Again - we did some moving out!  I got a Big walk, a smooth trot, seamless canter -  my girl was enjoying herself :-)
Rain drops on the water~
 We headed back from here, but once we were down on the lower trails, I decided to go check out a couple that have been blocked forever - you never know, something might have changed?
 It was getting dark, time to head home - when I spotted my quarry!  They were just off the side of the trail & after spotting the first huge one, I realized that I'd found the mother lode!  Did I have a sack on the saddle?  No!  This after using Linda's on Tue., & telling myself that when I got home - a bag would go in my saddle bag!  I wasn't about to leave them, I have fresh scallops for dinner tomorrow night & they would go perfect with them!

What to do?  I took off my rain jacket & filled the pockets!  Then - since the pockets were so full that I couldn't ride without my elbows hitting them, I just tied it to my waist.
Chantrells - home!
 By now it really was getting dark & we had to hustle to get back.  Butch was home ahead of us & he was wondering why - in the rain - my jacket was tied to my waist?  As I started pulling mushrooms out of my pockets, he just smiled :-)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Brilliant & Beautiful~

With the final days of Daylight Savings time upon us, our late afternoon light will soon be replaced with shadows.  Linda & I wanted to make the most of what is supposed to be our final day of sunshine this week.  Linda wanted to head south at Victoria & go through the trails that were so badly beaten by the windstorm.
Vine Maples
No real views here, but the colors were amazing!  For whatever reason, a lot more color that higher up on the mountain!  I've gotten lost over on this side more times than I can count :-)  I look forward to these guided tours just to see how much I recognize from my forays!
One of the original farm signs~
This section of the tree farm was planted mostly with Fir, that's been there years now & covered with moss.  The under-story plants consist of Salmonberry & Elderberry, not enough light for the maples to get a start.
Fir trees with their fuzzy moss covered branches
Anytime we're in this area I like to visit the river, it was really nice to hear it before we saw it!  I knew after yesterdays ride - that the level was up.  At our access spot, it was clear to see just how much more water was flowing since the last couple rains.
Pilchuck Creek
Farah loves going to the river here, she walks right out, then stands - yawns & almost goes to sleep every time :-)  She did some splashing today - I had a moment where I thought she might actually go down in it - so I checked that move :-)
Farah watching the water!
 Linda had us on a huge "loop" of all trail, the damage caused by the storm was apparent.  Here too, the Cottonwoods took the brunt of the force.  They'd been cut & were waiting to be hauled out.  Seeing them on the ground is almost as impressive as seeing them standing.  The trails were very slick too.  We were both hopeful that they might stay open longer this season, but if we get all the rain that's forecast, we doubt it will happen.
Color & Cottonwoods~
It still surprises me that we're behind on our mileage this season, compared with the last two-years.  There was summer's heat, our saddle issues, other things that took my time, but we're still close enough to the 1,000-mile club.  With luck, we'll be past that milestone shortly~
Open & replanted clear-cut
We rode trails that were overgrown, that hardly anyone rides - even Linda & Count had to do some hunting to find them.  We ended up on one with several large trees down, navigating around following Count, Farah fell front first into a large hole.  She saved us - I didn't go over her neck - which was what I expected to do - Good Girl!  But!  If she'd pay more attention to her footing, instead of where Count is... it would help! 
Our route!
Returning back to the parking, the shadows were already long, the sun setting through the trees.  Linda reminded me that next week, sunset will seem an hour earlier than it was today.  From then on - we'll be chasing daylight!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Haller to Nakashima - Centennial Trail~

North Fork of the Stillaquamish
It was a gray morning, light drizzle - I loaded Farah & drove to Haller Park.  The last time we did this ride was in July & I love seeing it in the Fall.  With the leaves dropping so quickly now, I wanted to enjoy what was left of the color on the trail.
Bitter Cherry Trees
Our native cherry trees can create a mess, the cherries are Not edible - but their fall color is so lacy looking!  The drizzle was steady all morning.  We did a lot of trotting, so I soon removed my light weight rain jacket & just rode in my vest.
At Pilchuck Creek
There was enough water flowing in the creek that it sounded louder than what we've been used to these last few months.  Only one jogger was on the trail & he turned back long before we did :-)  Farah's mane sparkled with tiny dew diamonds.
Big Leaf Maples
The Big Leaf Maples on the far side of the bridge were stunning - it was like riding into a picture postcard!  It didn't seem like long before we were coming up on the north end of the trail~
Nakashima Barn
Once past & onto the unimproved portion of the trail, we stopped for our lunch.  Nice wet & long reed canary grass was what Farah wanted!  Then we continued on...
Red Dogwood
The dogwoods were just so Bright!  Their color was so intense, especially against the bark of the Alders.  Once up at the top, cars were whizzing by on Hwy 9.  We trotted up the road, headed up the hill, then turned south on the Mainline.  At the end, we dropped down the hillside to the ditch.  I dismounted &  as I expected, Farah leaped it - easily clearing about ten-feet with her jump.  More obstacle training :-)

Soon, we were back at the bridge over Pilchuck creek~

Our pace was steady all afternoon,  the few miles pass quickly heading back to the Bryant Store & on south toward town.
Centennial Trail South~
The only other people we saw on the trail had umbrella's :-)  They kindly spoke to Farah - as she was totally unsure just what they were up to?  Guess I need to get out my umbrella one of these days!
Onto the Trestle
Soon, we were back on the Trestle & happy to be back to the park, we were wet!  Really a great ride - it's finding trailer parking somewhere besides Haller Park that's the struggle.  Many horses, or their riders either - don't appreciate having to cross the Trestle to access this beautiful trail & the beginning of the Whitehorse.
Post from last year~

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Stellar October Day~

 From a foggy morning - by noon the sun had burned through & it was a sparkling, clear afternoon!  Saddling Farah - my new cinch with roller buckles is worth it's weight in gold!  (I'd been fighting with the beta latigo on the Stonewall & brass flat ring on my Bork cinch.)  As with everything I've ordered lately - Distance Depot was out of the 26" length, but it was worth the wait!
Looking through~
As we got up onto the trails, the one that goes south - that had been overgrown with alders, had a two-track through it - trees knocked down.  We took it & got to the gate with the "For Sale" sign.
More trees down~
 On the far side, it was obvious that during the months since we'd been here - plenty has been going on.  Trees that were behind the Native Growth Protection Area had been knocked down.
More clearing~
 Riding down the paved road, we could here construction & the sound of heavy equipment.
New street sign~
 Now we have a "real" name for our trail :-(   People will be living here in no time...  It's the only way we can access the southern trails - not that much is left of them...
Construction Trailer & trucks~
 Continuing on, we made the turn that would take us out & to the power lines.  Once there, I turned south & we took the first trail off to the east.  It was a favorite & we called it;  "Cloverhill" where the creek runs through & used to be stock full of Salmon.
At the very low Little Pilchuck Creek~
 Still water running, but oh so low - especially for the time of year when we used to find it running close to full.  Continuing west, as I expected the trail that turned north - was still blocked.  It did though go further east & we took it almost half a mile, until we reached this blockage.
Blocked Trail~
 We turned back & it is just so beautiful out here!
Trail west back to the power lines
 Such a totally stellar afternoon!
Trail down to the creek~
 Once we were at the creek, it was so low that we followed it a way south to this beautiful area~
More of the creek~
 A little further, the footing got very mucky in a hurry, there were deer prints - sunk deep, so we turned while we could.
Huge trees along the shore
 I enjoyed every foot of this trail - looking for mushrooms, nothing edible - though I have to wonder why when this area is so rich & lush.
Back into the sun~
 On the power lines, we turned south yet again & to the second trail heading east - the one that goes to the large wetland system & another creek crossing.
Second trail heading east~
 I was really surprised to see fresh hoof prints - shod, on this trail.  I have no idea who's found the area, or where they're coming in from?  A few feet from the creek I saw something white on the ground & found this sign in a plastic sleeve.
 Here's the crossing where they've been trying to keep a "bridge" up.  I didn't see any sign of what had been taken out?  The old logs have been there forever & the 4x4 is whats left of the newer bridge that I've never seen in place.  It was obvious that ATV's had been through on the trail.  Trees cut off, branches cut etc. 
No bridge
 Here we took our break, Farah found some nice grass.  Back again to the power lines.  It had taken us a while to do this exploring & the sun was getting low.  I just LOVE the light this time of year!  The long, golden shadows & blue, blue sky.
Looking north~
 We went back the only way we could - through the houses.  One of the men was burning a pile of trash, Farah hardly took any heed.
The For Sale sign from the development side.
 It was a relief to us both to get around the gate & be back in "our" neighborhood!  Big sigh from us both :-)  We went ahead & rode behind the woods that are between this area & our neighborhood.  All was quiet - but for how long?
Farah in the sun~
 I keep thinking about all the natural water in this area.  Just before we left the development a Snohomish County car went driving through.  Private property is just that & can be sold for whatever, but when you see area's that were never a wetland causing all the issues that we have with the Whitehorse Trail, then see rampant development over an area that IS A REAL watershed & headwaters of several creeks - all I can think is why?  Why?
Mt. Pilchuck
 Just the very tip of the mountain was showing over a cap of white clouds!  Just a gorgeous day! 
Hearing the sound of someone mowing, we got to our gate & realized that it was Butch!  Home, mowing & starting the huge yearly project of raking all the leaves from our Big Leaf Maples!   We did get some color, but they're falling fast now!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Les Hilde - Harry Osborns State Forest - Day Three~

It rained off & on again for most of the night, but had stopped completely by morning.  We had a yummy breakfast;  bacon, eggs, toast!  Farah was nice & dry under her blanket, as was Count.  
Ready to ride!
Our friends had called & were busy with a fencing project that they wanted to finish.  We were disappointed - but ready with a Plan B!
Brightly on our way~
It was foggy & seemed chilly, but really wasn't cold at all.  After the beautiful days we'd enjoyed, we were subdued too.  Our plan was to go back, find & collect that Cauliflower mushroom!  I'd checked it out on-line & found out that they do indeed grow back each season, usually in the same spot.
Vine Maples along the trail~
This morning, Linda took a different trail out from camp, she knew how to connect to where we were heading - which is now a Big Secret!  :-)
Vine Maple branches covered with moss~
We rode through an area where the Vine Maple branches were covered with moss!  The entire area was it's own mini ecosystem.  Maybe due to the protection provided from the deep gully that ran along side.
Another "Shroom"
Riding along - this mushroom above stood out from all the surrounding green!  Growing straight up off of a branch!  The only one anywhere that we could see.
In the woods, the yellows of the maples were almost neon bright in the misty fog. 
Linda & Count on the trail~
It was eerie, it was very quiet, not even a bird chirped. 
It was kind of a cheap thrill for me to see this sign.  Following this trail must be tough - since the trail itself disappeared in more than one place that we saw.  Linda & Count are amazing at finding trail where none seems to be.  Linda took one - that went a way - then dropped us down a steep bank into a dry creek basin.  Once there - we both realized that if we'd followed anything - it was another Elk trail.  Getting back out - hum...  up a four-foot high steep dirt bank, the same one we'd just slid down.  I grabbed Farah's mane & almost before I could worry about it - she jumped!  That jump & our landing was So Smooth that I didn't even move in the saddle!  We were up & in the next instant I heard Count make the leap!  I wish I could have seen it!  Linda said;  "Amazing animals aren't they?"  Oh yes they are!
Cantharellus "cibarius"
Finding the correct section of trail, we found the Cauliflower mushroom right where we left it!  I'd brought a doubled plastic grocery sack.  I used my knife to cut it off at soil level & was amazed at the weight!  Maybe five pounds?   I tied it to the back D on the saddle & we took a short break.  Count moved off trail & uncovered a Chanterelle!  We started looking & found several right around us :-)
At the creek!
From there, we decided to take the easiest & shorted route back.  The sack was bouncing in the rear, so we stopped again.  I moved it to the front of the saddle, where I could support it a little more.  We sure didn't want mushroom mush!  The fog didn't relent the entire ride, I was feeling a little claustrophobic - which happens sometimes when I'm in the fog, heavy forest & can't see out.
Rascal waits :-)
Returning to camp - we were greeted by the sight above :-)  Rascal sitting on my camp chair - waiting!  He knows full well he's Not supposed to get on the chairs - but...  :-)  Butch had us packed up & ready to go!  His plan?  To the Brewery for a late lunch/ early dinner & beer!  We got there in time to see the Seahawks lose another game :-(
I gave Linda a portion of the mushroom, the rest I cleaned!  Contrary to what I'd read - there wasn't one bug in it!  Just a few pine needles & it was spotless!  It is as described, almost like a noodle in consistency.  I browned it in bacon fat & added it to our soup last night with organic baby potatoes, carrots, onion etc.  All I can say is "yummy" - Very!