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

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bear at Bracken!

Farah needed a ride, I did too!  Bracken is the shortest drive - so that's where we went.  It's hard - when I have so much to get done - to take the time to ride.  The whole while I was thinking about what I should have been doing at home.
Our rig back at the parking area~
 Farah was threatening to spook at about anything...  Getting ridden once a week is not her thing!  I circled her, then had her back up - which is how we took this photo.  We have our somewhat standard loop now, through what is usually the muddy trails.  Even with all the rain - the trails had held up well.
Dogwood Blooms!
At the shelter, I was surprised to see the dogwood blooming!  Either it's a late blooming variety - or the wonderful late summer weather we've been having fooled it into a second bloom.
Mr. Bear~
Distracted...  As we headed down the hill toward the river - something big & black caught my eye - moving down the lane about 150ft. ahead of us.  For only one second, I thought it was a big dog, but as it ambled along, there was No doubt it was a bear!  I pulled Farah up - got out my camera & took the photo.  The wind was blowing right at us - I was surprised that Farah had very little reaction?  What to do?  He was between us & where I wanted to go!  As he moved forward - we followed - I started singing & by the time we were going past the fence - he had disappeared into the bush.

Such a truly gorgeous day - we went over Tin Bridge.   Now, there was a bitter sweet quality to the crossing, the realization that it might be one of our last times across.
No more bales~
This year, the field of my Green Valley was cut & put into the round bales - a change from last year.
Looking at the new section of trail~
The trees that were taken out are still waiting to be hauled away - but the ecology blocks are off to the side, which opens a short section of the trail.  As I regretfully resigned my position as the Centennial Trail Coalition Chairman - at the last meeting - I heard of the success of the History on the Centennial Trail event.  The most common question asked; was when the Whitehorse would be paved...  I had wanted to attend this event - I could have maybe changed some minds - but life got in the way.
Recently Parks released this information on the trail usage.  "Over 12,000 people annually are already enjoying the trail, but when it is fully ready for use the projections expect almost 15 time as many visitors per year.   Part of the future of the Whitehorse Trail builds on the expectation that Snohomish County needs to be ready for a 25% growth by 2035. As noted above, the most consistent question from people is about the surfacing plan.  The proposal plans to put down a compacted surface adequate for ADA use."  
As you can tell from the photo above, compaction for ADA use is hard - very hard - but certainly not as hard as paving.
 The softer, somewhat sandy surface that was of course my preference - won't happen.  We are in desperate need of a BCH person willing to take over as Equestrian Representative for the Coalition.  There are also upcoming changes proposed for Lord Hill - & Joan too, is in need of help & support.  If no one steps up - the rolling stone - already covered with moss - will be rolling on paving - as more & more of the area's once designated for horses could be lost.
Current surface~
The leaves are already starting to fall & the smell was incredible.  The most optimistic plans now are for the Whitehorse to open about this time next year.  One of the things I'd hoped to do - was to ride it point-to-point :-(
Farah picked up on my melancholy mood... She's watched as we've been cleaning out the barn, all the people who've been visiting - strangers, friends & family.  A big change is in the wind for us...
Dripping sap~
We headed back, we got in Farah's little run - but thinking of that Bear - I didn't let her hit her higher speeds.  I know I've been bored - if I dare say that!  Having ridden these trails for so many years, as riding partners came & went...  Looking so forward to seeing fresh areas, riding new places & having new friends to ride with! 
Post Script~  This ended up as my last ride in Washington State.  It was beautiful, it was fun & it was fitting~ 

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