|My new favorite photo, by Cassidy Rae|
|Celena Pentrack, look who's leading!!!|
|We started early! 5:30am|
|Proof, Cartman can follow.... you can see that right??? LOL.|
|Western Washington can be beautiful too.|
|I love this view.|
|Official ride photo, by Cassidy Rae|
Michelle got there a bit earlier and snagged us a spot in the shade. Yeah! It's funny to complain of heat here in W. Wa. but it really has been quite warm this year. I think it was around 90 degrees on Friday.
We were set to go out at 5:30am so had to be up early. Good thing I typically get up at 4am anyway!
We were hoping to keep Cinn. and C. out of a line of traffic as this ride is mostly single track with limited passing areas. So, we were on and ready right as the trail was opened. Unfortunatel I managed to push some button on the GPS and locked the key pad. So, we milled around and let the horses stand while I frantically tried to figure out how to unlock it.
Finally we were off!!! And walking!!! Both horses were great. No fire breathing dragon today. They headed out at a comfortable pace and into the forest we went.
I really do enjoy those trails.
It is not what I consider a really easy ride though. The horses are constantly working, twisting, turning, stepping over rocks and roots, climbing, descending. You can't always see what is coming around the bend either, and this is bike riding territory.
This year it has been hot so the bees are very active. We had been warned to stay on trail. There really aren't a lot of places to pass anyway. Most of the riders we encountered were very polite about it and we tried to be as well. Only one lady seemed a slight bit irritated to be behind us and we were fairly close to a road so I just let her wait. I will absolutely try to let anyone pass, I don't care about placing so it doesn't matter to me. I am stubborn enough to not be pushed by people though.
We were heading down a long hill when Michelle shouted out she'd been stung. Ooops. We took off at a fast trot and got outta there as quickly as possible.
We made it into the vet check for a trot by, I think towards the back of the pack. Back out of the trail we had gone about 2-3miles when Cinnamon lost a shoe. Crap. So, I had brought two Renegades along but we didn't have a good way to carry them and left them at the trailer. Lesson learned.
Cartman and I continued on while Michelle turned back to the vet check :(
I think this loop was 10 miles or so.
Cartman was on fire. He wanted to go. It's funny that at this ride I found he was absolutely taking care of watching the footing. Usually I will ride looking out about 15 feet in front of us and will slow him for rocks and collect where needed. When we hit open trail I ask him to pick back up the speed.
It's been what- three or four years of trail work now- and I can trust him to take care of it. I found that it is a lot easier on me to have him watching as well. It's very comfortable to have this understanding.
We got back to the vet check and it was pretty crowded. Michelle and Cinn. were there waiting for a trailer ride back to camp. Some nice lady had lent her a boot but by time she got back Cinn was still a little ouchy on the foot so they pulled.
I kept on task and was out on trail right on time this time! C was so forward, it felt like we were flying on this loop. At one point we were cantering for quite a ways on a nice little gravel road when I spotted ribbons leading up and back into the woods. I pulled him around intending to stop and turn back to the trail. He had other ideas and just leapt up the tiny hill back onto the trail. I think he was having fun :)
About 3 miles out I realized that I'd not gotten my water bottles switched out and was out of water. Ugh. It was going to be a hot dry ride back, as the sun was now pounding down on everything and the temp was rising rapidly.
As luck would have it I ran into some trail angels filling troughs! They gave us fly spray and a bottle of water! Whew, volunteers at this ride are awesome. I got to meet Eileen Reilich as she was one of the water crew- its fun to put names to faces from our PNER facebook page.
We made it back to camp at 12:01, pulsed in at 12:03 and then had to wait in vet line for a while. It was nice and shady and they had hay so we were all happy. I was offered another bottle of water and it tasted so good.
Cartman passed his check with all A's. Dr Randy Lee was vetting and it was nice to see him again.
Michelle and Cinnamon had just gotten back to camp as well, so we let the horses eat for about 2 hours. I just could not get enough water, I swear I must have drank a gallon of water and electrolyte water. Finally I felt up to wandering camp to visit a bit.
We saw Laura Bond and Wiley and they had completed as well. Yeah!
Finally we loaded up and hauled home, it was really nice to be able to turn him back out after all that hard work. He took off running and threw in a few small happy bucks.... I think he will be ready for a 50 at OR100!