Friday, August 14, 2020

oh boy

 An unlikely cool day (only 83!) in a week of hot made me jump in the truck, and Major in the trailer, for a ride out at Cronan ranch. Cronan is hot and dry all summer, but I hadn't been able to go all spring (BLM land closed for Covid) and hoped for a semi-cool adventure.

I'm ready. are you?!

When we arrived Major was not about to settle down with his haybag, he was READY (yes, all capitals needed!). All hopes for a quiet ride were put aside as I put on my gloves and headed out. One foot in the stirrup and I could tell…oh boy…hold on…


But Major was required to walk (though he attempted to jig) for the first part, until we crossed the bridge. Then there is a big hill climb, and I let him choose his pace. He regretted his choice of cantering/trotting about 3/4 of the way up when he figured out he wasn't in the hill shape he thought he was!

At the top we encountered the burn scar from earlier this year. Firefighters luckily got this under control quickly, and it did not reach the trees. Down, down the big hill and into the valley floor. Lovely, open roads for speed (and every time this view, highly suggestive hills, in my head I hear, "huge tracts of land!".

huge tracts of land…

What is great here is the variety of trails. From these open roads we went down to the river and splashed around a bit, then up on the far ridge for another big hill. Heading down through the pines, at the bottom we detoured for the trough Major promptly would not go anywhere near. But I used my scoop to cool him off, very handy!




ignoring the trough but didn't mind the water scoop!

Back in the valley floor there were highly dangerous rocks to snort at (you must not be too tired then!) and then the little cabin (left over set from a Michael Landon TV movie!) to give the stink eye. But while Major was still pretty up (dude, it's been 12 miles!), I was getting hot and tired, so we headed back.

 

First past fence 5, (I always wonder why the number is on this fence and no other on the property I have seen) and then to the (always annoyed at the misspelling) Connector trail. (Hey, I get it, I spell stuff wrong all the time, but not engraved on a sign. I swear I should just not ride here because it annoys me every damn time and I need to get over it!)


there, fixed it!

Back at the trailer Major was none the worse for wear, and gobbled up his beet pulp/salt mash. I was hot and tired though! Back home he was happy to roll and then ignored his open gate, trotted past me, and began to eat from Beau's hay bag. So much more delicious than the full hay bag of exactly the same hay in his own pen!


We won't be doing another long ride for at least 10 days…the weather forecast is going to be meltingly hot, even for here. Those golden hills of California don't get that way from summer rain (which doesn't exist at these elevations!). I think when Major seems me coming with his hydrating wet mash he'll just say "oh boy!"

we've had twice as many days over 100 than last year, and that was before this heat wave!
 

Thursday, August 6, 2020

conversations with major: mask monster

I'm not talking to you…

Hey Major, I got you a new mask, since you rubbed a huge hole in the old one.

this is so embarrassing

This is so embarrassing.
What’s wrong?
I look like Cthulhu.


No you…well, yes, you do a little. How do you know this stuff?
The internet, duh.
Umm, ok. You can pretend and scare the other horses, but we're keeping the mask.
The things I put up with…



Monday, August 3, 2020

Friday, July 31, 2020

keeping on

Well, July.

Yeah, there's been some riding. Hiking, Kayaking. Not much inspiration.

California is "winning" in Covid. Oh boy!

distracted skywriter? Not a heart, or a circle, huh?

How about some pretty pictures to distract us?

I did a longer ride at Hidden Falls, a regional park. The trails are incredible well marked, and clear from trees to duck around, but I find them oddly boring. When we arrived they were moving a huge herd of sheep across the access road to the area right behind our trailer, Major took a look but then realized his hay bag was full of alfalfa!

hordes of sheep, oh look, alfalfa!

red dirt, blue skies

Looking down from the Seven Pools lookout

Other than that my rides have stayed local. Soaring Covid cases make me completely reluctant to go anywhere with shared facilities. Luckily there are the lake and forest trails right out of the stable.

thought it would be cooler at the lake at 8:30am, I was wrong!

Major did not appreciate my need to take a photo of the little tree island

lake trail from above

evening forest rides are best

golden trails

But Major has been super itchy this year! The flies do not seem any worse, but overnight he itched his face raw. I think he just wanted to have more chrome (the silver wound spray). I tried different ointments and salves, finally found one, so he is healing better.

Adding Chrome doesn't work like that Major

Major and buddy Beau help each other out

On the home front there have been many books read (though I did read another end-of-the-world book, I need to stop it now because they are NOT helpful right now), some kayaking, and a bit of hiking (before I tweaked my ankle, now resting it). The next two weeks are 95 degrees plus, so went to Tractor Supply and got a water trough plunge pool (thanks to C for the fancier name!)

lupines when kayaking

awesome juvenile skink

Avery pond from the "no horses" side, never hiked there till now!

new fancy "plunge pool" ready for use

Hoping August brings me a bit less anxiety and more fun trail adventures, but even if I stay home with my book and iced tea, at least the cat is content!

Here, I've saved you a spot

Friday, July 10, 2020

warhorse

Back at the end of April life was just ramping up to the current level of crazy, and Major and I were able to ride local trails but not trailer out. It was a bit dull (though I was happy to be able to ride!).


I saw a post on Facebook about a virtual competition, Warhorse challenge. It was simply enter the "race" and pay the entry fee (much cheaper than an endurance ride!), ride 100 miles at whatever pace on your own schedule, get a medal. Sounded easy and fun, and it was! There have been some endurance ride challenges locally as well, but many of them needed you to ride X amount on a certain weekend, and I'm just not that motivated right now.

Look at my Major Award!

There are now more challenges that the organizer has created, some benefit organizations too, with a donation per entry. I have to say that this challenge was fun motivation, and the Facebook group posts are lovely pictures of people enjoying their horses, beautiful scenery, a nice bright spot in my day.

can you pose please Major?

something down here is more interesting

Some people are walking their green horses a mile a day, some hiking themselves, some finished in about three days on multiple horses. Whatever works! I think this is great challenge for folks who might need a little motivation, or even those who just want a spiffy medal! Warhorse challenge is currently full and finished, but there is Valkyrie 100, Ranger 100 and Pony Express (1900!) challenges available. (I'm not affiliated in any way with this, just thought it was a fun activity!)

Join a challenge! These are available now www.warhorseendurance.com

Major says he didn't really care and didn't need a medal, but I think I saw him showing off to his friends how cool it was… (I thought it was pretty cool and needed to show off to my friends too!)


alfalfa is a priority

Monday, July 6, 2020

monday moment: flowers



Hey Major, stop at that flower!
Why?
Because it is pretty and orange and we like orange.
You like orange.
Just stand here.
OK. Now what?
Just stop and smell the damn flower!
I think you are missing the point.
sigh…

Thursday, July 2, 2020

blue hole adventure

"And I never saw blue like that before…" —Shawn Colvin


Never have I seen this color in nature. Glacial lakes came close, but is this blue? Green? Aquamarine? Turquoise? Whatever you name it, it was gorgeous!

where are we going today?

I first attempted to find this body of water, simply named "Blue Hole," with my friend C a few weeks ago. My GPS and maps failed me that time, so when we went back, I was armed with a newer (better) GPS app, laminated map and determination. These trails are very near where the Wild West endurance ride takes place, and Major loves this area.

heading out
almost there

We headed out, and I closely looked at my GPS, as there are multitudes of branching side trails, dirt roads, gravel roads, deer paths and just areas that look like they "might" be a path. I was following a track from a friend who had gone a few weeks before. First along a lovely, softly padded forest trail, then started down a gravel road, then down more on rutted 4-wheel drive only dirt road. It seems like we just went down and down, oak, pine, madrone and mazanita surrounding us. As we bottomed out there began evidence of old mining, then a side path brought the water into view.

Wow, we were awestruck. And a bit speechless while we wandered about. The horses didn't quite understand why we were just standing around taking pictures!

Blue Hole, complete with tiny island
not sure about this…


Yes, this is "just" a leftover from hydraulic mining, exposing the white rocks with no dirt left over. But the color! I read that the water is slightly acidic (I assume from rocks/minerals/mining) but people swim in it (when hot enough). Interestingly Major, who normally loves water, wasn't particularly interested in going in. Did it smell weird? I didn't care, just admired the view for quite a while.


ok, not a bad view!
read my ears: can we go now?
yeah, what's the big deal?
are they done already? photo by C

When it was time to go back…what goes down must go up (2,200 feet climbing)! And get lost a little bit…but I figured out my mistake and got back on the correct trail. There are views to forever across the Tahoe/El Dorado National forest, logging sections, very rural backyards and dirt bikes all interspersed with blooming sweet pea, blackberry, dappled sunlight, giant madrone trees and shady maples. It was great.

views forever (towards Tahoe)
sweet pea everywhere
love the leaves and shadows
at least the cut forest let us see the view!
shady and lovely

Back at the trailer the horses got a snack and we enjoyed lunch at the picnic table. I'll definitely be back, when I need another glimpse of whatever that color is.

one is deeper, one is wider, they're the same Major and Friday. And neither horse would eat their carrot greens…