Sunday, March 11, 2012

cardiac hill

I've hiked Cardiac Hill many times, but I've never ridden it. And B and Ziggy had never done it. And it is part if the American River ride, so we figured it would be good to practice.

boarder's visiting granddaughter painted up Major, I think it's awesome!

good thing he's pretty, because he couldn't figure out how to get the carrot out (lift your head!)

I didn't want a really fast ride, as we were adding miles, and I like to do one or the other (add distance or speed, not both). So we headed out down the road, and trotted along. Met quite a few hikers and runners, and were soon indebted to them.

We got to Mormon Ravine, and it was rushing. Major already thinks it is the bridge of death, and the torrent below wasn't helping. The electric company uses this output to generate power, and the water always fluctuates. They must be pumping water from upriver and funneling it through this power station. Major wasn't going across. And Ziggy got partway and then backed up once he hit the middle and looked down. And we tried again. They were truly scared. And I wasn't getting off, last time I tried that Major forgot I was there and almost ran me over!

Right then a runner came along. Major likes to follow my SO, so the runner was partway across and I used that momentum and both Major and Ziggy were across the bridge! We would have gotten there eventually, but it was nice to use the runner as a training tool!

drop off to the river

sandbar not usually seen except this dry year

After that is was just trot trot trot to Auburn. The river is really low still, sandbars and cliffs. Then you get to Cardiac Hill. The sign says "steep." Hah! At first it isn't bad, but I told B just wait. And soon it is switchbacks and rocks. One close tree caught my knee, ouch! And I got off and walked, Major puffing behind me. It is about 1100 feet of elevation change, we walked it in 20 minutes. Tough, but both horses were fine, used to tough rocky trails.

the ears are questioning my trail choice at the bottom of Cardiac Hill

At the top of the hill, 1100 feet down is the river

At the top, but still a couple miles to the Auburn staging area. We went through a very muddy area, and after that I lost a boot. Damn. Close enough to the staging area I just took them both off. At the staging area both horses drank from the stone trough, though Major was more interested in the grass. I was interested in my sandwich, and we all relaxed a bit.

grass near my helmet is the most delcious

But shortly it was time to head back. Put the boots back on, and we took the Cardiac Bypass trail back down, and stayed on the abandoned road for part too. A long walk down, but easier than Cardiac Hill!

going home, halfway down the bypass an awesome view

The horses sure knew we were going home. Once on the better footing of the main trail, we trotted along. We did have a tangle when four other horses came along the singletrack. Cliff on one side, drop off the other, no where to go. We turned and found a gully I backed Major into. Somehow we all squeezed by.

Moving right along, then Ziggy's boot broke. We both have different kinds of boots, but obviously no boot is perfect! It wasn't fixable, but B had to get off and on a couple times, never fun on a cliff!

bridge of death just ahead

But the horses were so happy to be going home, we didn't worry about crossing Mormon Ravine bridge. Till we got there. Both horses took one look and said no way! Even though home was on the other side! Again, we thought we'd work them through it. And again before we could worry much about it came a group of hikers! Conveniently we followed them across, Major a little too close, but everyone was safe on the other side, and we continued on.

Major was pulling and pulling for home, and I would have loved to do more miles for that behavior, but I was done. So both horses pranced up the road, looking none the worse for wear, while the riders probably looked dirty and tired!

The weather had been iffy all day, and it was too cold to hose him off, so Major just got the worst of the sweat sponged off, and some good mash. And took another great big drink. 25 miles, tough trail, horse still chipper: he may actually be an endurance horse. Me? I went home and fell asleep on the sofa watching TV!


  1. Cool, nice job! I so know what you mean about the horse being ready but the human maybe not. I still laugh about how closely we monitor our equine's health and happiness and how little we end up caring for ourselves. I crow over my mare looking good at the end of the ride, make her warm mashes and get her comfy, and pass out asap with no further effort-- But it's all worth it, no doubt about that!

    1. exactly! I need an owner like me to take care of me! SO does the best he can, but our horses sure have it rough... 8-)

  2. Great pictures! I've heard about Cardiac Hill, but haven't seen pictures before. Glad the horses had so much fun, and the humans got such a good workout!

    1. I wish I'd taken some photos of the actual trail, but I was concentrating! Way different hiking a trial than on horseback, some of the big rocks were tough to navigate. If you ever do the AR ride, you can't avoid cardiac.