Monday, June 8, 2015

skillman preview

With a quiet Friday off of work, and the valley heating up, I headed for the hills. Skillman campground specifically. I was hoping to get in some good mileage over trails that I'll hopefully be doing at the Wild West endurance ride. Note: I said hopefully…

whatever: I've got my crack bag
Major unloaded like a champ, and got right to the best part about trailering out: a hay bag full of alfalfa. He also managed to smear most of his mash all over the fenders of the trailer. Oh yeah, we're looking sharp! It was weird to be here with no one about. Literally there was no one camping, no camp host, people are missing out on a great spot! In a few weeks this campground will have more rigs than can fit and be packed with riders and horses.

come on, let's go! I left the trailer just the way I like it. Snacks for later on the fender…

deserted campground is a little strange

But for now the trails are silent and damp, the trees dripping on me, and being the first down the trail means breaking all the early spider webs then doing the spider dance. What? Doesn't everyone know the spider dance? Sadly, there are no photos of this ridiculous set of gyrations.

green means go

trail with a view

leafy green tunnel

We headed for White Cloud, Major going along happily. About two miles in we slowed down, Major realizing he had no friends, and that I was hoping for a training ride, so he must slow to dead-horse speed. Oh joy. He perked up a bit when we saw the only person left on earth, a runner, but then also recovered a bit when we turned around at the highway crossing.

treetop trail

giant sugar pine cones block the trail

I hear something!

So back we went, with a happier Major, until I turned him onto Hallelujah trail to make a loop. But we should go back the way we came! he insisted. We did not. So we trudged along, uninspired trotting, till we came to the big hill. I like hills, I remember this! he seemed to say as we bounded up it. After that I had an inspired horse for the two miles back to camp.

huge stumps were worrisome for about one second before he realized camp was on the other side!


Back at camp I set Major up with a snack, this was going to be the half-way point of our ride...and started feeling crappy myself. So crappy that going out again was not an option. So I waited a bit then Major loaded into the trailer again for the drive home.

I hear something! No, nothing here. I still hear something! Oh, it's the ranger, good job!
halftime snack is important

Damn, I was hoping for a good training ride. I hate trailering all that way (gas prices + big truck = eeekk!) for 12 miles of slogging along. I was trying to figure out another day to fit in a longer ride, when I looked back over the calendar. I was off on my weekends, there is only two weeks till the endurance ride! What?! OK, so now I'm kind-of glad I didn't do 24 miles as planned, but am feeling woefully underprepared.

I printed the entry and it is sitting on my desk in front of me. My brain is anxious: I love this ride. I'm not prepared. But Major is probably fine. But…ahhh! I have the time off already, just do it. I'll see how Major looks today. OK, let me find a pen, and a stamp…


  1. That treetop trail and Major's black-tipped ears are beautiful.

    Have fun at Wild West!! ;)

    1. the treetop trail follows an old mining ditch, it is so fun with dips and curves, wish I could share it!

  2. You'll have a great time and Major will do fine. Can't wait to read about your adventure!

  3. Gorgeous trails! Wild West sounds like such a fun and pretty ride.

    1. Wild West is such a gorgeous ride, I just wish ridecamp was a bit larger!

  4. Looks like a great place to ride. Will have to add the WW to our list of future rides

  5. Would somebody please slap her?! You'll be fine, he'll be fine. You know those trails. It'll be fine.

    1. Feeling the love C...just wait for our next ride...(evil laugh...)

  6. See you there! I too am a bit nervous by my perception that I'm undertrained for this but that's usually less of a problem then over training so trying to be zen.