Thursday, July 21, 2016


Major is resting. I am definitely not. This week is ramping up to Tevis, so what better way to plan and rest than to...

Go to the fair! The summer isn’t quite complete without a trip to the state fair. There is so much to see: wandering the art show, admiring the paintings and sculptures, the farm area with crops, county exhibits, my brain got pretty full!

art show donkey!
transportation exhibit: power horse
transportation exhibit: a BIT wrong...

transportation: fun auto emblem!
There is very little horse stuff. We tried to watch the evening horse “extravaganza” but it consisted of women in skimpy Disney princess costumes attempting awkward vaulting moves to horrible tinny Disney songs. At least the horses were pretty, but not worth staying for...

this cute goat was very intent on getting dinner!
And I didn’t indulge in too much bad food: but garlic fries and later a cinnamon roll smelled too good to pass up!

The carnival is more fun from above

Then I got the chance to go ride with new friends, Cyd (Bugsy's Adventures) and EK. Horses were offered, we rode through miles of golden grain (with the endurance mini in tow!). I haven't ridden really any horse other than Major in years! And am not that brave. But I rode the lovely Amir until he got too silly (super bouncy horse + unfamiliar saddle + less than brave rider = horse switch!). Then I rode the very round Apache, who was a very good boy, especially because he was a bit tired by then! I appreciated the new experience and offer from these new friends, met through this blog!

view from Amir

me on Amir! photo by E.K.

me on Apache! photo by E.K.

Now for finishing the Tevis planning. I’ll be getting all the final gear from my rider on today. I have made up a crew binder with instructions (though with Tevis best laid plans...). My rider is a bit different than the rest: she’ll be on a mule! Keep a look out for rider #169, Eve Blumenfeld, and Ears Looking At You!

handsome Ears. photo by E.B.

fun making Tevis mule art

It's been a long week already, and now Tevis to finish it off. Staying up for 24 hours, driving all over hauling feed and buckets and helping picky horses and riders. But such a fun adventure to help with. Every rider with a dream. I love the trail, and have ridden almost all of it in sections, but don’t have my own Tevis dreams (I’m just not that competitive!). I am happy to support all those riders with big dreams, through those canyons on the 100-mile journey to the endurance capital of the world.

Tevis moon over the American River canyon

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

detour: Buttes again

It was a good time to retreat. My horse was resting. A rat ate the wires in my car engine. It was too hot and smoky. I was tired of being an adult and dealing with things. Camping time!

We have so many outdoor opportunities here, but I like them to include water. Still lots of options! But back to the Sierra Buttes (last visit was July 2014) for some adventure, and relaxing, and everything in between.

craggy Sierra Buttes view

So there aren't a lot of words. Because pictures more than tell the story.

a book, a log, a creek = perfect

remnant stone wall from flume
But briefly: A nice camping spot along a rushing creek. I was able to just read and relax and decide what to do. A destination hike! Sure, why not a mountain peak fire lookout? Not too far, lots of elevation gain, amazing views. Just the hike was worth it.

Pacific Crest Trail

abundant wildflowers

mule's ear
forever view

are we there yet?

Young American and upper and lower Sardine lakes
insect cuniform

But the destination was fun. The fire lookout seemed precarious, but it was sturdy. And the views to forever, identifying different lakes in the distance, Mt. Lassen, the Sierra distinctive peaks.

almost there!

epic views

back down
alpine phlox

dead tree stands alone

not all trails are lush

Later more hiking (what was I thinking? It was also ugly elevation gain, though short). Kayak on Gold lake, then waterfall hiking. Then a sunset paddle on Salmon lake.

are you kidding?

Tamarack lake (we were at the top of that mountain!)

easy hike to Frazier Falls
kayaking Gold lake

trail bridge to exploring

Fern falls

evening on Salmon lake

Through it all flowers. And campfires, with marshmallows! I left it all behind for awhile, and it was worth it.

columbine, snowplant, mariposa lily

campfire and marshmallows

cottonwood view

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


through the haze: Auburn cannot see Sacramento!

The smoke hangs in the canyon. Fire season has begun. The view off my deck is of smoke, and I cannot see across the canyon to the other side. And the fire is 20 miles away, it is much worse for anyone closer, and I worry for those evacuated or threatened. This fire (Trailhead) has gotten a bit more attention, since it threatens the trail used for Tevis. It luckily looks to be coming into containment, but not before burning more than 5000 acres of deep canyon and cancelling a local ride where I was hoping to volunteer.

And for a few days it was too smoky to ride. But that's OK, as Major is on vet-prescribed rest. Two weeks after the ride where we were pulled for lameness, I scheduled an afternoon vet appointment (in 102 degree weather, not my smartest moment!) I trotted out, and the vet couldn't see anything except Major's apathy for trotting out! Once we got Major a bit more animated, the vet still couldn't see any lameness, so xrays it is.

we were lucky to get a spot in the shade

Major really does not like standing in the dark exam room, being inside just makes him nervous. But the vet and his new associate (I like that this is a training hospital) took a few xrays while Major stood still (in between trying to drag me out the door).

I don't really like it when the vet says "weird." But that is what the xrays were. Not indicative of a splint break, but not NOT indicative. Surgery not recommended, since it isn't a clear break, but there is something there, a lump/bone remodeling on the splint bone, not impinging on ligaments or tendons. So, rest, and more rest. For six weeks. Luckily standard turnout is fine, as trying to keep Major confined would involve a lot of drugs I think!

I'll be trying to keep Major and I from going stir-crazy with some low-key walks, some new toys (for us both) and maybe a bit of groundwork, as we can always improve manners (Major can walk better on a lead line, maybe I can finally learn not to put my elbows on the table…)!

beautiful, scary rattlesnake next to the car wash towel

rattlesnake-hunting California King snake

So the outlook is a bit hazy. But things can stay exciting. Like finding a rattlesnake in the garage (of course while in flip flops). Snake was unceremoniously picked up with the shovel, put in a bucket then into the big field next door (I don't kill them if I can safely relocate). And the next day finding a California King snake (which eats rattlesnakes) next to the driveway in the almost-dark. And I just came back from a great camping trip. Oh, and crewing for an awesome mule for Tevis! Nope, I don't think I'll be bored…