Monday, January 25, 2021

detour: lake bottom

Rattlesnake Bar bridge 1862-1954
It all started with a post by a local historic group: Did we know about the old Rattlesnake Bar bridge?
bridge collapse from too large truck!

Why, I did not! After reading the interesting post (the bridge collapsed before it could be inundated by the lake), someone commented that you could see the abutment remnants when the water was low. Challenge accepted!

It was an overcast, gray day, with threatening clouds. No one else seemed to think it was a good idea to be out, so I had the eerie lakeshore all to myself.

seeing both sides

The old bridge abutments were a short walk from the main parking area, though walking along the lake bottom is weird! The ground is very soft, though not muddy, and there are tiers where each receding lake level has left its sandy imprint.

The abutments are quite tall, easily 6 feet tall by 12 feet wide. I was tempted to climb up but was by myself, wrenching an ankle out here would not be fun (see, I have gotten smarter in my old age!). As the lake level drops (if it does, low rain year so far) I'll have to see if I can access below them.

I figured I was here, I'd walk around the lake bottom a bit, and it was so cool. Like being on the surface of another planet. Not too close to the water, as it gets very squishy there, and there is a need everywhere to watch your footing due to loose rocks, weird terraces and goose poo!

gnarled tree

what we did then (hydraulic mining)

and now…sigh…

It was absolutely still. I heard no birds or people, a lone gull flew over silently. Maybe some would think it ugly, but I found it all fascinating.

And disorienting! The lake was so still it was perfectly reflecting the rocky hills on the opposite shore. You could not tell where water ended and rocks started, it was mesmerizing.

perfect reflection

weird hole
There were the strange datura seeds (pokey! and the plant is poisonous but pretty) and sculptural trees and rocks, but mostly the silence was all encompassing.

spiky datura wrightii


last season's flowers
And needed. 

this is exactly where I swam this summer, in five feet of water!

a bright spot

Monday, January 18, 2021

monday moment: embarrassing

mmmm, what is this thing?
 Sorry, (not sorry), Major to embarrass you this way, but photos must be shared.

maybe I'll just give it a lick
  The Uncle Jimmy's Hanging Ball was a big hit. Major got it Christmas Eve, and it is still around, though in much diminished form.

can't quite bite, must try!
  Though he does get a bit messy!

 I'm sure he'll get me back for this…

Friday, January 15, 2021

olmstead adventure

It had been awhile since I'd gone on an actual adventure! I was inspired while hiking the day before: looking across the canyon I saw horses on the opposite side on the Salt Creek loop. They were tiny and I pondered that I hadn't done that trail in a long time.

tiny, tiny riders

Well, that didn't take long: the next day I loaded up and trailered over. The trailhead is only 25 minutes away, but it is down and up a steep canyon with asshole drivers, so not my favorite. But we got there early and the lot was already filling up, bound to be a busy day.

(numbers are coordinated with photo locations)
I didn't have much plan other than doing the loop I'd seen the riders on the day before. But of course to do the loop you have to get out there, and this park has a multitude of trail choices. I used my handy GPS app (others will work fine, but I use Gaia GPS so I can download the maps to my phone in this less-than-stellar cell area) to pick a route.

(1) heading out
Normally I'd just wander about, but I get turned around in this park and am trying to avoid the super rocky awful part (success this time!). 

I picked a smaller trail, very shady, cold and slippery! I forget that the earth here is mostly red clay, and how slick it can get when wet (the wet leaves on it did not help either)! 

(2) slippery choices

I crossed the dry Salt Creek and turned right onto a dirt access road, shady and cold but good trotting!

(3) fun trotting road
Down, down the gravel road goes, in a quite uninteresting way (except for the view), then you're at the river. Well, above the river on a low plateau. Major, for once, wasn't interesting in going down to the river, probably because we'd only gone 5.5 miles at this point. He wanted to go up! 

(4) down the boring road

(5) where I'd seen the riders the day before!

(6) going up (and a lost easyboot on the marker post!)
We took it easy because it is very steep set of switchbacks, with great views. Back up from the river is about 1000 feet climb in about 1.5 miles.

(7) love these views

(7) silly trail marker, no where else to go (over the cliff?)
At the top I had to decide which way to go. Major seemed game, so I headed out towards the Rim trail. Getting there is half the fun, a wide variety of different trail views!

(8) pine trail

(9) low, green pond

(10) old orchard

A couple wrong turns (Major wanted to take every path back to the trailer, my GPS told me otherwise!) and we were on my favorite trail, the twisty, turny Rim trail! Though this time it was also the damp and slippery trail! Discussions were had about slowing down…

(13) oaks everywhere

After that it seems like you should be done, but it is still about three miles back to the staging area! We passed by the pretty pond (and a dad and kids on bikes) and I made Major take a breather and snack on some green grass.

(14) perfect pond

(15) are we there yet?

(16) important snacks

I thought he seemed a little tired, but then he tried to trot back to the trailer after his snack, so not too much! One last trail though knee deep water (fun!) and we were back. Mash, warm cooler, the washing of muddy boots, trailering home. All in a days fun, I think for us both.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

welcome 2021


looking into 2021
Well, my new year ride recap is a week late. Yep, that sounds about right for plans the last year or so…

Riding-wise the year started off perfect. An easy local ride with friend C and Friday. 

pre-ride: snack all the time
 It was what we always hope for: an uneventful, fun ride to start the year off right.

after ride: OMG, why is my friend on the other side of the trailer!?

But maybe the US didn't get the memo?

Major would like to set the record straight: Do the right thing. Stay home, or close to home, and eat your alfalfa. That is all.

Major's other advice: ignore the news for awhile, go for a ride…

Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020 finale

We're all ready for 2020 to be over, though I know 2021 will not solve anything, as least it is looking better…

2020 did have one last surprise for me, and that would be coming back from a ride and seeing my new-to-me car a bit smashed under a huge tree branch! Oh boy. It was almost so ridiculous to be funny. Almost. Luckily insurance came though, and the repair shop, and I have my car back to drive into the new year.

While I still feel like the new year begins with solstice, the calendar says otherwise. So today was our last ride of 2020. 

pre-ride outlast snack…on the trailer fender, we're classy…
 I meant to document the ride with lots of photos to have a pretty end-of-year blog post. But I was having a good time, and then later dealing with a very enthusiastic Major, so there are only a few photos for the end of 2020.

not designed by an equestrian: that railing is in a weird turn and right at riding knee height, ouch!

This has surprisingly been a good riding year! Not many travels, and only local adventures, but no stress of conditioning or endurance rides. I'm still having fun working on the 1900 mile Pony Express challenge, (I am near the Diamond Springs Station, Nebraska!)

apocalypse wasteland, or low lake water levels?
 My ride recording app sent me my stats for the year: 753 miles, 83,632 feet of elevation, over the course of 95 rides. I was most impressed that is is 157 hours, and that doesn't count the time spent getting ready, untacking, general horse care and everyday horse time spent. Maybe I don't want to add up all those hours (I know I don't add up the dollars)!
things are getting green
Best of all Major is healthy and happy to be out (as evidenced today, oh boy!) and we look forward to more fun on the trails in 2021. Happy New Year everyone, and happy trails!