Thursday, November 27, 2014

thankful, even if

I'm looking forward to some family time today (I don't get to see them that often) even if my Dad and I will support opposing football teams, someone will surely say something unintentionally rude and annoy someone else, and everyone will eat too much delicious dinner to eat my pie. 

Appreciating beautiful views and great trails while riding even if my awful horse had no brakes yesterday. 

Loving my cute old kitty who rolls in the dirt even if the next thing she does is track it all inside onto the couch.

There are always the even ifs. I just remember look past them for the good things, today of all days. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, even if...

And remember to save room for pie.

Monday, November 24, 2014

the universe laughed

Went hiking for the lost hoof boot on a lovely, rainy Saturday. A good solid rain, which we haven't seen enough of, made the trails slick but pretty. I thought I'd find the lost boot: it's bright orange, most things are getting green, it can only be on about 1.5 miles of trail. I did find an orange boot!

ha ha universe, NOT funny! Found this at the waterfall crossing...

Seriously. The universe is laughing at me. Didn't find the real boot, damn. But it was still a pretty hike.

Calcutta Falls

big fall leaves

last week this little creek was totally dry

happy moss

Also managed a short ride in the quick sunset last week. Thought I'd just hop on Major bareback, he'd be fine, right? Not so much. I need to use the bareback pad, he's just to damn slick and had no interest in listening/stopping in his halter. So we mostly hiked instead! But still managed to see cool stuff.

looking stylish, being obnoxious

blurry zoom of an unconcerned bobcat drinking from a puddle

mushrooms happy to arise from damp earth

This week I'm going try and sneak in a ride between pie-baking and family visits. This coming weekend many friends are attending the last local endurance ride of the season and I'm totally envious. But between work, family, finances and logistics, I just couldn't make it happen. It sucks to be disappointed, but it's a disappointment that's easy to get over. I am still going to ride my happy horse, and doing fun things with family and friends, and be thankful.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

trail work

The early darkness has again turned me into a weekend warrior. During the week I might squeeze in between work and dark a short forest bareback ride, but for now the weekends are the only time I have for a nice long ride.

And this weekend I took grand advantage and took Major and his favorite new non-best friend Tux to Auburn. He would not share his hay bag like with Barkley last excursion, and spent most of the tacking up time making crabby faces. Whatever. Deal with it.

We headed out down the canyon and pretty quickly came across the trail work sign. I'd read they'd been doing some, but Major needed to read it himself.

Major being cautious, just like the sign says!

Then we saw evidence of the actual work, small tractors (not so scary) and many rocks (in the wrong place Major thought). Walking down to the creek crossing is scary black plastic right next to the trail, and straw-filled wattles for diversion. Lovely. Major got through it ok, then we waited while my friend safely walked Tux through.

tractor ahead

rocks in the wrong spot
looking back at the awful trail work

Now I don't mind them fixing up trails, but this work is supposed to be for making a bridge over the crossing. Now this trail already isn't that easy coming up or down, and has always seemed just fine. But I think since the "waterfall" (really, it's never that spectacular, it's just too small even when full!) was published in a few hiking books, more people are hiking, and maybe the powers that be decided to make something easier for them. It's a hiking trail, not Disneyland. There are rocks and trees and rough stuff. OK, rant over.

We headed down and over to Cool. I have enough pictures of this that I've grown complacent and forget to take out the camera, no matter how lovely the view. Plus we were cantering across the bridge. But my friend had a GoPro, the video is pretty short but entertaining. (linked in picture caption).

watch the video here

Up to Cool but a different way for me: Pig Farm trail. Very steep and slippery, we made it up, only to discover it comes out on the dreaded Training Hill! Luckily almost at the top, where we waited. Major thought I'd drag him down it, but we turned to head for the troughs.

blurry Pig Farm trail, luckily no real pigs in sight

Training Hill: longest .9 miles ever

waiting "patiently" for Tux (love those crabby "why are we waiting" ears)

Major did some epic snorkeling, but little drinking, and the Olmstead Loop troughs. He was more than happy to head home, back across the bridge and up to Auburn.

snorkeling and making a watery mess

heading back on dry trails, but green is appearing!

Major was not as happy going through the construction on the way back. There were about eight people and kids sitting on the lower rocks, black plastic, straw wattles, muddy water: he thought we should just skip it and proceeded to back himself about 10 feet, and into Tux! (that embarrassing moment also captured on video, linked in picture caption below). With enough encouragement we walked suspiciously through. It'll be interesting to see what the trail ends up looking like, with a bridge, supposedly still creek access, signage, and whatever else they do.

watch the creek crossing video here
Luckily the rest was uneventful, except for losing a boot. While I'm glad he just keeps going and his feet aren't sore, I really didn't want to buy a new boot! Damn. I'm hoping to hike the trail this weekend and look for it.

Back at the trailer the sun came out even more, and Major found a great dirt spot to roll in before getting back in the trailer. It'll be another weekend till we can get out again, and I want the rain but maybe it can just rain on weekdays? These weekend rides help keep the darkness at bay, getting out in the sunlight. I know there will be enough days when there is no sun, and no ride, and it is too wet and cold, but for now I am enjoying the time we have to play.

the end

Monday, November 3, 2014

return to the scene

Some people may remember when Major and I and a friend were attacked by pterodactyls (actually: terrified by parasailers) at Cronan ranch. I hadn't been back there, though not for any bad reason, I just hadn't made the trek. But friend S wanted to ride there, and spoiler alert: no one was harmed during the course of this adventure!

big and little, how cute is that

Major has some small horse friends right now, though adorable arabian/connemara Barkley more than makes up for it with his gorgeous mane and tail, enough for at least two of Major's pitiful examples. They became fast friends in the trailer, and Major even (mostly) shared his crack haybag.

We headed out on lovey trails, the dust subdued by a day of rain, but green grass still hiding beneath dry stalks. Soon. After a nice loop we took the big hill connector trail to the main trails. (sidenote: Every instance on every sign of what should be "Connector Trail" is spelled "connecter." It drives me crazy. Not standard english usage! So I'll pretend it is named after some "Mr. Connecter" out there, who donated the trail. Rant over). 

"Connecter" connector trail...

valley floor
from the ridge trail, distant river

Everywhere has great views, the river flowing below, long views across the valley, well-signed (except for spelling) trails. Major and Barkley had a grand time trotting and cantering, we went up the ridge trail to see the whole ranch spread below us, with some snow on distant peaks (and no parasailers in sight). Then back down the long gradual slope (for what seems like forever) to the valley floor, and visiting the old movie set.

movie set

Major wonders if there are treats in there
The river borders one whole side of the ranch, though part of the trail is closed in summer due to the hordes of professional rafting companies that use this space as their lunch pullout spot. But this day we were alone along the river trail, and worked our way down to an easier access to the rocky shore. Most trees here are evergreen, so the few yellow highlights along the river are lovely.

fall colors

There was one scary moment when some other riders came through the brush and startled Barkley. He jumped farther into the river, but only a couple feet, then figured out it was riders and settled right down. Major was a bit bored about the whole thing, he didn't want to drink, and thought standing here was dumb. The footing is really unstable too, with large rocks as bad footing, so wandering about the water isn't as fun as in other places!

silly horse captured mid shake in sparkly water
impatient Major waits for us to just go...
rocky river trail

Back on the trail we wandered around a bit, and Major had one naughty fit when he was passed by Barkley and thought he was losing the race…sigh. So then Major had to tortured (follow behind), where he trotted with flattened ears and crabbiness for awhile, till he figured out that didn't get him anywhere. Happiness resumed.

great cantering hill, here comes Barkley!
Heading back there are some super fun long cantering hills. My usual home trails don't have anything like this, so it was a blast! Major didn't have to be told twice that he could run as fast as he wanted! It was a great day on happy horses, a perfect start to the coming dark season. I was glad to return to the scene, to confront the old demons and replace them with new, fun memories.