Friday, March 29, 2019

quarry ride

We were the only trailer in the parking lot Sunday morning, so I thought that bode well for empty trails. I had checked the calendar: no official trail runs. As I tacked up a few runners came by, but they just looked to be the general sort.

Until I headed down the canyon. I guess a local running company was doing a trail running class. In the first 1/4 mile I passed the pretty good runners, all seemed experienced and either stepped aside or passed us when I waved them through. The next group, a bit farther down the hill, were the less experienced run/walkers. They all had obviously been told to YIELD TO HORSES. Which yes, is awesome. Except when I can get off trail to let 10 runners come though! So I did step aside quite a few times, telling them not to worry. Hoping everyone learned in the process.

There were just a few walker/hikers left in the back of the group, then we met the folks pulling ribbons. The main guy told me "I can tell a good trail horse, he doesn't care about any of this, does he?" he said amiably as he pet Major. I was pretty proud of Major for going through all those people, and have to admit, I'll take the admiration!

Let's chase the runner! Let's not!

Then we had to settle down for business, which Major now thought should include chasing any trail runners down the trail. It didn't help that they'd pass us on the downhills (where we walk) and I'd pass them on the level parts (where we trot!). But Major was listening much better than our last ride, and while enthusiastic to be out on different trails, wasn't being stupid. I'll take it!

both ears on the bridge to watch for trolls

little waterfall is pretty

At No Hands bridge I was able to see what some riders had complained about: ugly chain link over the railings. I wish they had chosen something that blended better, or historic looking (though there should be no rails!). I find this ridiculous, because go up the trail 20 feet and you can fall off the edge into the river there too. Sigh…

stupid chain link

I knew the ride for the day would be harder with more elevation than he had done for awhile. So I didn't want to push it, and descended the canyon and then out onto Quarry Road. This used to be the railroad tracks for the old quarry, and is where the Tevis riders come though in the middle of the night. Luckily it is also awesome for a big, long trot along the river.

along the cold, fast river
old quarry, now a climbing destination

At the quarry Major really wanted to go see what the people were doing, but I told him they were working. There are no horse accessible trails on the other side, but it is a neat amphitheater to go into, another time! Sadly the cool Hawyer Cave is blocked up (vandals), but there are remnants of the platform where the limestone was loaded into the trains.

platform from above

and below, it's pretty huge!

We went a bit further, but I was hoping to not add too many miles. We turned around to retrace our steps, and Major was quite enthusiastic! We passed all the hikers along the quarry road at a trot, nice to have such a wide trail!

this plant, ceanothus, smells completely disgusting!

Now up the canyon. Major was doing pretty good, though the steep hill at Robie Point tired him a bit. We still have a few miles to go buddy! We came into the staging area, where my SO was surprisingly waiting, and filming! SO then stayed to help out by doing the dirty work: washing the muddy hoof boots. I sponged the muddy beast, still too cold for the hose, and he was nice enough to roll in the green, clean grass!

graceful pony

I was super impressed at Major's fitness level, because he was still happy and moving well at the end, wasn't tired the next day, so I am hoping I judged the ride correctly. We did 13 miles with 1500 feet of elevation, and not fast, average speed 4.6mh. I have been worried that I was going to break my previously hoof abscessed, colicy, winter-vacation horse, but it looks like if I take it easy we're on the trail to many miles ahead, yeah!

so green, and he is actually clean!

As a postscript: I got a call from a ranger that they had found my hoof boot, someone turned it in. Except I didn't lose one this ride…it is from at least last spring! Pretty glad I scrawl my phone number in sharpie on the boots. The damn thing looks fine after a year in the elements, I'm glad to have it back!

reunited after more than a year lost on the trail!

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