Friday, January 24, 2020

ride along

I thought I'd take you on an after-work ride, mostly in photos. My plan did not quite go according to plan (oh, drama!) but just be patient and wait till the end, it's something cool…

The sun finally decided to shine after four days of murky, cloudy and rain. That is too many days for me (yes, you all can laugh, but it's why I live in California!). I left work at 3:30pm and headed over to get my horse, planning on being on the trail by about 4:15 (it's lighter later, but not much!).

How dirty could he get overnight? His new name is PigPen, sigh…

not ashamed of being muddy and disgusting, glad he is brown!

AND the other side too, sigh…

But he got as clean as I cared to (note in all the upcoming photos I totally missed his right ear!) and we headed out down the lane at a walk.

down the lane

into the forest…

crossing the little creek
high road or low road (we stay on the low rode, don't want to slip!)

The woods are lovely, dark and deep (thanks Robert Frost for those words) and wet. I haven't retouched these pictures, and we didn't stop much (as you'll note from the blur). Major was as happy as I was to be out and we walked the muddy bits but he quickly picked up an easy trot.

moon/shark fin mossy rock

I carry a pruner, but someone has chainsawed these trees, so nice!

I love the winter trees
 The trails were a bit slippery but Major is sometimes actually sensible about that, and will slow down (though we still discuss that he does NOT get to go around the puddle in the middle of the trail, arghh). More trotting because the footing was better than I thought it would be!

speedy single-track

two roads diverged in the wood

At a fork I turned left to go on the ridge trail (I often take the trail to the right when I am hiking with Major, makes a nice three mile loop). I was on a mission to go up on the ridge trail and try to find the deer remains I'd seen in December. But it had been awhile, so I was sure the forest creatures had dragged everything off, but it's a pretty trail anyway! Major likes this trail as it is a bit more open and he can trot for longer stretches!

heading up to the ridge

pine-needle sunset

ridge trail

my not-so-secret trail…the road less traveled

I took the turn to my secret trail (totally not secret, in fact I marked it with a piece of flagging tape hoping more people would explore. I guess most people aren't so crazy adventurous around here). Major is great at scrabbling over a fallen tree and through a winter-dormant stand of poison oak (ok, so I don't always make the best choices, kind-of like my horse!), I saw it!!

Found it! 1.5 months in the forest, freshly dead to skull, amazing.

The deer skull was still there, with antlers attached! The jaws were there but scattered about with the leg bones and spine. I hopped off Major and picked up the skull, a couple vertebra were still attached, but came off pretty easily. It was mostly all clean, just a little bit rank.

I'd wanted to make this a longer ride, but with the addition of skull, that was not to be. Major didn't care at all about this long-dead thing, so I clambered back aboard, awkwardly trying to hold skull and reins. No real way to tie it on without stabbing Major! Major did take a bit of advantage when he figured out I wasn't in as much control as usual, let's just say there was much jigging involved (and the need to remind myself to train Major to neck rein, though rating him is another issue!).

Viking ride home!

As we headed home I felt like a bit of a Viking, holding this skull and trying to manage my very up horse. (And I totally pictured a great mystery detective: how did we find this rider on the side of the trail, impaled on a deer skeleton antler, and hoofprints all around?) But we got home safely, if in a bit of a blur.

my only attempt at a photo while juggling phone, horse and skull.

Back home the sun was well set and darkness was upon us, but Major had mash and hay waiting, and I had a smelly skull trophy (though it is a present for a friend). I thought it was a very successful after-work adventure…though not sure you'll want to ride-along with me in the future if I keep finding dead things…


  1. A nice find. And another great ride. Thanks for sharing.

  2. It's awesome the skull was still there. Well done getting it home safely!!

  3. Picard. They mentioned Seattle! (as did Discovery) Also, how cool was that to see Peter's mother (Fringe) living at the vinyard?

    I rewatched Nemesis yesterday and realized it matches the quality of the last 5 Star Wars films. I can enjoy a few great moments in each, but for the most part endure them. (I haven't seen Skywalker yet.)

    What was your impression of Picard?

    1. I thought it was great fun, I'd rewatched some Borg and android episodes of TNG and rewatched nemesis…"Blue skies, shining at me…" at the beginning of Picard, very clever…

    2. Wish I could have watched it with you, I was freaking out and my husband wasn't quite clear why. Out of all the fake "easter eggs" on YouTube, the best one of all is that Bing Crosby is actually the grandfather of Denise Crosby (Tasha). No freaking way. : ) : ) : ) Honestly though I cannot hear any of Picard's flute song from Inner Light in the Picard theme. Do you hear it? That we're rewatching means we're Star Trek Sisters: )

  4. Very cool “find.” (Except I AM wondering what kind of “friend” you would give a stinky skull to! Ha ha!
    Believe it or not that is exactly the kind of thing I would do. If I ever get well again I need Major to take Persee out for an adventure..

    1. I'd love to take you on an adventure, get well soon! Every time Persee sees Major he comes running to the fence.

  5. I just love seeing pictures of the green in Cali this time of year.

    And that skull! Super cool!! Are you going to do a European mount with it?

    1. The first hints of green…moss, ferns, are always so lovely after the dry fall.

      Not going to mount it at all! After talking to my museum curator friend he recommended just hanging it in the sun for the rest of the meat to be eaten by organisms. It is going to live outside on a fence (not inside) so I don't have to do much. I'd rather let nature take its course than boiling a smelly skull, that might be too much!