Wednesday, February 12, 2020


Major surveying the trail clearing: I can see the skate park now!

We started down the trail, heading out of Auburn for a longer ride. I'm in no rush for competition, but wanted to see where Major's fitness was after three months of not much.

a quiet moment on single track

After the first empty mile we encountered three teenagers walking along. It was a wide part of the trail, I said hi and they turned to see us. "Damn, that horse is an absolute unit," commented one man. I assumed this was a good thing (later confirmed it's a Reddit thread of cool big animals, so I guess OK!). On we traveled.

We stopped for the next woman to come hiking up the hill. "May I pet your horse?"And she proceeded to give starting-to-sweat Major a big hug and smelled his neck. I apologized for his dirtiness, but she just noted "Horses, they smell so good!"

Two encounters in two miles, not counting the people we just friendly waved to, hmmm. I remembered Dom's excellent post about being an equine ambassador and knew we were a part of that today.

Above the waterfall we waited for some people to climb the single-track section below. While we waited a runner, also standing there, asked to pet Major, "I've never pet a horse before, thanks!"

A distance trail runner (you can always tell who they are), came from behind and slowed down, I waved him through saying the horse was fine, "That is a bad-ass horse, cool," he said as he ran past.

Closer to the bridge now, two teen girls were taking selfies with the river in the background, I heard them exclaim, "A horse, a  horse!" I asked if they wanted a selfie with Major, and their faces lit up as they posed and took a couple photos.

I said hi to probably 50 hikers, people with strollers, babies, dogs and actual runners. It barely slowed me down. I know not everyone wants to take the time, but if you can, I really think I made a few people really happy with our interactions that day, and on this incredibly busy shared-access trail, I think that is important to do.

We headed up the other side where Major decided to kick it into higher gear. Fewer people use this steeper side, and we were only passed in the opposite direction by the distance runner, "Hi again," we exclaimed.

a warm day in Cool

Over in Cool I was going to just turn around, but Major wanted to head to the staging area. Where he proceeded to ignore the water trough, ate a bit of grass, and was on fire to keep moving.

So back down the canyon we went, again passing almost no one until the bridge. There we splashed though the large puddle in the middle, while someone took a distance photo from the other side.

keeping an ear out for bridge trolls

Now it was really crowded, but there is a time and place. We kept trotting but slowed for everyone and said hi, then sped up the the clear area. Major thought this was a very fun game! At the waterfall again I waited at the top while some people climbed up…and it was a friend from work! Talked briefly, but she could see Major was on a mission (though he was standing quietly).

sweaty Major looking back towards the trailer

Once past the waterfall the trail clears abruptly, and we motored along. Then we came to a halt, there was an emergency rescue crew in the middle of the trail, putting a person on a trail gurney. Glad they're there to help, even happier it wasn't me!

working on patience while emergency crew helps someone

The ride was a bit of everything: social hour, trail conditioning, patience training. We accomplished the 16 miles and 2200+ feet in three moving hours, 3 hours 20 minutes total time. Subtracting time at water stops, waiting for other users and being an ambassador probably took 10 minutes of a three hour ride. It was trail time well spent for Major and me, the impact we made to others is even more important.


  1. Trail diplomacy always is important! Looks like the emergency crew got the memo on the dress code ;D.

    1. yes, now I know my second career with Major! (plus it was all men, they need women!)

  2. GOOD BOY Major! I'm totally impressed. What an ambassador for his breed.