Friday, October 12, 2018

Trail Log: 10-12-2018

  • Trail: Crane Creek Area (Big Flat Rd.)
  • Miles: 5.63
  • Ave mph: 3.1
  • Riders: Self - Jones and Dusty
  • Horses: Jack and J'Lo - Honor and Diesel!! 
  • Dogs: Shade, Hank, Savannah and Dealer

Notes: What a great day. Perfect October weather. Jones and Dusty wanted to scout Paddock Res. area for a 2019 IMO. Normally we go in through Little Willow. According to Google - there is a much shorter way to get there from Weiser going over S. Crane Crk. The thing about Google is you never know if what it suggests is doable. In this case, it was not. The "shortcut" that would have cut off 25 miles was now fenced off and posted private. Apparently, according to the rancher/cowboy we ran into - 40 years ago that is the road we wanted!

Lucky for us - getting lost usually turns out to be a good thing. Instead of wasting more time, we opted to make it an adventure and just see where we ended up. We drove a few more miles down the road until we were on BLM land and unloaded. Turned out to be an awesome place to ride and set an IMO.

This was also Dusty and Jone's horse, Diesel's first trail ride. He did amazing. It's one thing to take a young colt out of the round corral for the first time - something all together different to take a mature horse out and expose it to the world. Diesel did about as good as any horse in that situation would. He traveled right out - didn't mind being in the lead and leaving his pasture mate. He didn't spook at anything. He doesn't know yet to stand when you stop - but he can't be expected to. He just has no idea what is expected of him yet. All he needs is a few more wet blankets under him and he will be a great ride.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Trail Log: 10-6-2018

  • Trail: Hitt Creek to Keithly Creek (A Lee ride)
  • Miles: 11.91
  • Max mph. : 8.8
  • Ave mph: 2.6
  • Riders: Self - Lee - Cindy and Becky
  • Horses: Jack - Prince - Rio and Jonas
  • Dogs: Hank

Notes: Some days you just have to ignore the weather forecast and saddle up anyway. Today was such a day. Most people who ride will tell you they don't mind riding in the rain if they get caught in it - but they don't want to saddle up in the rain. Afraid Lee would cancel the ride due to rain - I opted to pretend like I didn't see it and saddled up under a tree. Turned out to be a beautiful day for a ride. There is nothing more brilliant than apsen in the fall. We rode up to Hitt summit into the fog and snow. I don't think it got above 50. It's all relative. Here in the next couple of months, 50 is going to feel like T-shirt weather.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Trail Log: 9-30-2018

  • Trail: Weiser River Trail
  • Miles: 12.49 total
  • Ave: 3.8 mph
  • Max: 19.1
  • Riders: Self - Jimmy M. 
  • Horses: Jack, J'Lo and Rebound
  • Dogs: Hank, Shade and Pica

Notes: It was a sad weekend with the passing of our friend and fellow horseman, Devon. He will truly be missed. One recurring thought from Devon's family and friends that stuck in my mind: Devon never judged anybody. I think that is a wonderful thing to be remembered for.
In memory of Devon  I also think everybody should have a celebration of life before they die. People should hear the good things about themselves that others have to say.

Sunday was an eclectic day of riding. With plans to ride with Jimmy in the afternoon - I saddled up J'Lo and took the dogs for a short 4.80 mile run on the Weiser River Trail. J'Lo, usually kind of grouchy most of the time, seems to enjoy riding out by herself. She trod on down the trail, ears forward and tail swaying back and forth in a relaxed motion as opposed to her usual ear-pinning, tail switching self. It was nice. We took Shade for the first 3 miles, then left her at the trailer while he ran a couple miles farther. Hank took off in front of us 9-0. I gave J her head to see if she could catch him. Apparently a horse is faster than a border-collie. She easily caught him at 19.1 mph.

A few hours later, I saddle Jack and rode with Jimmy and his new 3 year old filly he named "Rebound." We long trotted/lopped most of the 7.69 miles. It felt good to clip on down the trail at a good pace. Jack was in heaven. He'd run all day if I let him.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Hiking Log: 9-23-2018

  • Trail: Rock Creek - Mineral Rd. 
  • Miles: 2.03
  • Hikers: Self
  • Dogs: Shade and Hank

Journal Entry: 

Life is like an unopened tube of bottle caps

The dogs don't always get to go with me. Not all places are dog-friendly and some of the rides are too far without water. They had to stay home all weekend so I promised them that Sunday was dog-day. We drove up Rock Creek through private ranches and parked a few yards before the public access area courtesy of Rocking M Ranch and the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. I think we were technically on private property still but it was not posted. I doubt anybody would care if an old lady and her dogs were roaming around. Besides - I always pick up trash on my way in and out. Sort of like perpetual litter patrol. 

We pulled off at a wide spot on Mineral Rd. and hiked up an old four wheeler trail. My GPS designated the road as "Minor Highway." Kind of an over-confident statement for a road barely suitable for four-wheeler traffic. 

Part way up the dogs went over the bank for water to a stream running through a grove of trees and thick brush. Shade lets out an excited bark. Instead of grabbing for my camera - I grabbed for my .380, convinced a bear will be charging out of the bushes toward me any moment. Shade barks again and bushes begin to rustle. Maybe it's not a bear. Maybe it’s a cougar! I think about grabbing my camera to get a shot off just before I'm eaten by a rabid, hiker eating cougar. More barking...more rustling - closer this time and straight at me. I brace myself for the kill as a terrified, innocuous, bushy-tailed red fox lunges out of the bushes toward me - makes an abrupt 180 and heads the other direction. It COULD have been bear - or a cougar. It could have been a serial killer!  

Hank took off in one direction and Shade the other. I called to the dogs when they got out of sight. Hank immediately came back. I whistled again, louder this time. Still no sign of Shade. I called and whistled as we continued to walk up the trail. I'd been calling and whistling for a good five minutes, more worrisome as time passed. I know she doesn’t hear as well as she did. Sometimes I wonder if she hasn’t lost some sight as well. Maybe she had gone back to the truck? She’s done that before when she grew tired on a long hike or ride. I wasn’t sure whether to keep going or head back. I happen to look up and caught a glimpse of her as she was about to head over the top of a hill. I whistled again as loud as I could. She seemed to hesitate, look around and progress faster up the hill. I imagine she heard the whistle but couldn't tell which direction it came from. She's in good enough shape that I knew I couldn't get to the top of the hill before she headed down the other side to who-knows where. I decided to try and head around the bottom of the hill and cut her off - hoping she didn't turn around, head back down and get totally confused finding us gone. 

I made a mad dash around the hill, relieved to see a trail that followed the base of the mountain in the direction I wanted to go. Once around the hill I whistled again. Hank perked up and stared up the draw on the back side of the hill we last saw her. Shade bound off the hill toward us. I’d like to think she wasn't lost at all. She use to do that all the time as a young dog. She would take off after something and I could not call her back for nothing. An hour later she would come trotting in, tongue hanging out and exhausted looking all sheepish. I wish with all my heart that was still the case. Shade didn't look sheepish this time. She looked relieved. It breaks my heart to see her slow down. Knowing it's inevitable doesn't make it any easier. 

We hiked to the top of a hill to take pictures and rest before turning back. Shade and Hank led the way back toward the truck. Every 30 yards or so, Shade would stop, look back and make sure I hadn't wandered off and gotten lost again. 

Safe from bears, cougars and serial killers - I ejected the live round from the chamber. The .380 slipped out of my hand and fell between the seats of the truck. I slid my hand between the cushions and felt around. I shuddered at the sensation you get when you feel around for lost stuff in couch cushions. I pulled out leaves, dog hair, plastic water bottle caps, coins, a half dozen pens the banks send you in drive-up vacuum capsules - gum wrappers - gum still IN the wrappers - an old stand-alone GPS and a pair of sunglasses I hadn't seen in years. My fingers felt something round and smooth. It could be a .380 brass. I clamped my fingers around it and pulled it gently up through the cushion. An unopened, still in the wrapper tube of candy bottle caps unexpectedly appeared in place of ammo. SCORE! 

I pulled the old dodge back onto the road. Shade and Hank peered over my shoulder from the back-seat looking happy as...well, happy as a couple dogs who seem to know they have a pretty darn good life.

Life is like that sometimes. You set out looking for one thing you lost and end up finding really cool stuff you didn't know was there all along. 

Friday, September 21, 2018

Black Lake Four Wheeler Trip: 9-21-2018


Now and then I climb down off my horse long enough to climb on a four wheeler. I cleaned up "Festus," (kind of forgot he was cool camo) - purchased an off-road sticker and headed for some unexplored territory. Well, unexplored to me, anyway. Beautiful country across the Snake from where my Grandma grew up on Copperfield. I'm always amazed at the beauty of God's creation. There is seldom a day goes by that I don't thank Him for creating such splendor for us to experience. 

Drove up to a lookout. Wow - the last part was kind of scary. I'm a bit of a chicken when it comes to four wheeling. Narrow - steep - rocky - straight-down "oh good hell I'm going to die" kind of road. It was worth it. 

Fall is definitely here on this last day of summer in all it's bold, brilliant color.

You can check out a few more photos here: PHOTOS 

Trail Log: 9-20-2018

  • Trail: Moores Hollow - Alkaline Crk. - Old Oregon Trail loop
  • Miles: 13.68
  • Max: 15  mph
  • Riders: Self - Jon
  • Horses: Jack and J'Lo

Notes: I've been wanting to do this loop for some time. When Jon asked me to go four wheeling on Saturday I agreed if he'd go riding on Friday so I could get a good ride in on both horses. I have to give it to him - he's not much of a horseman. Jack took pretty good care of him, regardless. The loop is usually 18+ miles but I hauled in farther to the entry point to cut off a few miles for Jon's sake. Pretty sure his backside was grateful. Fall is my favorite season - I just wish the days were longer.

Sunday, September 16, 2018