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

CMSA Shotgun run

First run shooting shotgun with my new Yildiz .410. Sweetest little gun ever. 

Trail Log: 9-16-2018

  • Trail: Succor Creek - Power Line canyon
  • Miles: 5.52
  • Ave mph: 3.2
  • Max mph: 6.9
  • Riders: Self - Ralph 
  • Horses: Jack and Rosie the Mule
  • Dogs: Hank and Shade. Took Shade on a smaller, pre ride. She would have made this ride but I didn't know for sure where or how long we were going to be out. 
Notes: I hope when I'm 80 years old - Ralph will still want to ride with me. I sent  him and Sharon a text that I was going to haul to Succor Creek and ride. Sharon had other plans. Ralph saddled up Rosie and threw in with me and Jack. 

We wandered around the Succor Creek canyon/Power line trail. Instead of heading downstream the usual route - we veered off and went up-stream to see where it goes. We looped around until I was totally turned around. I swear, I have the worst sense of direction on the planet. Ralph pointed - "The trailer is that way." I look around trying to get my bearings. I felt the trailers were directly opposite. As we trod down a trail that I swear I've ridden before - I ask Ralph again: "Are you sure the trailer isn't over there? This trail looks familiar, but..." Ralph grins: "I bet if you look down you will see mule tracks." Sure enough - we were back on the trail we came in on. No wonder the damn thing looked familiar. I swear....

I'm never really lost - I just wander with purpose. 

We cut the ride a little short since the one trail ended at a dead end. Literally. There was something dead across the fence a giant buzzard/vulture looking thing was scavenging. Besides - I'm still a little sore from moving hay, splitting wood and digging for the septic lid. I did find the septic lid - after my neighbor called me a quitter for saying I was just going to pay the septic guy to dig it up. Actually, I found two lids. I do not tolerate being called a quitter. With the $150.00 bucks I saved I am buying a shiny new shovel - a roping rein for shooting shotgun and a case of Constant Comment Green tea.

As our routine dictates - we stopped at the Mirage for berry pie and tea/coffee served up by the perky waitress in the heavy cat-eye liner that only should could pull off in Adrian Oregon.  

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Annie - The Story of a Barter Mule

I've had several request to move Annie's story to my new blog. For some reason - this piece about a wary mule has been my most popular.

To read Annie's Story - click the link "Annie's Story" below.

Annie's Story

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Loading up the scout and moving to BLOGGER!

I am moving from a "pay-for-cost-way-to-much domain/blog" to a free site. I've submitted all my active subscribers already. I did not bother with those that were unverified and they are/were probably spammers anyway. :)

I will keep the old WordPress site "The Sagewriter" active for a month or so before decommissioning it.

I am not automatically exporting all my old WordPress content into blogger at this time. Maybe later when I get all ambitious. In the meantime - I will post new content and re-post old content as time goes on...and that is one thing we can count on; time does go on....

Please be patient as I post new content and figure out the new format (new to me) of How hard can it be, right?

Trail Log: 9-9-2018

  • Trail: Tripod Meadows
  • Miles: 10.67
  • Ave mph: 3.5
  • Max speed: 10.3 mph
  • Riders: Circle Four -Karen and Shade Hunters
  • Horses: Jack and J’Lo – Rooster and Honor
  • Dogs: Hank
Notes: Post IMO ride before packing up and heading home. Riding doesn’t seem to bother my back but driving sure does. I made it home by cramming a thermos behind the small of my back and leaning against it. Jones took pity on me and drove from McCall to Midvale. I’ve decided I’m not 25 anymore – or 35…or 45 for that matter.  Gone are the days of moving hay and splitting wood in one afternoon. Might be time to invest in a log splitter…probably cheaper than a chiropractor! I walked into the dentist Monday morning for a root canal. The dentist remarked that I looked miserable and how was my weekend? I commented back that this root canal was the best thing that’s happened to me in the last 10 days.
I have no right to complain though – I don’t have cancer and I’m not  being eaten by sharks.  I’m reading a book set during WWII. Circling sharks waiting for AAF bombers to crash into the ocean was a common sight for the crew. It’s hard to read about it let alone live it.