Sunday, October 28, 2018

Trail Log: 10-27-2018

  • Trail: Lonesome Willow - Antelope Springs - Succor Creek canyon loop
  • Miles: 14.15
  • Riders: Self - Lee - Cynthia and Becky
  • Horses: Jack and J - King - Rio and Jude
Click here for full set of photos: Get'in my hermit on

Notes: Well, I thought the previous ride to the lake would have been the highlight of the weekend. I was pleasantly surprised to find today's ride even better. I met Lee, Cindy and Becky at the head of Camp Hermit on Succor Creek Rd and followed them to a road above Lonesome Willow - previously known as the Bob Davis Ranch. The State purchased the old ranch and turned it into ...pretty much nothing. Sure wish they would put it up for sale and let somebody bring it back to life. What an awesome place in it's day. 

I've hiked, ridden or four wheeled most of the locations on the route Lee guided us over. It was wonderful to finally connect the dots. 

He showed us an old road that went into the Davis Ranch. We could follow it part way. Other parts were eroded away and we had to take an alternate, cross country path. Especially the sections of road skirting steep, bentonite hillsides. It was scary enough side-hilling a horse over it.  I heard Becky ahead give out a scream and shout a few expletives. The scream did little to instill confidence. Shortly after I hear someone ask: "Becky - why did you close your eyes?" She answered: "Because I don't want to see my death coming!"  At least she wasn't at the bottom of a ravine - there was hope. I rounded the hillside just as Becky and Jude lunged up the ravine to safety. The tracks of her horse sloughing off the steep bentonite hillside bore evidence of the source of her distress. We probably aren't going to die, I tell myself. Never weaken. J'Lo and Jack navigated the trail like old pros while I looked up at the sky and pretended like I didn't see what was under my horses feet. 

We had to bush-whack our way across Succor Creek coming and going. I'm usually in the back. I was riding J'Lo and she has a terrible slow walk. At one point the willows leading into and out of the creek were so thick I lost the others. I let out a yell - "Hey - where are you guys?" "GO LEFT!" they yell back.  Jack, who I was leading, seemed to grow tired of the indecision, stepped in front and cleared a path to the others waiting around the bend.  

The route Lee led us on crossed Succor Creek - passed Lonesome Willow - up to Antelope Springs and over the top to Succor Creek State Park. A couple of dirt bikes headed up the hill toward us. The rider in front never slowed down and revved his engine, scaring the horses. I don't know Lee very well - but he appears to be a rather easy going, kind person. As he squeezed his morgan into the path of the second rider, he looked anything but mild-mannered. He politely asked the second rider to please ask his buddy to slow down the next time he encounters horses. The second biker politely responded that yes sir, he sure would do that. We very seldom run into inconsiderate off-road folks. When you do - you like to think they just don't know better. 

We rode over the bridge, through the park, down Succor Creek Canyon road to "my favorite camping spot" where we forded Succor Creek for the last time and back to Lonesome Willow and to the trailers. Lee pointed out the various old trails, roads and irrigation ditches (that supplied the Davis Ranch) and other historical tidbits of interest. 

We had ridden by many of my old stomping grounds. There was the The Twin Towers. I recognized the area where Spud and I ate lunch and he drank water out of a pool of rainwater captured in rock. I snapped a picture of our feet with the rim rock across the canyon in the background. There was the two rock cribs in the fence line spanning the deep gorge where Spud and I got several chuckar. And there was Chuckar Rock - the massive rock formation marking entry to the gorge Spud and I hunted up and ended up lost until almost dark. I need to write up that story some day. It was the beginning of my "always be prepared" for anything phase. 

It was an unforgettable ride on many levels. Great friends, fond memories and invaluable local knowledge of an area that is more home to me than the address on my power bill. 

Trail Log: 10-26-2018 - Fisherman Rd. To Owyhee Reservoir

First view of the reservoir 

  • Trail: Fisherman Rd. To Owyhee Reservoir 
  • Miles: 21.8
  • Riders: Self - Lee B. 
  • Horses: Jack - J'Lo - Prince

Notes: Met Lee at the beginning of Fisherman Rd. bright and early. Needed an early start to make sure we were back before dark if possible. I've been wanting to do this ride for a long time. Lee has driven and hunted the route, but not ridden it. Fisherman Rd. goes all the way in and drops you down onto Owyhee reservoir.

Beautiful ride. Rocky and steep with some gnarly switchbacks dropping into the lake. Stopped about a half mile from the park for lunch and headed back. Rode Jack in and J'Lo out. Got a little rain on the way out. Just enough to settle the dust.

Saw a herd of deer with a couple of nice bucks. Rocky terrain most of the way but well worth the trip.

Bade Lee farewell at his truck and rode back to camp a very happy hermit. Climbed up to cell  phone rock to text a happy birthday to my sister.

Trail Log: 10-25-2018 HERMIT CAMP

Overlooking Camp Hermit

  • Trail: Succor Creek Canyon Camp to Succor Creek
  • Miles: 3 
  • Riders/Hiker: Self
  • Horses: Jack and J
  • Dogs: Shade and Hank

Notes:  Sometimes I just need to get my hermit on. It's been a whirl wind year of shooting, IMO, work and just every day life. It was time to make one last hermitage into the Owyhee's before winter. Destination: Succor Creek Canyon.

After setting up "Camp Hermit," I took the horses and dogs for a walk to the creek for water and to stretch their legs. The area is getting more traffic as time goes on. The downside of that is the litter. Somebody built a quick fire and left their garbage strewn about. The same idiots that would do such a thing are the same that think aluminum cans will burn. I made a note to come back and clean up after them. Probably much like their mothers did for them, apparently. :( Sort of pet-peeve for me. If you can pack it in full, why the hell can't you pack it out empty?

 Hiking while leading 2 perfectly good horses just doesn't seem right. I don't think I've ridden Jack in a halter bareback so figured I'd go with the safer bet and jump on J'Lo. She's closer to the ground if things go south. J wasn't quite positioned for me to hop on. Jack on the other hand - was standing in a ditch next to a big rock! Tempting...This could go one of two ways and since I'm alive to blog about it- I'm happy to report it went better than expected.

Back at camp, we settled in for the night. Later that evening Lee B. stopped in after chuckar hunting for a quick visit. Him, Cynthia and Becky would be riding in the area over the weekend. Becky and Cindy wouldn't be able to make a long ride to the reservoir via Fisherman Rd. so we decided to ride it Friday. It's a route I've been wanting to take for years and one of the few Lee hasn't ridden. It beats going it alone. We made plans to meet at the end of my camping road by 8:30 AM.

Unusually warm weather for late October - stayed toasty warm in my LQ all night with no heat. Slept like a log.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Trail Log: 10-16th - 19th - 2018

  • Trail: Cornucopia Hwy. Halfway Oregon
  • Miles: 18.5 miles total
  • Riders: Self - Athena, Emmett, Sophia, Isabella and Marissa (Athena's sister-in-Law)
  • Horses: Jack and J'Lo
  • Dogs: Hank and Shade

Notes: My daughter and family came up from Wyoming to visit for a week. We all met at The Cabin in Halfway. I stayed in my LQ parked on the place and the horses stayed on my property 2.5 miles from the cabin. Some days we would walk the horses from the pasture to the cabin to saddle up and ride back at the end of the day. Other days we saddled at the pasture depending on where the saddles were. The last night, both saddles and horses ended up at the cabin so I high-lined the horses in place.

Athena's in-laws came up from western Oregon as well. We spent the week visiting, eating, hiking, riding, eating, fishing, eating...celebrating Grandma Lillian's 97 birthday and eating. We ate. A lot.

Emmett and I went on his first official trail ride. We rode 7 miles. He is a natural horseman. We also hiked quite a bit, fording Pine Creek just to see if we could. If you are going to hike with Grandma Laurie - you best count on getting your feet wet.

A beautiful week with spectacular falls colors. I can't wait for them all to come back.

Click for Google Photo Album: Fall with Family

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.