Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ride to Three Fingers

Yesterday was a beautiful day and my friend, Josette, and I decided to ride out to Board Corral. The route takes us on Kettle Camp Rd, past the Devils Gate, over some hills and rocks down into the gulch and canyon known as Board Corral. I discovered there are no baordsa at Board Corral, it is almost a box canyon. The high cliff walls have caves that we didn't explore, figured we'd find a rattle snake or two. There is a spring with a trough full of water and some green grass on the other side of the fence. Elevation is roughly 3900 feet. We had a snack and some water and decided that we weren't done yet. "Doesn't seem like much of a ride." said my die hard friend. "You want to go ride out towards Three Fingers?" I quickly answered "Sure! I'm game!"
So we traveled on towards Three Fingers Butte, once known as the Prince of The Owyhees - so I'm told. This rough rugged rocky topped Butte stands around 4900 feet. The grass was thick and tall. Thunder thought it was a great pasture. It was a rugged rocky trek to the edge of the rocks that top out the Butte but what a magnificent view! We could see for miles. It was absolutely beautiful as the tall grasses waved in the breeze.
On the way back we watered the horses once again in Board Corral. Here we met up with one of those pesky rattlers on the way in. He was in the grass near the creek where it was cool. Then we found another one when we were almost back to the trailer near Succor Creek Rd. Summer must be getting here if the snakes are out.
What a great ride! We went about 30 miles and sure saw lots of desert and rocks! Years ago when I first saw Three Fingers I never thought I'd get to ride to it. What an awesome experience!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Owyhee Caves

The Owyhees and the vast area known as Succor Creek house many caves, rock formations, old mud cones, lava rock tossed from I-am-not-sure-where, quicksand and several other fascinating things. We can always find somewhere to explore and discover. The possibilites are endless. Sunday, June 8, we decided to revisit Devils Gate, a HUGE rocky canyon, high cliff walls and cave, the description fails to do it justice. Technically it is referred to as a "Gap", probably due to the split or crevice in the cliff walls. The horses do not like it. We joke it's because they don't like the ghosts of fallen rock climbers. Could be? But they are very nervous in there and can't wait to leave.

There is a much smaller cliff wall that angles back in, forming a cave, not far from Devil's Gate. The horses were willing to enter this one. I'm sure the cave has a name but we don't know it. Some call it Little Devils Gate. The picture is a bit far away but it shows how big and tall the walls are. Over a hundred feet of solid rock. Remember, this one is smaller than Devil's Gate. Cattle and wildlife find shelter from storms in this cave, and sometimes it holds water. Since this original post I have discovered a very old pic of this same cave with a horse and rider in the Owyhee Trails book! It's just one of the many cool places we find when we ride. And yes- I know how lucky I am to have such a place to ride and explore!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Adventures with Josette

There are days where life is just an adventure, that was yesterday when Josette and I went riding. Now first you must remember that the two of us have a way of making an adventure from the simplest things. It is the easiest thing for us to do.

It was just another day as we trailered out to the Owyhees to ride. We wanted to ride past Devils Gate out to Board Corral. I thought the sky looked a bit ominous but Josette pointed out that the wind was blowing the storm away from us. OK I said as I heard "rumble rumble" off in the distance. Meanwhile her gelding, Elvis, was protesting going that direction. He was doing purt near everything in his power to say "I am not going that direction". Thunder started trotting up the hill and Elvis came along too. We had to move off the road for a pickup filled with barking dogs, thank goodness theyw ere tied in there. No sooner did we trot half a mile and here comes motorcycles. So we got off the road again and waved and smiled as the boy came by on a bike, the dad came by on a bigger bike, and here came mom on a 4 wheeler. She was frozen stiff on that thing and wasn't going fast enough to keep up. We snickered and made smart remarks as we got back on the dirt road and trotted along.

Then I saw a big flash of lightening. It went horizontal over the hill, nothing downward at all, and it was a couple miles away. Josette said she didn't see it, but she saw the nest one. "OK lets take this trail here and go the other way." The wind had quit blowing and somehow the upper winds were swirling the storm our direction. I think this was when we decided that perhaps Elvis did know best afterall and we should have listened.

So we trotted off and headed down a big gulley that would circle us around back to the trailer. "WOW! Look at that." I said. There on a hillside was an old mud cone, all swirled about with different colors. It was cool. So we had to go check it out for a closer look. There was a huge washout behind it from previous storms and a tunnel through the hill where the water had flowed. The rain, thunder and occasional flashes of lightening ended our fascination with the hill and sent us back to the gulley for protection. There we stood crouched under our horse's necks, attempting to stay dry, while the storm passed over.

In between counting the seconds between lightening flashes and the thunder booms, we spotted some neat rocks in the gulley around us as we waited out the storm. After the danger of lightening was gone we mounted up. Now my saddle has a fleece tushy cush on it that was completely saturated, and so was I once I sat on it. :-)

We rode back to the trailer. The rain was hitting the horses in the face so naturally they wanted to go the other way. Water ran every where, the clay mud was slick and gooey. By the time we got to the trailer the sun was out and it was really beautiful. The curlew was yapping at us, must have had a nearby nest. We had to wait about an hour to drive out so we wouldn't get stuck. That's why you always keep refreshments and food in the horse trailer. There were still a few tricky spots but since I am writing this you know we made it out. :-)