Sunday, July 22, 2012

Rockin the City of Rocks

The hot temps of day 2 I knew had taken a lot out of Thunder. He wasn't tired but even though he is a big red bugger sometimes I still don't want to hurt my horse. But his appetite was good all night and he was raring to go in the morning. There was no way this boy was going to be camp lizard!
My friend Trish Frahm wanted to ride Blue on Day 3 and I figured the "two boys" would enjoy the trail together. Steve Bradley got a great shot of us on the trail! We came into the vet check near Twin Sisters when Colleen who was riding the 25 miler had only 9 minutes left, and we managed to keep her out of the boys sight so not one nicker was heard! Rushcreek Hollie looked great and CM gave me a thumbs up. They went on to finish 3rd in 2:51!! Woohoo!! And another great shot by Steve Bradley!
The route took us on some gravel roads but at least we could usually find a nearby cow trail. The Teeter crew had hauled LOTS of water and the horses stayed tanked up in the cooler weather than day 2.
It's always fun to stop and read the historical signs along the way!
And the zillions of rock spires and towers could resemble anything you wanted them to be, this one was an eagle.
This day we were 11th and 12th in 6:22. Both horses passed the post ride with flying colors!! Thunder now had 3 days completed. Now we were committed and had to ride just one more to be a 4 day horse! The morning of the final day there were only three four-day horses starting. Thunder had roughly a 7 hour lead over the other four-day horses, all we had to do was finish! The final trail had changed due to a fire on Wednesday and also there were predicted thunder storms for the afternoon. Steph was keeping us down low and out of the mountains for safety. I don't like dodging lightening bolts so I wanted to be done as early as I could get it! The trail was pretty easy and 20 miles to the vet check at Elephant Rock. We had a nice meadow with lots of grass and a grand view of more rock formations than one could ever imagine!
I was riding with Donna Thibadeu-Kelly and the Carol Brand caught up with us a bit later by Pinnacle Pass. We cruised on around the flats and made the loop down to Utah one more time. A few miles from camp it started to rain and the sky rumbled a bit. It was time to step it up and head for home! With 2.7 miles to go we met Merri Melde on the four wheeler. She was shooting some video and somewhere in that is a great shot of the three of us with a big lightening bolt behind us! Merri said "See ya!" and took off on the four wheeler as a big old crack of thunder boomed overhead. Yeah well we weren't far behind her! As we got close to camp we slowed the horses down so they could finish cool and not have to wait to pulse down for the vet check. Good plan only no sooner did we finish than the heavens boomed followed by a torrent of rain and everyone ran for cover!!
We finished 7th in 5:25 and I showed him for Best Condition. His vet score was the high score of the day with 417.5 but we were almost an hour behind the horse that got BC, Phinneas, so the time factor hurt us. But I was still very happy with my boy and a high vet score! The only four day horse in the bunch to show for BC too! Our total time for four days and 200 miles was 26 hrs and 41 minutes. This was Thunder's third complete multi-day and he is a lot more fun to ride on multi-days than just one day because he does settle down. :) Yup he is the rockstar!!


Photo by Steve Bradley

The forecast for the Eagle Spring Fling ride was rain. Myself and two others, Lee Pearce and Lynn Frederickson, had perhaps foolishly signed up for the 75 miler. Our plan was if we woke up in the morning in a large lake then we would downgrade to the 55.

Not long after crawling into my bed did I hear raindrops hitting the roof. Oh joy! I lay there listening to the rain trying to recall how many times I have ridden this ride on how many horses over the years. I've ridden it eight times since 1997, four horses and that was mostly Zapped+/. How many different ride names it has had and some of the history behind it. In those eight years it had three ride names. But if you go back in time, the general area has hosted many endurance rides since the 80's. Perhaps the oldest ride was put on by Bob & Joan Lyons and they called it the R&R Ride, and if I'm wrong someone out there will correct me. Right?

A view of Rocky Canyon, which now has a cross honoring Sue Newby who died here and she is the angel watching over the trail

I snoozed here and there amid the raindrop lullaby and woke up early to an overcast sky, no rain or wind. Yes!!! I looked down towards Lee's camp and saw him getting ready. Lynn's camp was quiet but I knew she'd still be going. So I saddled up Thunder. He was rearing to go, his raceface was firmly in place and I knew I would be having a rolicking good time!

I started with Lee and Lynn but after several miles when Lynn's horse went out in front Thunder's brain oozed out his ears and he became the fire breathing dragon that he can be. So I circled him and decided to get off before he put me off. I told Lee & Lynn to go on ahead. I had more horse than I could handle and would walk and settle him down. Well I didn't get to do that right away because we were having problems finding a turn and my horse was busy zipping in circles around me as I growled. Grrrr! When they found the trail they hollered at me from the top of the hill and waved so I could find it. I waited a few minutes for them to get out of sight, let him eat some grass and hopped on. I didn't want to walk the hill on my feet! Thunder had all the energy, and he didn't need it all!

So now it was going to be just us, all day. But towards the end of the loop we did meet up with some 50 milers coming in off a different loop. I rode in with Carrie Thorburn the last couple miles. Thunder vetted in with a whopping 40 pulse and I promised the ride vets I'd try to ride him harder the next loop.

My strong red horse did regain a marble here and there as we rode up the hill past Rocky Canyon, heading East towards the snowy peaks. It was colder up here and I was happy to make the turn and cross the high end of the canyon and head west again. Our Easyboot Gloves were working well as I'd look down every so often to be sure they were still on his hooves. As we headed back to camp we met up with Wayne Burnett and rode with him on his black mare for a mile or so. Thunder vetted in at 52 this time and looked great.

Two more loops to go. He continued to vet through with A's! Each time we left camp he happily trotted down the dirt road, never minding that he was the only horse leaving camp. We had been roughly 30 minutes behind Lee and Lynn all day and thats where we finished too. Thunder was considerably smarter at the end of the day than when we started. I sure hope he keeps those marbles in place at the next ride!

City of Rocks - Castle Rocks

Day 2 of City Rocks promised to be a scorcher and it warmed up fast as soon as the sun came up.
Our trail headed towards Castle Rocks Park, a section of private land that had been purchased for National Parks. We rode past the Castle Rock Lodge and up to the Circle Creek trail which we looped around twice.
Then out to the Tracy Homestead for a vet check in the City of Rocks Reserve. Some of this was beautiful and great footing, however we had quite a few miles of hard pack gravel road to connect it all. This was probably my least favorite day because of the rocky roads with no shoulder.
Because it got so hot, 101, several horses had to be rechecked for their Cardiac Recovery Index, including Thunder. His pulse jumped to 68 on the trot out but for our recheck his CRI was 48/48 so I was very relieved and happy about that!!
We had some really nice mountain trails with Aspen and shade which helped with the heat and the footing was superb. We had many great views of amazing rock formations and the last couple miles were on a wonderful horse trail with the trail head near the Smoky Mountain Campground.
From the trail head it was only about a mile or so to camp and hooray we were finished!! Just a bit slower than day 1 with a time of 7:33 and 7th place finish.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

City of Rocks - Family Day

The first days ride was "Indian Grove", a trail that took us up to 7400 feet elevation. We traveled through places like Granite Pass over the California Trail and along many rock formations including Twin Sisters. However the darker spire is much older granite than the other so they are really more like mother and daughter.
We followed several roads taking us along the base of Camp Rock and Register Rock before reaching the lovely dirt trails amid the abundant rock structures. The area reminded me of Colorado's Garden of The God's. I was riding with Layne Simmons, who was aboard Thunder's son, Beautys Harley. We had been in the vet check for about 20 minutes when my friend riding Thunder's dam, Rushcreek Hollie, arrived. They were participating in the 25 and we now had three generations of endurance horses on one trail. I don't think that happens very often and I am not sure that I have ever seen it!
After the vet check we had a lot of mountainous trails. They weren't really steep as it the trail weaved around via switchbacks worn into the dirt and granite.
The scenery was awesome and many of the rocks looked like pyramids or anything you might want them to be.
Them after climbing up up up to the water tank at Indian Grove, it was down down down and weaving our way around and through the rocks, back down to the desert floor at 5500 feet and beat a path to camp. Layne and I finished 9 and 10 in approximately 7:20. I still don't have exact times - sorry. :)
Hollie and Charlie Mongoose completed the 25 and they had a great time! Hollie's first endurance ride in about 4 years and CM's first ride in about 28 years!! I think I have re-created a monster getting her back on the trail! Her husband is going to kill me! HAHA Stay tuned for 3 more days of trail! :)

Monday, July 16, 2012

City of Rocks - We are here!!!!

Over a year ago Steph Teeter and friends began planning the new City of Rocks endurance ride near Almo, ID. The pictures all looked so beautiful I knew I had to go. It takes a lot of work and planning for someone to put on a multi-day ride but hey, it takes a lot of work and planning to get there and ride it too!! It's a darn good thing we all started early!! HAHA
My good friend "Charlie Mongoose" from Washington went with me and we caravaned over with Trish Frahm. We arrived Monday the 9th and got our camp all set up before the big thunderstorm hit. Hmmmm....was this a sign of things to come?
The next day we unhooked the truck and went for a drive up in the City of Rocks Reserve and checked out the campground and a few trails. Gorgeous place is an understatement! Plus there is a great deal of history in the area. This old homestead site, now known as the Tracy Homestead has a very long history and was a vet check site for day 2.
We found a lot of cool rocks and named our own like C's Budweiser Frog Rock. LOL
This area is rich in history as emigrants traveled the California Trail often meeting Shoshone hunting parties. Some people settled while others moved on. The Kelton Stage line used the route regularly. Most homestead sites and stage stops are gone but the history remains. I would have loved to have seen the wagons traveling amid the huge pieces of granite that stick out of the earth as they traveled through Pinnacle Pass along side Twin Sisters!