We arrived mid day on Friday and set up our camp. Harley, Thunder and Quinn were all pretty happy and content. We lined out our tack, our snacks and then our vet bags for the out vet checks. It was decided that Lindsey would go to the "river check" as we would pass through there twice. Then onto the last out of camp vet check on our return to camp. Everything finally got organized for three of us. Thunder was the only one who would eat his beet pulp mash with the electrolytes in it so I had to try and keep his BP separate from the others.
The ride started at the butt crack of dawn as we headed for the start. My usual riding buddy Trish Frahm caught a shot of us in the morning cold. There was frost on everything!
We trotted along in the cool early morning. The forest trails were beautiful and the scenery was a treat for this desert rat!
We also found a gorgeous doe nibbling some brush near the trail. By the time I got my camera out though she was wanting to leave.
We breezed through the first check and back into camp for a 45 minute hold. I was feeling pretty good but took my Alleve for the day. Thunder ate his mash well and was doing great with A's on his vet card. The 45 minutes went way too fast and we were all a bit rushed to get the horse cared for and return to the trail for the 50 mile loop.
Lots of Mountain Syringa in bloom along the trail.
Layne and Harley were doing well and so was Nance with Quinn. They looked great on the trail. But unfortunately Quinn was a bit "off" in the river vet check and was pulled. So then it was just Layne and I. There was a lot of grass here for the hrose's to eat and Thunder wanted it and not his mash. It was time for my Absorbine Patch to keep my hip from paining me and get me through the last half of the ride. I'll tell you now that stuff works beautifully!
The last part of this loop was also the first part of our final 20 mile loop. So we got to see and chat with the front runners which was fun. Once in camp our 45 minute hold again zipped by way too fast. And we were a bit late going back out as Thunder's CRI (cardiac recovery index) was not great and we had to recheck. My "Unicorn" Team members were very supportive and Kathleen Ferguson trotted Thunder out for me. I wasn't very smart after 80 miles and later realized he was hot and I should have sponged him down. DUH! Once back on the trail he trotted along happily and we tried to make a bit of time before it got dark. Mt. Bachelor was beautiful even with the clouds rolling in.
Unfortunately once it got dark we didn't trot much. Mostly due to rocks that we could hear rolling around under the horse's hooves in the dark. With the glo lights I could see the big rocks but not the small ones. When the footing was good Thunder was willing to trot, but apparently I get vertigo these days trotting in the dark. So I just hung on and took deep breaths and did the best I could. When the footing would get crummy Thunder would walk.
We did the 100 and it took longer than I wanted, finishing at 2 AM. I know Layne could have gone faster but we stayed together on the trail in the dark. However we accomplished what I'd set out to do, just not quite in the way I had wanted to do it. Thank you Lindsey for crewing for us all day. I was happy to finish and thankful for Lois Fox, ride manager, who waited up for us. And Mitch Benson DVM who got out of bed and vetted us through for completion. We were among 17 lucky finishers out of 28 starters. Proof that it had been a tough day for many.
Photo by Jessica Anderson