Sunday, July 13, 2008

On the trail again

I arrived home from MT at 2:30 a.m. on 7/10. Cows were mooing, and I freaked out thinking that they were loose. Son David emerged and said that the cows and horses had escaped twice while I was gone. I really didnt care much about the cows, but tore off to the barn to look for the horses.

Both were in the barn lot with Dakota munching on dogfood. Falcon seemed glad to see me and came over and nuzzled and snarfed me. Then Dakota gave up the dog food and did the same while I shooed them out in to the pasture and secured the gate.

(Turns out that the cows had been caught and penned up in the goat pasture)

Falcon had his new shoes put on on 7/10 as well. He had lost both of his hind shoes while I was in Montana and had completly overgrown his fronts which were hanging on with just a couple of nails each.

On Sunday, I decided to brave the heat and humidity and hopped aboard Falcon for a "short" ride up to the radio tower and back.

I had spent the morning clearing the trail and so we had a pleasant ride up...except that as I made the turn on to the fire road, I heard 4 wheelers revving around somewhere in the woods.

I nudged Falcon in to a trot and we headed on down the trail. The revving got louder and so I halted Falcon and flew off of him and quickly rehooked his rein to the chin ring so that I would have some length to work with in case he got excited.

The 4 wheelers rounded the corner and slowed to a stop when they saw Falcon hogging the whole trail. I asked them to wait while I climbed up the steep trail to a wider area. Falcon was visibly nervous, but controlable.

To the right of this trail, it drops off pretty steeply and I didnt want to end up rolling down the mountain.

When we reached the top, another 4 wheeler appeared from the other direction and slowly creeped past then stopped to talk for a few min. Soon they all came past and zoomed on towards the tower.

I gave them some space and then hopped on and we took off. Reaching the top, I saw that the 4 wheelers had taken the trail to the right and were sitting in a clearing.

I decided to explore a trail off to the left that I had never been on be continued......

Ok, so the trail was level for a short while and then dropped down over the mountain. It was definetly a hunters/4wheelers trail as the overhead was low and there were plenty of deer stands in the trees. I had to break branches as we went, but soon got off and hand walked Falcon as the grade was so steep.

soon we reached High Power Lines which had tall grasses and across from that on further down I could see a camping trailer and a red truck, on beyond that I could see Lake Arrowhead Road and Griffiths Butchering. So I knew where I was, but wasnt sure whether I wanted to take a paved road back home and expose Falcon to fast moving cars on this day.

Also, looking at the sky....YIKES, it was a menacing dark gray. The sky was so dark and Thunder was booming all around....ooooooooh we were gonna get wet regardless of the way we went.

Finally, I decided to turn around and go back UP the mountain, because at least the tree cover might keep me from getting totally soaked and I could get in a "Holler" if the the lightening got bad.

Trudge trudge trude, Falcon was really laboring and panting and dripping buckets of sweat from the heat. So I got off and hand walked him up. The wind was whipping all around. Trees were creaking and it was DARK in them thar woods.

At one point, I walked under a half fallen tree, Falcon stepped left and got the saddle horn stuck on the tree. He half reared, hopped sideways and all was well, except for me saying "oh crap, I'm dead if he lands on me"

Thunder kept booming and Falcons ears kept twitching back and forth. Then, grrr, I heard the 4 wheelers again and they were coming our way. At this point the trail was VERY steep but I was able to get off trail for them to pass. They turned their engines off and squeaked on by... but stopped to ask if we were ok and then said "yer gonna git wet"

Yeah, well, not much I could do about it now unless they had room in their camper for Falcon!

So onward we went, 10 steps, heave heave, rest, 10 steps, heave heave, rest...I was nauseated from the heat and the grade. I squirted some of my water on Falcon, but I doubt it helped any. At one point I sat down, but Falcon freaked out about that, so I got back up and leaned on a tree until my heart rate dropped.

When we reached the top, Falcon perked up, so I hopped aboard and he took off. Fine with me and when we reached the lower trail, it started to rain lightly which cooled us off, but the wind was really getting strong, the thunder louder and lightening strikes all around.

I kicked Falcon in to high gear and we raced for home. I never let him run home....ever! But this day, yes sirreeeee. Just as we reached the corner for the barn he saw a dogfood bag in the corner of the pasture and freaked out. Lurching sideways and stopping at the same time. did I stay on board THIS time!

Yikes more lightening. It made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. I jumped off and yanked Falcon to run behind me and we made the mad dash for the barn.

As we got in the barn, the sky let loose with torrents of rain. We got an inch in half of an hour!

I undressed Falcon and he was glad to get in to his stall. I stood in the barn for the duration of the storm. It was horrendous, all of that hammering rain on the metal roof. The roar was so loud that I couldnt hear myself think. The Great Pyrenees were all piled in the tack room and when they saw me they piled on top of me...yes, the dummies are afraid of Thunder.

The lightening was scary and zzzzzzzzting. In fact, Dakota, cribber that he is, was knawing on his stall door and I heard zzzzzzzzzt and looked around and Dakota was going crazy and I think the lightening must have zapped him a little. Serves him right, but I am glad he is ok and it DIDNT stop him from cribbing yesterday!

Shoot, I forgot to take my GPS with me, but regardless of the length of the ride it was a real workout with the climbs and the heat and humidity. Falcon did great and I am giving him 2 days off so I can work Red Dog Dan, the newcomer, which I will write about soon.

1 comment:

Shana said...

Sounds like one hell of a ride! The LD in Aug will be a cakewalk compared to what you are doing for training :-D