Saturday, May 23, 2009

First Trail Ride of the Season

The denizens of Che Buckskins, along with four of our friends trailered the horses to a place known as Buck Creek, which is off Highway 410 in the Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest. The weather was beautiful, and, for the most part, the horses were well behaved.

The trails are in pretty rough shape, however. The winter was particularly hard on the mountain regions, with a lot of blowdowns and washouts. We ran into several trail crews who were running their chainsaws on overtime. Apparently this is the worst it has been in years. We had to negotiate more than a few fallen trees, and my handy dandy pack saw, which Mrs. BR gave me last Christmas, got put to the test a few times. I'm pleased to report that it made short work of the logs I attacked.

This is the first time I've been to Buck Creek. It's a rather multi-purpose area, with a horse camp, trails, an airfield of all things, and seemingly thousands of campsites, full of campers enjoying the long weekend.

After riding up in the trails for a couple hours, we wanted to take the horses down to the river to water them. In order to do this, we had to ride along the dirt roads in the campground.

As it turns out, much to our surprise and bewilderment, people were thrilled at the sight of our horses. I can't tell you how many people snapped photos of us as we rode by. Children would come running up to the road to watch us. Overheard from one little girl, "that one looks like a cow", in reference to DN2's paint horse Dozer. That drew a laugh from all of us.

Two of the pictures I took while down on the White River:

As you can see, there's still snow in the higher elevations. I think it will be late July, early August before I can hit the really good trails this year.

One moment of levity occured while we were down on the river. While snapping photographs, I dropped my left rein, with about three feet of it landing in the river. Despite my best efforts, I couldn't quite reach the bit to get hold of it. It didn't help that every time I reached down the left side of Smokey's head, he turned it to the right. Finally, one of the other riders grabbed it and handed it to me.

Problem was, he handed it to me on the right side. Now I had two right reins. This would never do. With a bit of effort I managed to pass it under his neck, and balance was restored in the universe. Thankfully, Smokey stood passively while this whole fiasco was in progress. There's a reason I like that horse.

As Winston Churchill once stated, "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle." Today was a wonderful day.

This look seems to say, "can we go home now?"

Yes, Smokey, we can.


Christina LMT said...

Wow, I envy the Buckskins crew! What a fabulous day. Marvelous pictures, too...I'm not sure I could take pictures from the back of a horse...:)
Have a good Memorial Day, B.R.

MSL said...

I especially liked the story of the reins being dropped and then coming up with them on the wrong side. I think that non riders will think "what's the big deal" while those of us that do ride know how any break from the usual routine can trigger that flight instinct and cause all kinds of havoc. Half the fun of riding for me is the necessity of trying to put yourself into the head of an animal that sees the world in an entirely different manner than we do and anticipating how they will react to that world.

Buck said...

The part that struck me? How far we've come from our past when the mere sight of horses is cause for excitement. You'd think things would be different Out West, eh?

Beautiful country, BR. Thanks for this.

Buckskins Rule said...

Christina: Thank you. I hope you have a great holiday weekend.

MSL: Too true. Had it been any other horse but Smokey, I'd have probably dismounted. But he's earned my trust that he won't do anything exceptionally stupid.

Buck: You are absolutely right. It got a little weird after awhile, like we were in a parade or something.

Anonymous said...

It was a totally fun day! I enjoyed it after the first 45 minutes or so! LOL

Daphne said...

Awesome pictures, you live in a gorgeous part of the country and the ride sounds so perfect.

Most of our larger parks have horse trails and camping facilities specially geared towards horsemen, the sight of riders isn't such a big deal here, but it's still wonderful to watch a large group ride by when you're out in the wilderness walking along in your expensive hiking boots.

Sigh, I should have been a cowboy.

Buckskins Rule said...

Daphne, there are numerous horse camps here in WA. This one just happens to be part of a larger campground.

I don't mind encountering hikers on the trail. Most of them will stop and exchange info regarding trail conditions, etc. They are out for the same reason, just using a more cumbersome mode of transportation. :) As a former backpacker, I can honestly say it's nice not to carry all that gear on my back.

alison said...

Lovely. Reminds me of my camping trip there. You are very lucky.

I love the horse pics.

Daphne said...

Hiking sucks compared to horeseback.

Buckskins Rule said...

"Hiking sucks compared to horseback."

As a reformed hiker, you'll certainly get no argument from me. Although it can present its own challenges. Picture an an evergreen tree sporting a ten foot trunk that has fallen across the trail, leaving a mere three feet of space above the trail. In a heavily wooded area, where the hill to the right present the only possible means of passage.

Yep, been there, done that, fell off the horse.

Anonymous said...

I do not like hiking at all! Lets let the horse do the hard work! Right?