MONDAY morning, we rounded up our respective mounts, stuffed them in the trailer, and zoomed up to Foresthill to do a quick ride from Foresthill to Chicken Hawk and back. We parked right in front of the cemetery (no, not ominous at all…), rode through the Mill Site, down Bath Road and into Volcano Canyon. Volcano is the smallest and “tamest” of the three canyons, but it still has its drop-off areas, and you still go down two miles and up two miles. And it’s also very, very dusty.
|all dressed and ready|
|heading towards the Mill Site -- can|
just barely see the trailer in the background
|they leave chalk signs on Bath Rd to tell you how far you are...|
I'm side-eyeing it more than the horse
|down Volcano Canyon|
|where the trail crosses and continues -- this is looking|
towards the Chicken Hawk side
|pausing to water the boys in the creek|
Going up towards Chicken Hawk, we saw bear tracks in the dust. And passed this really creepy-looking tree, all charred and dead in the middle of a bunch of greenery.
The new trail out of Chicken Hawk is interesting – I would love to see what it’s like after a winter of getting bedded in. As it is now, it’s very dusty, and there are random small holes to trip over/step in that are hard to see due to the fine, powdery footing. It’s definitely made for small, zoomy pones, with more twists and turns…but far more interesting than the old road. Slower, for sure…but I’m guessing the trade-off of having the larger vet check and more space is probably worth the trade-off.
|going up to Chicken Hawk -- flyin'!!!|
The boys got to clean up the hay leftovers at Chicken Hawk, and we surveyed the suddenly-ominous skies. “But rain was predicted for the high Sierras, not the foothills!” protested Kaity. The port-a-potties were still in place from the weekend, so we made use of the facilities, went through the check to the road and then back into the check – miming our way through “ride procedure” and then back out to the new trail.
|"Nomz" go the boys.|
|coming in to Chicken Hawk from the road -- ride direction|
|leaving Chicken Hawk on the new trail --|
|heading towards Volcano Canyon|
|bombin' down the road!|
I actually really enjoy Volcano Canyon – running it in the direction the ride goes is fun. A lot of the downhill can be trotted/shuffled down, so you can really make time. We briefly got sprinkled on (if a dozen drops of rain counts) going up the canyon when we passed through a break in the trees, but that was it.
|yes, Roo, I *know* you enjoy tightrope-walking the edge|
|makin' time! (camera doesn't cope well with low light)|
|lookit that pone corner at a trot!|
|Kaity stops to smell the bay leaves|
|"Why are we stopped? WHY???" Fidget pants r us.|
|the clouds we were racing|
|back at Volcano Creek|
|"Ani, don't LEAVE me!!!"|
|bottoms up! (there were trout in here)|
|mining remnants (and there were mining claim signs on|
some of the trees)
|drinking at the spring halfway up Volcano Canyon|
|at the top of the canyon, almost to Bath Rd|
New appreciation for how far up Bath Road you still have to climb – it’s not “just around the corner and you’re there.” But since the boys had only done about 8 miles at this point, as opposed to the 68 on ride day...we trotted.
|at the bottom of Bath Rd, just out of the canyon. on ride day,|
they have troughs here.
|about halfway up|
|at the boundary of the Mill Site -- approximately where they|
set out the trough on ride day
We did a bit of hay clean-up at the Mill Site, then headed back to the trailer. We got sprinkled on yet again right about the time we were getting in the truck, and then that was it for the rain.
The plan for the afternoon was to finally, finally go play at the American River Confluence. Every year I’ve been to Tevis, the topic of playing in the river has been talked about, and never ends up happening, so we were determined to make it happen at some point this year.
It’s been something that has been added to the “must do yearly” list. We found a spot that was just past No Hands Bridge, with its own “private beach” with areas to swim, wade, or just sit. Beautiful, clear, cool water, gorgeous views…definitely a relaxing way to spend the afternoon.
|view from our private beach|
|No Hands Bridge from below|
Monday night wrapped up with me doing some creative packing (I was bringing home a saddle pad Lucy had borrowed and a quilt she had put together for me), but I managed to get the important stuff in there (and ship the less-important things home).
TUESDAY morning wrapped up the fun…we did some vehicle shuttling and shuffling to enable Kaity to ride the California Loop from Foresthill to Driver’s Flat, one way. Once we got her situated and trailer moved, Lucy dropped me off at the airport on her way to work. Fortunately, my flight home was much quieter, and my parents brought my little Artemissy-puppy to the airport to pick me up!
THE WRAP-UP: The more I crew, the easier it gets. It really helps when you’ve crewed multiple times for the same rider, and for the same horse. You learn quirks about the horse (For example: Fergus can be touchy about his ears, so allow a couple of extra minutes to bridle, and don’t unbridle him except at the big checks. He’s easier to syringe from the off-side. He prefers LMF and beet pulp sloppy mashes to pellet mashes. He likes bite-sized apple pieces hand-fed to him.)
I also learn new tricks every year, things that get filed away in my mental filing cabinet of “how to make my eventual Tevis ride easier.” Things I would like my own crew to do. Notes to self on my own care. And, of course, seeing as much of the trail as I can ahead of time to know what I’m up against and how to best train for it.
This might not be everyone’s idea of a vacation…but in my world, it was exactly what I needed. (And I’m ready for vacation again, thanks…)