Monday, June 21, 2021

Trout Lake Endurance Ride June 11-13

Most of the endurance rides I will go to this year are on the other side of the Cascades. The one that isn't (Creek to Capitol Peak) is not one that I have a desire to attend (AERC, not EDRA and near Olympia).  My summer is getting packed enough that one endurance ride a month is plenty. I'd like time with my family thankyouverymuch. 
For this particular trip, I went out solo. Cortney and her mom had arrived the day before but I couldn't spare the time from work. Cortney did recommend that I cross the pass first and come down on the east side rather than take I-5 into Oregon and come up across the Columbia River. Apparently the bridge across is scary AF when hauling. The travel time was near identical and I suspect my way ended up being faster because I wasn't going through Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia and finally Portland. It also happened to be far more scenic.
Heading south at Ellensburg in scrubby desert.

Coming into Yakima. There was a sign pointing out Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier but the heavy rain clouds obscured the view.

After Yakima I passed into Yakama Reservation land. There are some herds of horses on this land that occasionally get rounded up by the BLM for sale. I saw a few small bands dotting the hills.
Then down into Klickitat Canyon where the road followed the canyon edge, slowly descending to the river bottom and then climbing back out in a similar manner. Crazy road. Beautiful. But I took it slow and carefully. 
Then into the hills again where the evergreens returned and desert receded and the rain came in more constant moments.

Then down into Trout Lake with heavy cloud cover and rain. I couldn't see much. I was apparently missing a LOT, as I discovered the next day.
I stopped in Trout Lake to top up my tank (self service, old timey gas station!) before heading to ride camp to find Cortney and Friends. Ride camp was in a field just north of the horse camp at Mt. Adams, so we were roughing it but water was scattered throughout camp as well as numerous portapotties.

I immediately regretted not bringing any kind of muck boot. My feet were immediately wet and soaked through thanks to the tall grass of the meadow. Next time I'll learn. I hope. 
Sue Summers was the ride manager with Sue McClain as the Ride Steward.

Trout Lake was formerly used as the Pan-Am FEI endurance ride. The trails are gorgeous and the permit to use the space had expired and it was apparently super tough to regain. Sue Summers has worked incredibly hard to get the trails back up and running again. This particular ride had 25, 50, 75 and 100 miles of distance. The trail was near identical to what ran for Pan-Am. EDRA is hoping to get a national qualifier back out here. It's exciting.
The horses got tucked in for the night and most everyone went to bed early. Cortney was riding in the 50 and they had an early start in the morning. I was planning to ride the 11 mile trail and didn't need to be in the saddle until 9 am. 

I did get up in time to see Robin and Cortney off on their 50. This was going to be Reign's first 50 mile ride. We did have some drama when Reign came trotting back into camp without Cortney and promptly put herself away in her pen. We got them reunited and thankfully Cortney was fine. 
After that I snuggled Gus, the fawn that Cortney and Trudy had found on the side of the highway, getting rolled around by the wind of passing cars. There were cliffs on both sides of the highway and he was unresponsive. They took him, and called Cortney's husband to bring goat milk replacer. He slowly perked up over the course of the weekend, getting literally nursed back to health. He was cute, and fearless. 

Next I helped our camp neighbors mount up for the 25. There was another incident with poor K and her gelding. She completed the first loop but opted to RO. Her friend completed though!

After seeing everyone off, I went back to bed. I was starting to get a headache and I just didn't want to bother. So I took some ibuprofen, climbed back into my sleeping bag and passed out for another hour. I woke up feeling AMAZING. I had some breakfast with Trudy and Alexis (Cortney's sister) then we started tacking up to hit the trail!
The clouds cleared up as we got on and the sun was shining. The weather was absolutely fantastic as we started through the forest.

We slowly climbed and the forest opened up, the ground vegetation clearing to open forest. Then we entered old burn zone with giant twigs just jutting up into the sky with no needles or leaves.

I got to test my new pommel pack!

We had peekaboo views of some snow scattered hills in the distance, about what I was expecting to see, but no grand views yet.

We turned a corner on the loop and I just shouted in surprise, because there, hiding in plain site, was Mount Adams. It had been to our backs the whole time, or hidden behind nearer hills.

As we followed logging and forest service roads views of the volcano came in and out of sight. The sun was warm but not hot and occasionally it smelled like christmas when we came across freshly chipped fir trees cleared for the ride.

Trudy and Alexis

We rode at a nice, working walk. My ankle didn't bother me, thankfully, but I did wish we had done SOME trotting. My lower back was sore.

The Purple Ho I am

But really, I love this set up

Gwyn wasn't even sweaty when we were back at camp, and definitely did had energy to go do more. I untacked and gave her hay and water, then hopped into Alexis' car to go to Vet Check 2 because Cortney needed some crew support. 

Usually Cortney doesn't have crew, so us helping her was a nice mood boost for her. I babysat Reign and made Cortney eat a banana and drink some water. The day was heating up and some horses were being pulled at vet checks. Cortney was the last rider out of the vet check, which was fine. Her goal was to keep baby Reign moving happily along at her steady trot and not sour her on the 50 mile distance.
Reign eats like it's her job.

See you back in Camp! They had 12 miles left to do and while Reign was a little unsure about being tacked up AGAIN, they hit the trail and completed!

More Gus snuggles

We hung out under the shade of the pop up tent and Gwyn guarded her hay from the deer that came to scout where the best hay would be left when camp was packed up. You can see her brown body through that tree.

I took another nap. I love ride camp naps. 

Cortney was the last 50 to finish, but finished with time to spare! We cheered when the 100 mile rider finished too. Then we passed out, exhausted.

On Sunday morning, Gwyn flat out napped. See, ride camp naps are great

We packed up amid rain showers on Sunday and headed home.
The cliffs near where Gus was found

Mt. Adams is hiding in the clouds

Cloud Iridescence!

Back in the canyon

Cortney had wine to pick up, so we detoured through apple, grape, pear and cherry orchards to the winery. 
And then we detoured to the Best Tamales in the US, Union Gap, WA

But travel through the pass added 90 minutes to the trip home. It was ridiculous.

I got home later than I wanted, but did my due diligence in getting Gwyn settled in. She hopped off the trail bright and perky. She loves these weekend trips and I'm so glad I have a horse that wants to be there with me, who'll chill on the high line and stuff her face and nap and then motor down the trail without a foot out of place because that's what we do

Eventually I'll get some of that go-pro footage edited. Eventually.