Thursday, July 18, 2019 – Long Ride on Flash, Fish Fry

Well, after all the rain yesterday, I expected the trails to be pretty sloppy today, and no surprise, they were! Nevertheless, today's the day I put aside to take Flash on the long perimeter ride out to Airplane rock and points east, and since the weather is forecast to only get hotter over the next few days, I figure this is my last chance. Saddled him up and headed out on my own down the orange trail, slipping, sliding and sucking hooves out of muck most of the way down. Once I got past some of the more used section of the trails, though, it did get a little better. I'm glad Phyllis told me about how all the old white trails either loop around or go out to a linear destination and dead end, it helped me not get lost today. On the old map, the orange trail was an entire loop, on the old map, the orange trail became a white trail at Airplane Rock, and on the ground it's still white, but then it turned to orange later, as if someone had started to change to markings and didn't finish or I missed an intersection somewhere. In any event, the ride took me along some really mucky areas, and then into some long stretches of gravel (though I didn't bring horse boots since I knew I'd lose them in the muck, or have to take them off and put them back on half a dozen times), but it didn't seem to bother Flash too much. The trail had it's highlights, though Airplane rock was kind of a disappointment. I'm not sure what I was expecting, maybe a rock suspended precariously on another rock or something, but this was essentially just a bluff with a view. Granted, the outcropping did look like the nose of an airplane when looking from the side, but the call the actually bluff it's "wings" seemed like a stretch. Of course, my house in on a bluff, and our view is much more expansive, so I guess I'm spoiled. Maybe it was the buildup to it. The trail led up to a area that was cordoned off, with a bunch of highlines stretched between trees and half a dozen picnic tables and even an outhouse. It made it seem like it would be something spectacular like Niagara Falls or something. Anyway, I did tie up Flash on the highline and walk down to the rock, taking pictures along the way. We rested a bit before moving out on what will be the orange trail going north, but is still the white trail for now. That actually turned out to be my favorite part of the trail once it went back into the woods after a stretch on a road. I think I passed Twin Falls and Chapel Cave, but I'm not sure because the trail seemed to go above it, not to it, but there was less much and gravel here, a truly nice section of trail. Eventually that took us down again, and we came to a creek with dubious markings again, but I managed to get on the right orange trail (there was a white trail leaving the creek as well) and before long we were back on the long stretch home. It was nearly 11 miles, less than 4 hours, so a good long ride for us both, which we needed. Flash didn't seem any worse for the wear, though the heat was pretty intense by the time we got back to camp. I gave him a nice cool bath and put him away, then boiled some eggs to make deviled eggs with later, then sat in my chair a dozed off for awhile. One of the campers up the road from me had invited me to his fish fry tonight, and as I went by on the way back to camp I confirmed the time as 6:00. I set my alarm for 5:00 so I would have time to finish off my deviled eggs for the fish fry, and wandered up about 10 minutes early, only to find everyone had already started eating. I joined in, ate, chatted with some folks, then about a half hour into it, it began to rain! This was NOT in the forecast, it was supposed to be clear for the next few days, and I had left my saddle and tack on the picnic table to dry after I came back from my ride! I waited around for a bit until the rain stopped, then made my departure back to my site, where I finished wiping down and putting away all my tack. It gave me a good excuse to wash my lambs wool seat cover, though, it needed it after all the mud we've been riding through! That took me the better part of an hour to get all that done, and I was exhausted by then, so I took a much needed shower and settled down for what was left of the evening.

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