Wednesday, July 30, 2014 – Travel Day to Sahara Creek Horse Camp, WA

Though we originally were going to head for the Joe Watt Canyon area near Ellenburg, because it was apparently an open field with no shade, no corrals, no trees, no water, and the temps were still in the 90's because it was east of the mountains, we reconsidered and decided to go to another place I had just found called Sahara Creek Horse Camp. It was a slightly longer drive, but would get us over the mountains to the cooler, western side, and it was a more equipped horse camp. We headed out early again, after a great night sleep in cooler mountain air, and while we made the trip fine, there were a few quite scary moments. The first was shortly after leaving the campground, when I-84 took a plunge out of the mountains into the valley, dropping from 3700 feet down to 1300 feet in barely 5 or 6 miles, making a very steep and harrowing section of the journey. Hubby got going a bit too fast and couldn't slow down, his brakes giving out and even though he was in second gear, he couldn't stop. Eventually his engine even quit under the strain. He finally managed to pull over using the brake controller on the horse trailer, and he waited until he could start the engine again before proceeding. I kept going down the hill, as it seemed more dangerous to stop, until I had just about got to the bottom, and I found a place to pull over to wait for him. Our walkie talkies didn't work at that distance, so I just had to trust that he would come down off the mountain eventually, and not too long afterward, he did. Very happy he didn't panic, and everyone was safe in the end, but it was quite a frightening few minutes. The first exit afterward had a casino with a restaurant, so we stopped for a sit-down breakfast to give ourselves time to get our nerves unjangled after that. Most of the rest of the drive was fine, except for the last 25 mile stretch through very twisty, windy and bumpy forest roads, but many of the views were spectacular. We actually passed White Pass, a campground where we had stayed last time we came through this way, then had another long downhill stretch, but we took this one much more slowly, enjoying beautiful views of Mt. Rainier as we went. Stopped briefly at a corner gas station just to check on my email, since my Verizon map indicates I won't have service at the campground, then we took the last stretch and arrived at the horse camp around 3:00. The place was packed when we got there, but someone was just leaving and they generously offered us their spot. There were other places open, but the highlines were all on the outside of the campground, and except for the end spots, they were across the road from the campsite. The one we got was on an end, so we were next to the horses. The campground is fully forested, and thus quite cool, a refreshing change from earlier in the week, and it took me no time to get up the highline and get the horses settled and fed. Turns out the campsite was free, but that we were supposed to have a DNR pass, which you can get when you renew your license. Does't help the tourist much, though. I wasn't about to go out looking for a store that sold them, so we took our chances. Someone later told me the rangers had already been through for the day, and as we were leaving first thing, we would be gone by the time they got there, so 'nuff said, we had a free night. Again, water spigots were few and far between, but we had enough water in both trailers to get us through the night, no worries. Settled down again, after the toughest day yet for all of us, thankful for the cooler weather.

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