Saturday, June 15, 2024 – Ride Day to Love Valley, NC

Pix to come!

Hiya Babe,
Had another good night sleep, woke up a bit better, but am still coughing up phlegm. I'm looking forward to not being sick!! Had a relaxed morning, then finally saddled up Flash to go explore the town and the surrounding trails. The JCR Campground is about a mile from the town, so it took us very little time to get there, albeit along both gravel and asphalt roads, but every vehicle slowed down for us, and everyone we passed waved at us. Very friendly town! Arrived along the main street in town, which was a collection of old buildings built Western-style, with hitching rails in front of every building. No motor vehicles allowed! I tooks some snaps along the way, then found the trailhead at the end of the road and started climbing. I ran into two other gals, the only other riders I saw, and we rode together for a ways before they finally stopped and I kept on. The trail was actually more of a two track road that alternated between very rocky and packed dirt, though it could get muddy if they have any rain. Judging by the cornfield on my drive in, they haven't had any rain for awhile, and are in desperate need of some! I was on something called the Carolina Thread trail, which boasted a lot of mileage, but I'm not sure where all the trails were. I followed as many as I could find, and it added up to less than seven miles, and that was with me backtracking a lot of trails, and going down a few dead ends. I found Jolly Pond and a shortcut back to camp, but decided to go through town again, just to see if anything was happening. There were a few people around and a couple of the stores were open, but I wasn't in the mood for ice cream (my appetite has really diminished since I've been sick), so we headed back to camp, for a total of about a two hour ride. It was wonderful being back on my own horse and in my own saddle! I found the saddles in Utah to be a bit hard and uncomfortable, even with four layers of padding, but back on my Aussie saddle with just two pads, it was like heaven! Flash was brilliant, of course, even when we climbed up some hills. We followed one trail that took us up to the top of a hill with an old power shack and several old big satellite dishes, looked like the remnants of a cold war watch station or something. Anyway, it was a nice ride, and even though it was warm, there was a nice breeze, and it was a lot cooler in the woods, as always. I also spent some time on the computer making reservations at my next stop. I thought it used to be first come, first served, but when I looked it up, they were taking reservations, so I made mine beginning Tuesday, so I'll stay here an extra day, hoping to be well by the time we leave. Well, that's it, a usual evening, drinking sleepytime and echinacea tea before shower and bed! Good night, my darlin'! Love you!

Saturday, June 8, 2024 – Final Day of the Red Rock Ride-Down Into The Grand Canyon

Hey Darlin'!
Another fantastic day on the Red Rock Ride! I can't believe today is the last day, though my body is sure craving a break! Sorry to say that despite using every trick in the book, I still didn't get a very good night sleep, but I went to bed so early, there were enough fitful hours to at least provide me with a little rest. Because we were going to the Grand Canyon, which is on Pacific Time, while here in Utah we're on Mountain Time, there wasn't quite the need to rush around this morning, and we didn't even have to load up on the bus until 8:30, which seemed luxury enough. We drove about 90 minutes into the Kaibab National Forest, then the Grand Canyon National Park, seeing some wildlife for a change! We say a very well-bodied coyote, then, as we were going through the meadows, an entire bison herd, with dozens of babies, were right along the road, so we got a good long look. Once we got to the lodge, the plan was to kill some time, which I did by walking a short 1/4 hike to Bright Angel point, then having lunch at the bus, then driving up to the mule corrals and getting mounted. Today I was on a black mule named Cassie, and she was a peach! The North Kaibab trail is nowhere near as striking as the Bright Angel Trail from the south side, but if you haven't been to the Grand Canyon, it was still pretty dang impressive. We only went down two miles, had a break, then rode back up again. I managed to luck out again and be in the first group out and back, which was nice. Once we got back, we helped unsaddle the mules, then eventually took a group picture in front of the mule barn. We headed back to Kanab, arriving back at the hotel just after 5:00. I immediately put on my bathing suit and went down to the hot tub, something I've been hoping to do since yesterday, and that did a lot to relax me. I'm hoping that will help with my sleep tonight. Eventually I came back up, showered, and headed over to the restaurant for what was absolutely, undoubtedly, the best prime rib I have every tasted in my life! I finally had a pretty good appetite, first time in days, and I managed to eat at least two thirds of eat, mostly skipping the bread and baked potato in favor of a nice tiramisu dessert. Then there were a few awards, i.e. Most Improved Rider, which went to young Ashley, and a special award to Kelly, for being the only male rider besides the wranglers. He was very patient, but then, all the women here were truly great. I'd never believe that 38 women of such varied backgrounds could get along, in any other venue that with horses and mules in the mix. It was incredible. Then, as a huge surprise to me, every rider received a beautiful denim jacket with Red Rock Ride on the back and a patch on the front. Gorgeous! I honestly don't know how they make money on this ride, with all the goodies they provide. They could charge twice the price and it would still be a bargain, in my mind. Anyway, finally got back to the hotel, did most of my packing, set my alarm, drank a second cup of sleepytime tea, and praying I get a good night sleep! Good night, sweetheart! Love you!

Friday, June 7, 2024 – Fifth Day of the Red Rock Ride-The Slot Canyons of Wilson Creek

Hiya Darlin',
What a day! This morning we were supposed to have breakfast at 5:30 and be on the bus by 6:30 so we could get a jump on the heat of the day. It's been unusually hot this week, and the dryness has made it hard to keep drinking all the extra fluids I need to cope with this stupid cold that I have. It's moved into my chest, at least, so I'm not getting dizzy, but like the last couple of days, I've felt okay in the morning, but by the end of the day, it's been tough going. Well, I had a hard time getting to sleep last night, despite how tired I felt, but eventually I must have fallen asleep, because I ended up sleeping through my alarm, which never happens! I woke up and it was already light, so I knew I was in trouble. It was almost 6:10, so I had to rush around and finish packing (we're moving to a hotel in Kanab at the end of the day, yay!) I was all set to have a nice breakfast, I haven't had much of an appetite, but I ran out of time and managed to grab a banana and lunch just in time to get on the bus. I was glad they didn't have to wait for me, but I was frazzled by the time we started moving. It wasn't too far of a bus ride to the trailhead, which was, in fact, the same trailhead where we ended up on the Snowy River Long ride the other day, though we headed in a different direction. The most interesting thing about this ride was going through the slot canyons, which were narrow, tall and beautiful. It also had water running through them, so it was delightfully cool when we were in there. About ten miles in we stopped for lunch, and wrangler Hank took us on a short hike up to see some ancient petroglyphs. They were impressive, but had been all but destroyed by idiots carving their own initials and dates on the same wall. Hank then took us to another spot where apparently these idiots haven't found yet, and showed us another amazing petroglyph that looked like an elaborate map of some kind. Very stunning. We did a lollipop loop back to the bus, where we had to say good-bye to our mounts, (good-bye Whinnie!) and to strip all our stuff all the saddle, as tomorrow, we're going on new mounts, all mules. We were all grateful to be on an air-conditioned bus, and they even showed most of a movie (Sargeants 3 with the Rat Pack, which was filmed locally) before arriving at the Best Western in Kanab 90 minutes or so later. Once I got my room, I promptly took a long hot shower (the only flaw in this whole week has been that all but Monday, my showers have been barely lukewarm) and crawled between clean sheets. I was so tired, I was sure I'd nod off immediately, but it didn't happen! I may have dozed for a short bit, but that's about it. Finally, I got up when my alarm went off at 6:30 and managed to get dressed and walk the block to Houstons Trails End Restaurant where we had chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and banana cream pie. I still couldn't eat too much of it, though I the pie was delicious, and I'm hoping the sugar rush will cause a sugar crash later, and I'll finally be able to sleep tonight! I'm at the point where I'm too tired to sleep! I'm sure I would be fine if I were healthy, but this cold has really dragged me down. To add insult to injury, I started getting a cold sore this afternoon. Typically I either get a cold or a cold sore, never both, so I must have really been exposed to a heavy dose of germs somewhere. I'm guessing the airport on the way out here. Should have worn a mask! Anyway, I'm in bed, writing and loading pictures, and I'll soon be on my way to sleepyland with the help of some sleepytime tea and some Tylenol pilfered from Cathy. Sure hope I sleep tonight! Good night, baby! Love you!

Thursday, June 6, 2024 – Fourth Day of the Red Rock Ride-Butch Cassidy Trail

Hey Baby,
Woke up feeling a little bit better, at least I wasn't dizzy nor did I have any chills, so even though I wasn't 100 percent, I felt good enough to tackle the ride today. Today's ride followed the Butch Cassidy trail, which led to a hideout about was about 7 or 8 miles from our starting point. The terrain here was a lot different, lots more trees, many different kinds of evergreens, not so many hoodoos, but some nice red rimrock. The pre-lunch trail was lovely, the post lunch trail was essentially through a draw that had a trickle of water going through it. Apparently, it's a spring that produces water all year, which makes sense, since they had to have water for their horses. Tales were told at lunch, so it was an enjoyable ride. I was getting a bit tired toward the end, but I had added yet another pad on the saddle (I'm up to four now!), so it was a bit more comfortable this time. I had most of a sandwich for lunch, but I still wasn't hungry at dinner, I barely ate one rib and a mouthful of potatoes, and just a little salad. I guess that's a good thing, but I sure hope I get my appetite back soon. Anyway, I'm cutting this short to get to bed, because we're leaving at 6:30 instead of 8:00 tomorrow morning, and we have to pack, as we're moving over to a hotel tomorrow. Good night, Sweetie! Love you!

Wednesday, June 5, 2024 – Third Day of the Red Rock Ride-Tough Ride on Thunder Mountain

Pix to come.

Hiya Sweetie,
Went to bed last night with a scratch throat and a little cough, woke up dizzy with chills. Not what I was hoping for! One of the gals got me some Alka Seltzer Cold Plus and I was able to eat some oatmeal for breakfast. I definitely felt a bit under the weather, but not enough to skip the ride, so we headed out to Thunder Mountain. The first part of that was more of the spectacular hoodoos, plus traversing some narrow crossings with big dropoffs, but nothing we couldn't handle. We stopped for lunch, and at first I sat in the shade, but then I got the chills again, so I sat in the sun and warmed up, but it was pretty hot. I was drinking enough water, so I don't think it was strictly dehydration, I think it's just a cold. One of the other girls had a cold and ended up staying home today, so maybe it's just something going around. As I was getting ready to remount after lunch, I was standing next to my horse on the hitching rail, and the next thing I knew, I was sitting on my butt on the ground! Obviously, I fainted or something, which practically never happens to me. Literally, I've only ever fainted twice before in my life! Anyway, they got some electrolytes, which worked to revive me, at least enough to finish the ride, though I have to be honest, it was tough going! Once of the wranglers, Clay, drove me back to camp while the bus went on a shopping trip, which is not loss for me, and I spent the rest of the day in bed, napping and trying to drink more liquids and electolytes. They were kind enough to bring me another fan, as it was very hot in the cabin and the one fan on the wall wasn't cutting it, but the second one did the trick. I'm pretty sure I have a fever, and I've several dizzy spells this afternoon, but it's coming and going. I wasn't even aware of the time when another organizer, I think it was Tom, brought an EMT to check me out. For some reason, he didn't have a thermometer, but he checked everything else, and I was fine. Tom brought me a little dinner, but I could barely eat a few mouthfuls. I managed to get a quick shower in, and I'll heading to bed early, with high hopes that I'll be recovered enough to go tomorrow, but if not, I'll sit tomorrow out so I can still get in the north rim of the Grand Canyon and Kanab. Nothing worse than getting sick on vacation!! Anyway, heading to bed, taking some Tylenol, keeping my fingers crossed. Good night, darlin'! Love you!

Tuesday, June 4, 2024 – Second Day of the Red Rock Ride-Two Rides!

 

Hey Darlin'!
An incredible day here in Utah. I had a much lighter breakfast (I still felt bloated from yesterday!), and we were on the bus and heading out by 8:00. It only took about 20+ minutes to get to our starting point in Bryce Canyon. Robert was still having trouble moving people to accommodate a group of four that wanted to be together but had been split between the A's and the B's, so I volunteered to switch, along with Jill, who had volunteered yesterday, but I demurred because I wanted to be in the first group out. Well, selfishly, I agreed to change because today, the B group was heading out first, so everyone got what they wanted and it was all good! It didn't take too long to get back on our horses and heading out, and I have to say, Bryce Canyon is truly stunning. The red rock and the hoodoos and the tunnels and everything were just jaw-dropping. I took so many pictures it will probably take all night to load them in! That ride was about six miles or so. At the edge of the park at a back entrance, they had our lunch set up, lasagna with garlic bread, salad, etc. I restrained myself and only had a little of each, along with a cookie, as I really don't want to feel this bloated again. Then we had a choice of either going on a short 90 minute ride back through another side of the loop through Bryce Canyon (which would only elucidate another two new miles), or take the long ride, another three+ hours, which they called the Snowy River ride, because it had a couple of steep hills to traverse. Well, as my goal is always to ride as many trail miles as I can, I, along with just seven others (and two wranglers), decided to do the long ride. While it may not have been as spectacular as the hoodoos in Bryce Canyon, it certainly had its own charm and gorgeous landscape, along with some history in the area, which made it all the more interesting. Some of it was road riding, which was actually nice because the wranglers were riding long-legged draft horse mules, so we had to trot often to keep up, and the famed Snowy River drop-off was fairly steep, it was mostly the steep dropoff on the side of the trail that made it a bit harrowing, therefore exciting and memorable! We made good time, and the 3.5 hour ride was more like 3 hours, and we were back to camp in no time. We were greeted by a smorgasbord of snacks, which I would have skipped if it wasn't for the jumbo shrimp and cocktail sauce, and I ate more that I should have, but it was oh, so good! I also had a couple of beers, though they didn't have any dark beer so I ended up with Corona. As I was walking back to my cabin, I got a message from Nathalie that Lola's foot seemed to be acting up, and the picture she sent me showed that it seemed like the whole nail fell off and only the shriveled quick remained, but it was hard to tell from the picture. She also informed me Lola had managed to knock off all my puppy-proofing and was found in my bed, dug deeply into my sheets, with the garbage can on the floor. What Lola want, Lola finds a way to get! I instructed her how to begin the antibiotic regime again, just in case, because she seemed to be a bit uncomfortable walking again, so we'll see how that goes. Meanwhile, back at camp, I started loading up my pictures in the hopes they'll be done before bedtime, and played a couple of video games for awhile until dinner. Chicken tonight, I only ate about half of everything, but to my surprise, one of the ladies had managed to obtain a bottle of Jack, so we had a couple of drinks during dinner, though again, not overdoing it, just in moderation. They had a singer tonight, quite a nice voice, but once the ride meeting was over, I scooted out and had my shower, so now I'm ready for bed, and it's only about 8:30. Pix are still loading, who knows how long that will take. Going to bed now, looking forward to a shorter ride tomorrow, and evidently a shopping day at Ruby's, so a relatively short day. Looking forward to it! Good night, babe! Love you!

Tuesday, May 28, 2024 – Nearly Five Mile Ride on Apollo

Hiya Darlin',
Had a fitful night sleep, a typical morning, then saddled up Apollo for a nice ride, almost five miles, just to give him some exercise. When we first start out, he seems pretty stiff, which isn't too surprising considering he's been standing in a small corral all week. I really prefer highlines to corrals, it just provides so much more freedom and opportunity to move around more. He eventually loosened up a bit, but I think I may have to look into some joint supplements for him, just to keep him flexible. Anyway, it was a lovely ride. I had wanted to do the blue river again, it's quite lovely, and interestingly, Apollo did the same thing as Flash, keep trying to walk the tiny edge between the trail and the dropoff, rather than along the high side where there was more room. Weird! Anyway, it was a good ride. The rest of the day was fairly quiet, I moved the remaining four bales of hay from the truck to the trailer, and was glad I didn't buy any more, they really aren't liking it very much, it's pretty stalky. I'll have to pick up some new hay once I get moved to Nathalie's tomorrow, and if I can find some good stuff, restock it before heading further north, where they're likely to just be beginning to hay. Drained Lola's pool, put some tack and a few other things away, not really in a big hurry since I'm not planning on leaving here before noon, so I'll have plenty of time in the morning. Getting a bit tired of the heat, actually nodded off for a bit this afternoon, before I finally cranked up the generator and the AC for awhile. Looking forward to getting farther north! But, West comes first! I feel like I'm in a holding pattern for that trip right now, just killling time until I get busy getting ready, which all starts tomorrow. So on that note, heading to shower and bed shortly! Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Sunday, May 26, 2024 – Finished Off The Trails, Nice 13 Mile Ride on Flash

Hi Babe,
Started off a little cooler this morning, but ended up getting hotter, so a nice long ride in the woods was the best place to be today! I had plotted a route to finish off all the little connector trails that I've missed, and it turned into a lovely 13 mile ride around the area. The trails here are really nice, just the kind I like: single track, no gravel, only a little mud, lots of creek crossings, which Lola took full advantage of, and beautiful, dense forest. My only con is that I had to watch out for knee-knockers, there are quite a few out here! I managed to get Flash moving a bit faster today, so we made better time, but it was still 4:00 when we got back to camp, which to my mind, is perfect. Only ran into one other couple the whole day! Rinsed off Flash, splashed a little pool water on me to cool me off a bit, ran the generator just long enough to cool it down a bit inside and recharge the batteries, and was happy when clouds starting forming and I heard thunder, but as of yet, it hasn't rain, just a few drops I've heard is all. We could really use a nice refreshing downpour about now! There's still a little rain out there, so I've got my fingers crossed we get some more. Settled down for my usual evening, looking forward to a cool shower and a good night sleep! Good night, my darlin'! Love you!

Saturday, May 25, 2024 – Nice Ride on Apollo, Got Some Extra Chores Done

Hey Darlin',
Slept well until I woke last night to the sound of thunder, how far off I sat and wondered. Started humming a tune from 1962, okay, enough of that! The unexpected shower did help cool it down today, it wasn't as hot as I figured it would be, so it was a nice day to take a ride. It's been awhile since I took out Apollo, so I saddled him up and planned a fairly short, 3.5 mile loop that would take us out to the Woods cemetery, which I'm sorry to say, is sorely in need of some TLC! He was a bit stiff at first, understandably, since he's been hanging around in a small corral for the week, but limbered up a bit as we got along. Kind of like me these days! Lola came along as well, and it was a nice ride. The last stretch was long the road, not really an established trail from there, so we had to pick out way down the hill to the road. Once we got back and he got rinsed off and put away, I decided to do some odd chores that have been piling up. First, I put the little plug in the brake adjustment hole in the trailer, which only took a minute. Then I decided to change out the control panel on the inverter. It's been getting more and more flaky, and since I had a new one (that the manufacturer actually sent me for free, would you believe!), I went through the process of writing down all the settings, which took about ten minutes, then changing out the panel, which took about a minute, then checking the settings to make sure they were correct (they were, apparently all the default settings), which took just a couple of minutes. Viola! All done, brand new panel, works beautifully! I did change one of the settings, there was one that would put the inverter in sleep mode until there was a draw on it, which I tried, but as the evening wore on and the batteries drew down, it started hunting, so I ended up changing it back to disabled, so it will not hunt. Then, since I've been having a few problems with the flames on my gas stove getting so hot they're leaving terrible black gunk on my pans, and my research suggested that the gas holes might just need cleaning, so I took a paperclip as instructed and cleaned them out. Not sure how much it helped, it didn't seem like much, so I may have to keep looking for the answer, but it might have helped a little. Anyway, I finally settled down to dinner and a movie, ready to take my cool shower and head to bed. Love you, sweetie! Good night!

Thursday, May 23, 2024 – Another Great Ride at Woods Ferry

Hey Babe,
Had another slow start to the day, I've being pretty lazy here, but it feels good! Did a few things on my computer after chores, but finally saddled up Flash and headed out to pick up some more trails. I looked back on the earlier times when we were here, and recalled a day when we galloped up a hill with some berms every 10 or 20 yards, and instead of stopping at the berms like we though they would, Apollo and his mama Clio used them like a launching pad and raced again each other up the hill. It was fantastic! I found that trail today, part of the yellow trail, and relived that memory, though Flash and I didn't gallop up it like we did back in 2010, but it was nice to remember those early days, when you were healthy and able to do a lot of miles. Got back to camp around 4:00, it's actually cooler on the trail in the afternoons than back at camp, so I haven't minded getting a late start to the day around here. Rinsed off Flash, refilled everyone's water buckets, Lola's pool, and the trailer, so we're good to go. Settled down for another quiet evening, heading over to take a cold shower and get some sleep! Good night, my darlin'! Love you!