Friday, December 22, 2006

Back in Business

Friday December 22 2006

Alright! Work is over with, slipped in a quick trip with family, Christmas is done. (For me it is – we had it 3 weekends ago – I highly recommend doing it early.)

On the downside, my little white trash trailer is on its last legs, and I am pretty sure it’s trying to poison me, which puts a little kink in my living and sleeping arrangements, (I have, with great satisfaction, started to slowly burn it, piece by piece); and my truck is on its last legs (family and friends now call to make sure I’ve made it wherever I’m going)…
But who cares about those crises, I’m back in Ridgecrest to ride!

My friend Tracy is in town – she’s a bit of a wanderer herself, having lived in Egypt for a while – and she’s been itching to get back on a horse.

We lucked out with the weather – the weatherman was predicting “breezy” conditions, which in the desert here usually is his benevolent way of saying “hurricane” conditions – it’s a beautiful time of the year in the desert, cool, clear, just about perfect when it’s not windy.
I went out for a fast ride with Ann yesterday; Raffiq had to canter quite a bit to keep up with her big trotting horse. I think he had a ball, because Raffiq and Spice usually poke along like slugs, bored with each other, and rarely do we hit a canter. He had a solid work, keeping up with this new fun horse as we gained a bit of altitude going out, and I had a hard grip on his reins heading back in. He didn’t want to stop cantering!

Today Tracy and I went out with Ann and Debra, and we motored up Holly’s trail, giving the horses all a good workout. Raffiq and Spice were both inspired to keeping up with Ann’s fast-stepping mare, and Buddy, ridden by Debra, tagged along uncomplainingly behind like he always does. And, we saw a burrowing owl! He was just hanging out under a creosote bush. Unfortunately, he’s hanging out where a housing development is supposed to be built, which, also unfortunately, is right across our straight access to the desert hills. I hope for us and for the owls (there is a burrowing owl nest in this same plot, which was occupied last spring) the houses are never built. (Wait a minute – wasn’t there just a movie about this? “Hoot” or something? Some kids stopped some development that threatened to destroy some burrowing owl nests?? Hey kids – come on down to Ridgecrest!) We need more burrowing owls, not houses, on this planet. Just my opinion.

The 4-day Death Valley Encounter endurance ride (50 miles a day) starts December 28, which, incidentally, marks the 7th anniversary of my big horse accident, which I remember every day I look in a mirror, (which is not every day) and every single day that I eat (which is at least 2 times a day). December 28 is an especially good day to be on a horse, and to appreciate that you are able to be out on a horse.

Gretchen and I will be riding Raffiq and Spice. Gretchen’s done about 500 miles on Raffiq in previous Death Valley rides. 500 more miles and they get a blanket. This year’s DVE Encounter will have some different trails; due to change in ownership, our usual last 2 nights of camping in Panamint Springs are unaffordable. So we’re starting in a completely different area, riding through some old mining towns, and ending up in the Panamint Valley, which is next door to Death Valley.

We can have all kinds of weather this time of year in the desert – warm weather, very cold weather, snow, drenching rains (like happened 2 years ago), “breezy” winds (like day 4 last year), or perfect weather.

I predict we are due perfect weather this year!

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