Saturday May 21 2011
Carol and I went out to flag 6-8 miles of trail down to the Snake River for next Sunday's Owyhee Fandango 80 and 100 milers.
It should only take a couple of hours, right?
Well, it would have if it also hadn't taken us a couple of hours to: shuttle one truck to one spot up on the rim, and our bodies to another spot; if a red bull of a farmer hadn't stopped us for trespassing (we were just cutting through one small part of his property on a dirt road, to avoid going miles out of the way, and I tend to read No Trespassing signs around here as saying "No Trespassing except for Me and My Owyhee Friends"); if we hadn't stopped for a yummy Murphy Burger for energy since we were right by there and it was already lunch time; and if we hadn't lost the trail many times in the oceans of thigh-high cheat grass that had taken over the prairie, trails and all, in the 3 weeks since we'd been there. Plus we had to of course spend some time enjoying the great weather and gawking at the wildflowers and scenery and birds along the route.
We got 'er done though, and just in time to avoid the sky-swallowing rainstorm (thunderstorm??) that got to us right when we arrived at our waiting truck.
We got back home and Steph was depressed. She'd been out marking more trail, and discovered a couple of miles of trail that she'd marked the night before was vandalized (ribbons and clothespins stolen) by someone I'll call Mr Grumpy.
We're not sure if Mr Grumpy hates horses only, also hates ATV/motorcycles, or just hates people in general. The ride is not on his land and not on his road, but when we have a vet check out in his general area (nowhere near sight or sound of his property), he and another family member start up their trucks and drive out of their way to tear up and down the dirt road, trying to scare (hurt?) horses (and people? I often wondered how he'd feel if, say, his wife or daughter were riding horses and someone did this to them, or how he'd feel if someone did get hurt). He's called the sheriff on us - for no reason, since we aren't on his property or road and we have permission to be there.
On top of that, it's one week till the ride, and Steph has considered uttering the "C" word ("Cancel") because of the EHV-1 viral outbreak that is making people skittish about coming. I am crushed that some good friends had to cancel, though I completely understand why they are not.
There are about 40 pre-entries, and there have been a few cancellations, though ironically the EHV-1 outbreak seems to be well contained. It would be a terrible shame to not have the ride because the trails are gorgeous now, with an extraordinary amount of grass, and wildflowers coming up, and copious amounts of water in the creeks.
Has all the work so far been for nought?
[Slide show here:]