Wednesday May 25 2011
Hurry Finneas, we gotta get going early to get 10 miles of trail flagged before the gusty winds and rain and storm front and possible thunderstorms get here!
My job is to mark the trail with ribbons, while Finneas' job is to sample the lush grass along the way. The grass is so thick in places that I can't find the trail we ride regularly. We have to do a lot of backtracking to either move ribbons or just pick a way through all the grass. Finneas doesn't mind because it means more sampling for him.
The wind is starting to blow stiffly as we top the sharp ridge above Hart Creek; and as we drop into our home canyon the wind is stronger. We get home just as the dust, then the rain starts to obliterate the Owyhee mountains.
The wind is gusting now, tending more towards gales. The horses have their butts to the wind and spitting rain, tails tucked under their butts, heads to the ground, hunkering down. Steph finally makes it back from marking trail on the ATV, exhausted from the wind, and frustrated once again by more trail sabotage.
By evening, gales are ripping across and through the two canyons - sure glad we are not riding up on the flats right now. The confused storm clouds spit rain. The wind swirls from the north and the clouds shove their way into the wind.
Then the wind stops. I step outside and see some rather unnerving-looking clouds, like nothing I've ever seen in southern Idaho before. Either I've been watching too many news videos of the awful tornadoes and devastation in the Mid-West and South, or these clouds really do look like they could harbor more than a thunderstorm. Streaks go one way, waves and bubbles move the other. I watch them a while, mesmerized and a bit nervous.
With the ride starting on Friday, over a dozen people have arrived already, running ahead of the storm. Hopefully the horses and trailers won't blow away, and hopefully I tied all those trail ribbons on the bushes tightly enough!
[Slide show here]