Sunday September 17 2006
Fall is here! A cold blast on Friday decisively brought that autumn nip in the air – my favorite time of year. The light is great for photos; Northern harriers are skimming the valley fields for mice (the first one came through end of August; you see a lot of them now in September) on their migration somewhere south, presumably South America; leaves dropping from trees in downtown Bridgeport and blowing across the sidewalks and street; leaves of a few of the ground-aspens in the mountains just beginning to turn; the horses’ coats starting to become a bit fuzzy; ice in the water hoses in the mornings, and you’ll probably want to put on a jacket when you first go outside in the mornings.
A brilliant weather weekend for the Virginia City 100… which we did not do. Instead we trailered to Sand Canyon both days, one of my favorite places to ride when it’s cool!
You wind up sandy washes in a slow, gradual climb – good workout in the sand - twisting through sage and pinyon pines, part of it down in a gully lined with big boulders – ripe cougar perches! We’ve never seen any sign of cougars or bears out there, but, you never know! Today Raffiq was getting goosed from behind by the Horse Goose-Monster, and just in case, I turned around at regular intervals to make sure a cougar wasn’t loping along behind us.
No big beasts, but plenty of hornets – we’ve had a bumper crop of them this year (as have many other areas, including Smith Valley to the north, Greenville 200 miles to the NW where we did our ride last weekend, “all over the west” I’ve heard). We stopped to water the horses from our water bottles when we reached the top of the gully at the mining road we turn around on – and as soon as we stopped there were dozens of hornets around the horses. I was thinking it would be a bad idea to fall off your horse because you’d be swarmed and devoured by the hornets.
Arriving autumn means: departing job. Bummer! Is this my last season here? I never know, and I just don’t think about it, since there’s nothing I can do about IMO daft budget slashes. I’ve got 2 weeks left, or 6 weeks, or more… depends on how much extra work there is for me here, and that depends on when it snows and what else may come up afterwards in lands far, far away …