[Disclaimer: Turns out I talk a lot. Am watching these videos over and over and realizing that I talk to Stella (let's face it, all my horses) all the time. Because I know the camera is on and I'm actually thinking I should be more quiet when it's filming. Yeesh. Apologies to those who've ridden with me and wanted to throttle me.]
Watson’s Monument into Granite Chief Wilderness
This is the transition into the beautiful wilderness space on the back side of the Squaw Valley ski resort in Tahoe. During the ride we scale the front of the mountain up to Watson’s Monument and then drop down the back. Granite Chief is notorious for its bogs – narrow chasms filled with dark water and (sometimes) mud hiding uneven rocky footing – and extremely technical trail.
Arriving Watson’s – Jenn and I are walking up the last piece of uphill trail to Watson’s Monument with Squaw Valley spread behind us – beautiful in summer with just a little snow left.
Cresting Watson’s – We reach the top and it’s a little like being on the moon with a beautiful landscape spread below. A couple of hikers tell us we have four or five horses in front of us.
Technical Riding – Czoe does a spectacular job of skipping along through amazingly difficult trail sections where it seems they could slip a hoof in and never get it out. Stella is determined to eat some of the handy grass – I keep discouraging her because I want that entire walnut-sized brain focused on where she’s putting her feet. I let her pick her trail, though, because she makes good choices. Other horses (who shall not be named) I would have made a determined effort to guide in this situation.
The Bogs – This year it was relatively dry in the bogs, some years they are full of black mud. Mostly we had just water to contend with, you can hear how wet it is in the horses’ footfalls. I feel more confident about traction in EasyBoots than I did riding in steel shoes, but it’s still pretty slippery in there.
Wish I could show you video of going over, but alas we went around. Here, however, is the approach to the rock. The guy that I say “Thanks” to first is standing at the Y in the trail where you elect to go left up and over the rock (you can see it looming up there with photographers stationed strategically) or right and around. The trail up to it along the ridgeline is so very beautiful.
Road to Robinson
I just like this video because you can tell how fresh and eager the mares are, Stella tries to crank the speed up to a hand gallop at one point. Jenn and I are discussing that we are about to arrive early into Robinson Flat and she’s concerned that our crew won’t be there yet. In fact we did get in about 15 minutes ahead of part of the crew – the part that had all of our gear – but it all worked out well.