In which we go to camp and get a LOT of help from lots of our friends

When we pulled into camp, we were thrilled to see blueness in the sky above--the forecast was for steady rain through most of the week.   

The SS Illegible

We did get rain while we were there, but rain on the Dry Side ain't like Swampland rain.  There was enough water on the ground that we decided to re-route a few trails, but in general the weather shaped up mid-week and the trails were dry and fine by ride day.

Will and Lisa un-gunked a creek crossing
by removing rotten logs and scraping away mud
Jim's brother Dave came to visit us in camp, and we did what we always do to visitors:  handed him a trail tool and pointed him at the dirt. 
Our motley family/trail crew
Sirie had some time on her hands the week before the ride, so she came out and did a bunch of trail work with the gang.  
Just about to throw ourselves down the steep hill of the Little Fish trail
Jennifer is another frequent flyer with the trail crew.  It's especially handy to have a TALL person around sometimes!
I snapped this picture just before Jennifer took a header off a
 rotten section of this stump.  I didn't take a photo of that part.  Ow.
Ride manager Mike Williams is always the handiest guy with a chainsaw.  This widowmaker tree gave me shivers--and it was clear from the tracks on the trail under it that people had been ducking under it for quite a while.  
Mike removes a hazardous leaner tree

We took it down before running more than 60 riders through there.

Jim and the kids had to drive back to the Wet Side during the week, but Luna and the horses stayed with me in camp.
Luna is always helpful for keeping my feet warm at night in camp!

She wasn't the only dog, of course...

Rosie didn't capture the elk. Jennifer's other dog Surprise found the elk corpse
 in the woods somewhere, and grabbed this leg away from some very feisty ravens!
Halfway through the week, Becky showed up to help!
Trail Princesses.  All they need to complete the outfits are little tiaras.
Becky claims that she didn't work a lick in camp, but I've got photographic proof to the contrary:
"Welcome to ridecamp, Becky.
This tool here is called a McLeod, and we're gonna show you how to use it!"
At the end of the week, the Usual Suspects rolled in.  Patty had planned to ride her young horse Rocky in the trail ride (10 miles), but ride management begged for her to fill in as a ride vet instead 
Dr. Patty and the Usual Suspects (plus Luna)
 in their fancy living quarters horse trailer

so Meagan rode Rocky instead.  She was very kind to do this thing, and she didn't stop smiling for at least 2 days.

Monica came to camp without a horse, but WITH a camera.  Her task for the weekend:  shoot a bunch of pictures to illustrate the Endurance 101 book!

Dennis Summers illustrates a good method for teaching a green horse to cross water
Monica's account of the ride is posted here, along with some of her amazing photos.  She even got a nice one of me and the Dragon at the finish line!  (but that's skipping ahead to the next post, sorry).   
Monica also functioned as a Draconic hitching post/carrot dispenser during a vetcheck
We aren't fussy about getting our friends who "just came to ride" involved with the process of doing ride work.  Duana came to ride Hana on the 10-mile trail ride with Rocky, but we threw her in the back of a truck and put her to work moving water tanks. 
Trained stunt driver and rider on a closed course.  Do not attempt this at home.
Somehow, the folks who do the work seem to have the most fun.  I'm not sure why, but it always happens that way.   
Ride manager Gail Williams and some dirty crew members

And you know?  It's good.


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