In which the Klickitat Trek ride is hot...and fun...and also quite hot

We've been here before.

Our little camp under the trees (and away from the heat)

In fact, Fiddle and I have been to the Klickitat Trek several times in past years.  
In 2010, we went with Madeline, and there was silliness.
Last year, this was the first place I rode a 50-miler post-surgery  (I needed lots of help!)

I've also ridden this event in prior years with Story, Toad and Blaze.  

Fee's elegant lingerie (aka a fly sheet)

But there's always something new at Klickitat Trek.

Discussing the trail with Ride Manager Marilyn Milestone at the startline
of Day 2.  Fee has never done the second day here before, and she
was convinced that we were leaving camp to pull ribbons.

Part of the charm of this ride is the attention span of the ride manager--she likes new stuff, and she always tries to bring riders through new parts of this beautiful stretch of forest.

This road reminded me of a spot on the red loop at Renegade Rendezvous

We've had some unpleasant close encounters with other riders at recent rides, and I'm still trying to figure out a way to keep everybody safe.  Of course, that means that training with Fiddle is ongoing, but it also means trying to teach riders to give her a big bubble of personal space.

I don't know how to be less subtle.
I am VERY proactive about pulling off the trail when there's room, but sometimes folks ride right up behind her even on a wide two-track.  If they are quiet (and they sometimes are!  Why?) they startle both of us, and then they get to see Fee's back shoes AND hear some of my less-polite words.

This time, Crystal told me about something a rider in the SE region does as a joke.

"Freakin' BRILLIANT!"  I thought, and used the sidewalk chalk in my bag to tag the back of my horse.

It helped....sorta.   Several people still tailgated, apparently oblivious to the red ribbon, the red streak in her tail (it was brighter IRL) and the word KICKS written on her back door.  I managed to stop her from reacting.  

But seriously, what does it take?!?!


Out on the trail, we were mostly alone.

Nobody here but the Dragon and me...right?

Well, not exactly alone.

The Devil's Cattle Herd
Fiddle felt obliged to glare at each cow before trotting past.

At least we had Crystal to help at the vet check!  

The Dragon really likes Crystal

Crystal crewed at Klickitat last year, along with Patty and Sirie.  

Crystal shipped out to Afghanistan after crewing for me last year--and she
took her Klickitat Trek sweatshirt with her!

This year, the Fish Creek horses were grounded because of a respiratory bug at the barn--none of the endurance horses were sick, but it's considered a best practice to stay home when there's been exposure to illness.  

So this year I had Duana and Monica and Jim as crew in addition to Crystal....except sometimes there were glitches in the system, and my crew got hijacked by circumstances.

Hey!  Your car has a trailer hitch on it!  Bring it on over here!
Duana was dubious...but helpful...
Back out on the trail, we saw familiar places

single-track trails through the forest
Mount Adams lurking on the horizon

and brand-new stuff.


The trails here are pretty, and peaceful.  We had to make time in the morning, because the afternoons were HOT!  This boosted our finish times a bit, which was kind of nice.

The footing at this ride is deceptive--great traction, but the dirt is mainly
volcanic sand, and very abrasive.  Hoof protection recommended!!!

Thimbleberry blossom, nootka rose, and lupine flowers on the canal loop

We finished the 50-miler on Saturday, and the 25-miler on Sunday.

Ride photo by Cassidy Rae.
 Fee was "a little off" at the midpoint vetcheck on Sunday, so, with nearly 3.5 hours to finish the final 11-mile leg, we walked all the way to the finish line.

That abrasive volcanic footing is more obvious here

She thought that was a dumb idea.  But she did it.  And she vetted sound at the finish.

Would the bobble in her gait have resolved itself if we'd continued ahead at our usual brisk trot?

Maybe.  But it was a beautiful day, and a beautiful trail.  Why hurry?

Stopping to cool off in the irrigation ditch outside of camp before the finish line.
Photo by Cassidy Rae.
 And at the end of the day

Finish line, day 2.  Photo by Monica Bretherton.
We decided that we'd had plenty of fun.

It's good, y'all.

It's just really, really good.


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