Consolation and I took another ride on Saturday, again in the hills overlooking the Snake River. She went barefoot this time with no problems; in fact, the previous days’ rainstorms had left the ground extra soft. It was slick in places, but mostly quite managable because our soil here is so sandy.
We climbed the Big Hill, which really is quite big. We spent 26 minutes going up it (walking and trotting) and 38 coming back down (walking only). Once on top, we followed a fairly level trail to an apparent dead end at a rock quarry, then doubled back cross-country and picked our way down a very steep hill, switchbacking our way to a dirt road that ran through the valley below. The road led us back past the quarry, now well below it, and to a winding wash with steep sides and footing swirled by recent runoff.
We trooped through the wash, Consolation all prick-eared enthusiasm, then charged up a long hill so steep that I clung to her mane and felt my heels tap her stifles as she climbed. (Check out the photos taken from the top.) Next, we circled back to the summit of the Big Hill and made another loop similar to Thursday’s.
All this time, the sky grew darker and more beautiful. It was ominous indeed by the time we descended the hill. The first raindrops hit the trailer just as we arrived. Consolation was hungry, but clearly still had plenty of “go.”
We rode pretty steadily for 4 hours, pausing occasionally to graze, trotting all we could but slowed frequently by slick footing and steep descents. I’d guess we totaled around 18 miles. (If my Garmin would hurry up and get here, I could know for sure!)
I could get used to this hauling-out business.