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July 4, 2019: The Pennock Wildlife Refuge Ride

We camp for the last two nights in the in the Pennock Wildlife. There were no sites per say; however, the Refuge had placed an outhouse in what some would say was the central area. Todd told me that in the fall, during hunting season, the area is full of hunters. He pointed to the distant, squiggly trail that bisected the distant hillside and said that in the fall, you can see the lights of the ATVers coming down the trail.

We got up early, in order to do another day ride and beat the heat. At about at 11 a.m. Susan and Todd to join us. They appeared with two of their horses in their trailer. By then sun was shining brightly and temperatures were in the 80s. We’d decided to do what I dubbed the Canyon Ride, an area located about a mile from where we were camped.

Pete and Hrimmi
Pete and Hrimmi

We encountered one ATVer coming down as we were starting to go up this trail. It was a side by side and grandma was sitting in the seat next to the driver. Ryder, as she always does, made her presence known by racing up to the vehicle and barking. I discovered when we were on our first pack trip that these vehicles seldom stop. I give them this option, by asking first, and then when they ignore me, I put the horse I’m riding out in front of their vehicle and give a hand signal. They then stop because they have no choice.

Our ride took us up, up, up, first along the dirt road, then along a trail, then down, down, down, along yet another trail, and finally back to the dirt road. I am pleased to say that Tyra again did wonderfully the entire way. Susan and Todd were riding two larger, and faster horses. They took off and I put Tyra in front of Hrimmi and Raudi. She moved at a good pace but did not attempt to race off in order to catch up with them.

It was a tough, strenuous ride, made tougher by the fact that Tyra and I had to negotiate a lengthy downhill section that became progressively steeper. I thought that it would get no steeper, and was commending myself for having stayed on when we came to what I perceived to be a near drop-off. Tyra, perhaps sensing my fear, jumped to the more upward side of the trail and stood there waiting for her marching orders. Pete, on Raudi and ponying Hrimmi kept going because they could not stop. My hands started sweating. I finally dismounted and walked Tyra down the rest of the hill. The others didn’t say anything when finally caught up with them. My only words were “that was sorta steep.” My thinking was that it didn’t matter that I appeared to be cowardly and ineffectual. I’ll never see Susan and Todd again.

Susan found a large elk antler shortly after lunch and rode with it in hand back to her trailer. Her horse Huck, took a dim view of this and began acting up, going in circles and doing short bolts. Our horses saw this, but paid the horse no mind. I found myself wishing that I’d found this antler or its mate.

Tyra did buck on the return ride. I later deduced that the reason for this was because her boot had become loose and was bouncing around her foot. I don’t like the boots – they wear quickly and often come off. But the tradeoff is that their feet are, as we’d hoped, maintaining their shape.

Next: 183. 7/5/19: Tyra and Alys’s Big Adventure

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