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January 31, 2019: Revisiting the White Highway

I’m not sure that I spent much time on the White Highway last year, wait, I did. It was last year that I purchased my fat tired bicycle and took Tyra on several outings. I’ve spent some time on the highway this winter and plan on spending more time on the highway this winter/spring. February and March are the best months to be out there because there is more light than previously.

The White Highway – I call it this because it’s a wide white swath that winds through the Moose Range. The Moose Range trails are routinely groomed with a snowmachine and groomer, so now the former single track really is now a bona-fide multi-use trail.

Today I revisited the White Highway, first taking Ryder and Tyra with me accompanying them on my fat tired bicycle. The first mile-and-a-half was challenging because Tyra wanted to go the opposite way, in the direction of home. So I walked her next to my bicycle; then, as soon as we arrived at the Grizzly Camp trail, I unsnapped the lead and let her run free. Like last year, there she moved out, alternating trotting and cantering. Me, I rode fast, behind her. After four or so miles Tyra slowed down to a walk, a bit slow for my liking, but then sped up when I passed her. This was a game we played for the remainder of our outing.

Pete and Ryder heading up Murphy Road
Pete and Ryder heading up Murphy Road

At about the half-way point of our trek we met up with a woman on cross-country skis. She was tall and thin and didn’t have much in the way of eyebrows and had a thin face. The same was true of the fellow who was around the corner, behind her. I think that they were Norwegian. The guy was pulling a small blue sled that had a red bundle in it. Tyra (now on lead) strode forward and sniffed the bundle. She and I leapt backwards as the bundle made a half-squeak, half cry. I looked more closely and saw that the red bundle contained a baby. “A baby!” I screeched. Tyra moved forward again. The guy said nicely that he’d appreciate it if we kept going. I said yes, yes, and apologized profusely for my horse’s behavior. I did not say what else I was thinking, which was that he should have said something before Tyra stuck her nose in the bundle opening. If the baby’s nose had been salty she might have taken a bite. And there they would be, out in the wilderness with a baby without a nose. I suspect that in time that there will be first aid stations on the White Highway, but not yet.

Tyra, Ryder, and I continued on, the rest of our outing was uneventful. I got home and put Tyra in the paddock, and then I got Raudi out. I was going to ride her to Moose Camp and back, but once I got there I decided to do the entire loop. It was 4 p.m., temps in the mid-20s, so I had about an hour and a half before darkness descended. Raudi was bomber the entire ride. What a joy it now is, to ride Ms. Reliable. She maintained a fast walk, with bouts of trotting. We had to minimize trot because when she moved out, she punched through the trail with both front feet. Not good.

We came around the final bend and before me was the snow-covered Talkeetna Range – pink in the light of the setting sun. Got back to Murphy Road in the nick of time – the temperature was dropping and the sun was setting. Raudi, energized, trotted and cantered up the hill leading to the Oceanview Turnoff.

Once home, I untacked Raudi and then put a blanket on her because she was just a bit damp. Better safe than sorry. If the weather is good tomorrow, I’ll be out there again. I am hoping for another day just like today.

Next: 32. 2/1/19: Being an Adult

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