So, we arrived in Michigan Bluff early Saturday morning for our planned last hard ride before Tevis. ?We were going to do the two toughest canyons backward and again forward - about a 25 mile grind.
We unloaded the mares, brushed and booted them and then made a significantly handicapping discovery. ?Only one saddle. ?I can't blame Jenn, as she was generous to meet me on the way and therefore bore all the responsibility of packing alone. ?But it was pretty funny.
We made the best of it, led the mares down El Dorado (our reduced pace limited us to one canyon) and tailed and rode bareback up. ?It was a really nice ride in the end, and walking the steeps was good work for the girls.
It was also an excellent learning experience on several levels;
- Czoe DOES NOT like to be ridden bareback (she's very sensitive skinned)
- Stella needs a crupper for the canyons (I tried riding her down sans and she ended up wearing her saddle like a necklace)
- Czoe can tail! ?(Her desire to be first and unquestioning need to go made her a natural.)
So the best laid plans... this week we'll get 20+ miles in at Briones and then it will really be taper time.
I did manage to capture some good video of the trail. ?This is fairly representative of the footing, terrain and width of the trail in the canyons. ?It gets a lot steeper of course... but here's little Czoe leading us very competently up El Dorado.