Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lost in the Woods!

After getting rained out on Monday (thunder and lightning, too!), Pat and Rambler, and Kate and I headed out to Joe Watt Canyon on Tuesday to explore various possible KVTR routes around the L.T. Murray Elk Preserve.
This is the same area that the Ellensburg Rodeo Posse holds it's annual poker ride, site of Kate's first outing in the big wide world, three years ago.
When Pat and John and I rode the poker ride last month, Pat commented at one fork in the trail "I want to come out here and see where that goes..."
So here we were to check out that trail.
I am SO pleased with the dependable trail horse Kate is becoming!  We followed that trail until it dwindled and disappeared, then bushwhacked all over that darn mountain trying to find a decent way back down! There were vast expanses of nasty volcanic rock (glad I put on her boots), a nasty washout that we had to clamber down and back up again, and narrow elk trails that scrambled down the sides of canyons, only to require a careful about-face when we would have had to leap across a small ravine--Kate had to lead here, if only to get herself the heck outta there!
We finally headed uphill until we crossed a forest service road that we were pretty sure would take us back down to the trailers. (It did).

We were out about four and a half hours.  Mapping the excursion as best I could from the satellite version of Google Maps, it looks like we did at least 10.6 miles, with 1700 foot of altitude gain.

[I'm not sure why this site won't let me embed the satellite version of this map, but click on the map to go to their site, then click on "map options" to choose satellite or hybrid, to see the terrain.]
The next day, Pat and seven other members of the Club went out for another four hours, though they took an earlier switch back from the original trial, before it petered out.  They managed to avoid the more rugged terrain we had traversed. 
I passed on the ride--I was sore all over, and my cheeks were chafed (and I don't mean the ones on my face!).  And I felt like Kate deserved at least one day of rest--she did everything I asked her to, and was pretty pooped on the way down the mountain.  I stayed home and gave her a good bath, and trimmed both hers and Maddie's feet (so now I'm sore in totally different places) and some other chores that have been waiting.  We'll head out with the group on Saturday.


  1. Glad you found your way home!

    Any word on the mare that was lost up at Sawmill Flats at the beginning of the month? I hope she found HER way home....

  2. Aarene-Is that the one that the dogs scared off? I haven't heard anything--was watching Haiku to see if you knew...
    Also haven't heard back from Ryan--rattle his chain for me, would ya?

  3. My biggest fear when walking dogs in unknown areas criss-crossed with trails is not bear, nor cougar, but getting lost! Truth be told, I have no sense of direction. I can get lost in a big old barn! I once got lost cutting a Christmas tree 20 yards from the road, and it took my 8 year old daughter to lead us out. I'm glad you found your way home.