DVE Ride Story, Day 1
Photos of Day 1
It was our first 50, and we completed Day 1 of DVE! The weather was fabulous - about 60 degrees as a high. Night was very, very cold and there was lots of ice on the water buckets. We were in a tent, and there was a very thick layer of frost on the inside of the tent. We were okay because we piled a ton of blankets on top of us. I am so glad I took my husband - he now feels "under-rigged" and thus we are on the hunt for a LQ trailer!! Yea! The drive down to Trona from Sacramento was uneventful - it took about 8 hours and just one mountain pass that had a light dusting of snow on the grass and none on the road. I couldn't believe how many people were there. I think 103 riders started the first day and 100 finished. I am so proud to be one of the finishers!
The trail was lovely - perfect for a first 50. We started out with a 12 mile loop around the town of Trona, through the mountains, with nice sand footing with some rocks. Because I started towards the end, some of the sand was really deep so I had to go around it to avoid any suspensary injuries. This was a fast loop with many finishing it in less than an hour, but it took me about an hour and a half. Vet check 1 was back at camp with a 30 min. hold. I was a bit concerned because the vet said that my horse looked like she moved choppy in the hind end. This was a different vet than check us in the night before, so he did not have a base line to compare with. She felt fine to me, so he let me go off into the desert. Needless to say, I was a bit nervous heading out there for 30 miles before the next vet check with a potential problem brewing. I do believe she looked funny because we had just had her shod with pads on her hind feet as well as her fronts.
So we gradually climbed the Slate Mountain range. Annie though it would be more fun to canter up the gradual fire roads than just trot, so I let her go a bit. What fun was that! We passed a deserted mine with a falling apart shack and a chair right next to the trail. Perhaps a ghost town?? The climb to the top was easy, but the journey down was treacherous. Very steep hills, loose rocks, and sand. I got off and hand walked down the mountain - not the smart thing to do as I could hardly keep my footing. So I made much better time by getting back on Annie and letting her do the hard work. It took about 5 miles to get down that mountain at a walk until we were in the Pinamint Valley and back to good footing. A nice lady broke her ankle going down that mountain. She was walking next to her horse and she heard it snap. Unfortunately she had a long way to go before anyone could help her. Someone helped her onto her horse, gave her a vikatin, and as long as she was walking she was okay. We went past a historical sign that said something about someone leading a family to safety out of death valley through this canyon. Interesting...
Once we hit the Valley, we picked up a strong trot and tried to get into the the vet check, thinking it was only a few miles down the path. Oh no, we kept going, and going, and going, no vet check... I saw what looked like a lake to my right, but no, that was a mirage - just a dried up lake bed. No water for a while. The footing was lovely sand - not the deep kind - the good kind. But in the middle of no where, a very kind man in his off road truck had a bale of alfalfa for us and a lot of water. What a great stop! I was riding mostly by myself, so it was so nice to see another person! And very shortly thereafter was the vet check! And my husband was there with our trailer - what a fabulous sight! Annie thought she was finished. I was hoping that she looked okay in the hind end, and yes, she looked fine, no problems, so we continued on the 9 miles back to camp.
Those last 9 miles were tough to get though. The longest ride my mare and I have ever done is 33 miles. I knew the faster we get into camp, the better. No use dragging it out - we were still on the same nice sand footing but now the sun was setting over the mountains and the cold air was setting in fast. We left the check at a walk and she kept looking back at the trailer as if to say that we are going the wrong way!! We went by a real ghost town with falling down banks, post office, and cabins. Apparently it used to be a gold mine that was closed in about 1940. It was rather creepy by myself in the dusk. I would have liked to read the historical markers by the town center, but I had one thing on my mind - finishing!! I knew I could do it - just take it easy into camp. At the check they said we could see camp and that we were almost there - not true!! I couldn't see camp until the last mile - I kept thinking it was over another hill in the other valley. It is really hard to judge distances in the desert!
We finished at 4:31. Just as the sun was setting. It took us 8 hours and 31 min. Just a perfect first ride. We vetted out fine. My mare ate well, slept well, and hauled well home. I, on the other hand, could not move until today. I was so sore in my legs and especially my thighs. I need to get in shape!
Most everyone stayed for all 4 days, but not me! One 50 was quite a feat for me, so we went home on a good note. I am glad we left when we did because a storm was scheduled to role in on Monday night. I am not sure if they got it or not but I did not want to be in my tent for that!
My husband drove our rig to the next base camp. He unfortunately picked a horrible spot next to a very mean lady. She yelled at us for parking by her because she had a dog-aggressive pit bull that she insisted needed to run free off leash. We have a 4 month old border collie. She said that she put up water jugs, but they were on the other side of were we parked. We already had our tent set up so it wasn't going to be easy to move, not to mention all the people there already and it was dark. That was the first time I have ever run into a nasty distance rider. Why must people insist on their dog-aggressive Pit Bulls to be off leash??? That is ridiculous. So we had to protect our puppy by locking him in the truck unless we were going on a walk.
Next year, I am doing all 4 days!
Rose Trace Arabians