Sunday, February 17th, dawned cold and clear in the Eastern Mojave as Dani began preparations for the days ride. With the phone alarms working and many tasks completed the evening before we had time on our hands to enjoy a cup of coffee and grouse about our oatmeal. Jerry was a BIG oatmeal fan and we had discovered it made a good breakfast before a long ride. Dani however thought it’s appearance was akin to something that had been pre-digested.
Jazzi’s water bucket had less ice in it than the morning before. You could see were she had been drinking all night by the round hole her nose left in the ice. She was very happy to get more alfalfa, but became indignant when we started tacking her up. This was her second multi-day ride and someone had forgotten to tell her she still had more trail to cover.
Bubba and Karl, being old pros were ready in no time. Bubba had bonded to Jazzi and was very unhappy when Dani took her out of eyesight to mount up. Soon they were off to the start at the end of the dirt road that leads into camp. This gave me one whole hour to get ready to be trucked up to Cross Rocks for the lunch stop. I had thought I would get some reading in. Silly me, that hour was gone in no time!
The trail for day two was longer and harder with 55 miles to cover instead of the normal 50. The trail had significant climbs into the Mescal Mountains, Striped Mountains and the Cima Dome. Most of the mountain work was before the lunch stop, making the return to camp appear to be an easy feat. Many riders instead found that the early climbing forced their horses to slow down on the way home as they had used up much of the horses energy in the mountains. The front runners however, had lots of reserve to draw on and kept up a swift pace right to the finish.
The map of the trail was again GPS’d with excellent information. The names of the places the ride traversed were as colorful as the environs were not. They included Chevy Canyon (the home of a skeleton of an auto. How anyone knew it was a Chevy was beyond me), Lost Chinaman Mine, Blue Buzzard Mine, Evening Start Mine, Copper King Mine, Iron Horse Mine and Piute Valley to name just a few. The instructions on the map were almost comical: turn at the steam shovel, lunch at the old Bus and Bulldozer diner, cross Nudist Alien Road and my favorite “don’t do anything stupid.” Some folks had a hard time with the last instruction.
Lunch was at “Cross Rocks” which I was told use to have a cross on it. Some one with too much time on their hands had litigated the cross into oblivion, however the name remains. It was a very good spot for lunch with nice views, lots of room and easy truck access for supplies. After unloading the mountain of crew bags, Kim from Australia, Merri (yes, that Merri) and my self were put to work making 120 turkey, egg salad and other assorted sandwiches. To my utter amazement the most popular one is the egg salad, go figure. Us girls had a fun time bonding while making sandwiches chatting about kids, horses and correct way to dress a tuna sandwich.
By about 9:30 am the front runners started to arrive. Dr. Q and I were put to work taking pulses as the ever efficient Cheri Brisco kept tabs on everyone’s in and out times. That Cheri is the queen of keeping everyone on time. Dr. Q had much better ears than me and I was thankful he was able to find all the heart beats that I could not. 99.9 percent of the riders were appreciative of us and I only recall one person getting testy when their horse’s pulse was not taken fast enough. For the better part of 2 hours the riders came in groups less than 4 which made our work pleasurable. Then 2 huge packs came in and I lost track of time. Most riders knew if their horses met the 60 criteria. We had less than a handful of horses that had to take more than 3 minutes to pulse down.
Dani and Karl came in and pulsed down within minutes of each other. Dani reported that Jazzi was drinking well on the trail and was eating at every opportunity. During the hold Jazzi ate anything she could. Dayna Weary was kind enough to donate her leftover hay to Jazzi. Everyone, horses and humans looked good and ate and drank throughout the hour hold. Soon it was time for Dani and Karl to start the last half of the ride. I was so proud of Dani and Jazzi, they have come so far in the last few years from complete novices and a green 5 year old to happy travelers.
I had a very fun time with Cheri talking about the different rides in our region and horse confirmation. Cheri has 18,000 miles and she is a wealth of knowledge. We really enjoyed the several stallions that came through. I was so blessed she shared so much with me.
After the last of the riders left the lunch stop we gathered up much of the paraphernalia. Cheri was concerned as several riders had been reported lost and had not made it to lunch. The Duck’s daughter was sent to pull ribbons and the rest of us were trucked back to camp. I was finally able to rest and enjoy a bit of time for myself. However, it was short lived as Dani and Karl finished at 4 pm, one hour longer than the day before. They came in 20th and 21st!
Jazzi looked very good and was again hungry eating anything and everything she could. For Bubba it was another good day on the trail. Dani complained her legs were sore from posting, but was excited as Jazzi was able to out trot Bubba. Only a few horses have been able to make Bubba canter and Jazzi is now a member of that club. Jazzi had an issue when vetting out as she was trying to rack and fox trot. This makes it hard on the vet as Jazzi looks very off as she attempts to find the mystery gait. Bubba vetted out without any problems.
Later that evening Jazzi was sweating under her blanket, everywhere except were her saddle was. I was able to borrow a cooler (I had forgotten Jazzi’s after it was washed) and gave her some e-lytes per Tammy’s suggestion. However later when I asked the vet he did not think e-lytes were a good idea. I guess I have some research to do here. I guess I really need to get the gait trainer over to help Jazzi find those mysterious gaits.
Many thanks to the Duck and his crew for a great ride, a well marked trail and excellent maps. This is a wonderful ride. I am forever indebted to Karl and Bubba for taking my girls safely down the trail. Karl and Bubba, no body does it better!
Lazy J Ranch
Elfin Forest , CA