Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Milton never went to California

Paradise isn't lost, it's hiding in the Sierras.

Doesn't look like much from the topo map, does it?

At last week's NEDA ride, R invited me to come ride the high country with her. Monday I went to Paradise Lake with her and two other high country trail riders. Words fail me - I can't describe how beautiful it is up there. I took a lot of (bad) pictures so they'll have to suffice.

I got to the parking area at Boreal a little early - I wasn't sure how long it would take to get up Donner Pass with the trailer. I wasn't quite motivated enough to braid Dixie, but I did play Pretty Pony with her.


Dixie was remarkably solid the whole time. She didn't spazz about the mountain bikers, but she did worry a lot about backpackers. She tripped once, just like each of the other horses. I can't tell you what a relief it was to be on a surefooted trustworthy horse! She stepped over some very large logs, followed me up a 2' ledge onto a bridge and back down the ledge on the other side, followed me down a very tricky rockfall section of trail, and stood patiently whenever we stopped. Such a good horse.

This is near the trailhead.

I think this is looking from the ridge along Andecite Peak toward Castle Peak.

The biggest meadow we crossed.

My poor iPhone just can't handle pics at high altitude. I've noticed that the higher I go, the worse the overexposure is.

The altitude didn't bother me - I actually hiked quite a bit of trail - but you could tell you were very high up. The sun was brutally intense - and, of course, there were snowpacks and wildflowers everywhere. This little meadow was waist-high in yellow, white, and purple flowers.


R has a picture of Dixie and I standing on a big snowpack - when she sends it to me I'll add it here. :)

Dixie approved of Paradise Lake.

More lake shots.


I firmly maintain that I have a horse because I'm too lazy to walk places, but I am seriously tempted to buy a tent, hike nine miles out to that lake, and sleep on that rock ledge.

I continue to be impressed by my Renegades. I bought some new toe straps last week - the rear straps were pretty grotty and one of the fronts was failing. I couldn't remember which front strap was bad, and they looked about the same, so I just shrugged and left the fronts alone. Turns out it was the right - that damn strap kept coming undone. I hopped off and re-velcro'd it several times on the trip out, and on the trip back when it came undone again I just left it loose for a mile or so. The boot never budged, over rocks and logs and through bogs. When we stopped to give the youngest horse a rest, I pulled the rear boots, put a good toe strap on the front right, and we motored on home. Straps are cheap - don't buy three just because you know one of them is good. Just buy four straps, Funder.

Dixie didn't drink as well as I'd like, but she's gotten really good at grabbing grass on the move, and she didn't sweat a lot. It was a hard ride, but very slow and pleasant, and she never huffed and puffed. Of course she didn't want mash at the trailer. R suggested I try wetting her hay at home, to get her used to eating gross soggy food, and I'm going to try that tonight.

My rig towed amazingly well over Donner Pass. I had plenty of truck to get up the pass, and it held its speed on the long downgrade coming home.

I got some great feedback on my trim post, and I haven't forgotten about it! Smazourek, thanks especially for the comments on Flickr!


  1. oh, that is amazingly gorgeous! I'll have to look up how to go there! I love my Renegades too, but still don't have the fit right, which is a bit frustrating. I'd love a post on real-life adjusting tips if you have any).

  2. Beautiful scenery. I wish I could get up the nerve to hit the trails. It looks so fun when everyone else does it. It seems like high drama when I try it lol. Dixie looks awesome. Love the mane!

  3. Irish horse - send an email to Mel and she can help you with fitting! Dixie's back feet grew a size and she got me in the right boots earlier this year. I usually strap them on, look at them, wonder if that's really how they're supposed to look, and ride away - I am not an expert on fitting at all.

    Story, hahah, we had our fair share of drama. It's not harder than ring work at all, but it takes just as many hours to make it look easy. :)

  4. Stunning photos!

    That's quite the testament to how far Dixie has come, just since I have been reading your blog and you said that she had already progressed a lot before that. I'd say, you have made yourself a pretty broke horse there Funder. ;-)

  5. Thank you! XD We definitely took the slow boat (or maybe the short bus) but she is a good trustworthy horse now.

  6. The country up there is amazing! I have to travel pretty far to find views like those... I'm jealous!

    Sounds like Dixie was wonderful (as always). I'm glad you had such a nice ride. :)

  7. That's funny; John Prine sings that Paradise is up in Kentucky, somewhere along the Green River in Muhlenburg County to be precise. :)

    But given your pictures, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt in this case. It looks beautiful !

  8. But Mr. Peabody's coal train hasn't removed any mountaintops out here! ;)

  9. Wow- That lake doesn't even look real!
    How far is that area from Reno?

    I like the mane too, now that doesn't look nearly as time consuming as braiding, I might have to try it.

  10. Thanks, yall :)

    CG, it took about an hour from driveway to trailhead. Holiday Monday, and Burning Man had just closed, so the traffic was a little heavy.

  11. Gorgeous country! And you know me - I'm loving the mane braids.

  12. Wow! Beautiful! Next to the beach, this is definitely a "must-do" with Max. What's the altitude like up there? I did one extended trail ride at about 5,000 feet and that just about slayed me- next time, I need to get in better shape. Max was good for it though and he helped me home.

    The meadow is amazing. :-)

  13. Adam - dude, when I moved out here I got out of breath walking across a parking lot. Altitude takes some getting used to for us puny humans! Boreal is just below Donner Pass, at about 7000', and the highest peak we climbed was probably 8000'. The good news is that horses are largely unaffected by altitude - Max could do a slow mountain ride, even though you couldn't hike with him.

  14. What beautiful scenery! Every picture you took was breathtaking.


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