Notice how Waska still has one ear cocked towards the river and one ear on me and Amber?? Smart boy, I tell you! Just so you all know, we are not as close to the edge as we may look, and we are in fact about 10-15 feet (and sometimes more) away from it.
So as I mentioned in the last post, this area is known as the basin, and it is used to hold back excess water from the dam when there is large amounts of rainfall. Needless to say, it often floods, and is left with a rich mixture of sand, clay, and mud that contains lots of yummy nutrients; thus making an ideal feeding area for large herds of elk. (No we didn't see any, but their tracks and poo were all over the place)...And apparently, you may also find horses out grazing in this rich grass too...lol!!!! The trail winds alongside the river for about one mile, and the horses just couldn't help themselves. Even Waska, who normally never eats while he is being ridden, couldn't resist.
We finally stopped and let them graze for a few minutes, because I told Amber that this was akin to walking through a large room filled with your favorite food and not being able to take just one bite...lol!!!
See the whitish/gray pile of dead trees (I know you can't tell what those are yet, but trust me, they are dead trees) that are to the left in the middle of the picture below? There were a couple of these areas down in the basin, and they are areas that trees/log jams were held back from the dam with large buoys. Here you can see them a little bit better, and the darker tree-looking things are the buoys ( picture below). So I wonder, what do they do with all of the dead trees??? I know it doesn't flood every year (like it did this past winter) but I have never thought about what they do with them. Hmmmm.....
Moving right along, we headed into the trees, and even in here you can see all of the debris. And in case you are wondering, there is actually a trail through all of this mess, we weren't just blindly picking our way through.
Also, while you have to be extremely careful of what a flood may have left behind in more urban or rural areas-think metal, glass and other sharp objects-it is pretty benign down here, because there are only a few cabins upstream on the river; otherwise there is nothing but forests and foothills.Still, we watched where we were going. Now we had both heard that this trail washed out the year before, so we weren't too optimistic about being able to get through, but we decided that we would go as far as we could, and as far as the others who had gone before us. (Like I said, there was a well-worn path)
Have you ever wondered how high water can get when it floods? I must admit that I have never particularly wondered this, and I assumed that the river had flooded up to the basin only, which is about 20-30 feet above the normal water level.
What I am trying to say is that we were riding 20-30 feet above the river, and we never suspected that it got any higher than that, until we looked up and saw this....
Yes, that is a small, uprooted tree, hanging from the limbs of a much larger tree. Amber and I looked at each other completely shocked, and then we started to look around at the other trees and noticed the same thing.
There were literally giant logs up there (up there being about 20-30 feet over our heads) and that means that the river was even higher than we imagined. It was really kind of creepy to think that this whole area was under water a few months ago. We kind of got the heebie-jeebies for a minute, but we kept on going.
Anyway, we made it about another 3/4 mile, and then we came to the area where the trail just vanished before our eyes in a sea of dead wood. So we turned around and headed back towards the trailer, which was a little over an hour away.
On our way back, we ran into a hiker, who also happens to be a horseback rider, and she said that she came down here to check the trail out, because she had been out here with a group of friends about three weeks ago, and the horses were sinking up to their bellies in mud. Good thing the sun has been shining, eh???
(Oh looky!!! A picture of me looking fab in my helmet...lol!!!!!)
All in all we had a great day, even though we only spent about three hours on horseback. I think that Amber and I will definitely wait a few weeks before we head back up to Buck Creek, and hopefully some of the trails will be cleared by then. We also feel kind of guilty, like we should help out with the trail clearing, so we may contact the local riding clubs and see when they are heading back up too.
Have a great day guys!!! I am going to do a bit of research now, as I have to meet with one of my professors tomorrow to discuss a class that I helping them design. :)
Also..Eric's baseball team is in the middle of their league playoffs, and he has been picked to try out for the All Stars team. Way to go Eric!!!!!!