Saturday, August 29, 2009

I Did It To Myself....

(Pictures are recent ones I took of Jinx)

I am a terrible procrastinator!!!! There...I said it!!!!
I have been told that it goes along with my ADD-like tendencies, but it drives me-and my family!!-nuts.You know that research paper that I have been working and on...this summer??? Well I am almost done with it, which is good because it is due next week.
But even though I did the research for it, and have spent countless hours perusing through scholarly, peer-reviewed, evidence-based databases, actually sitting down and focusing on the task at hand is difficult.
Oh yeah, and have I told you that I really detest writing papers??? LOL!!!! The good thing about this is that I can use a lot of the info that I gathered for this paper, to write my senior thesis/capstone next spring...if I so choose, and with the professors blessing.So, even though I am really, really, really stressed out right now, and missing tons of family functions due to my own dysfunction, I may not be so crazed when spring semester-my final semester!!!-rolls around.
In theory, right??? (wink, wink!!)
And I have absolutely no idea what is going on out there in blog land right now, but just know that even though I am not able to visit and comment, I am still there in spirit. Hmmmm....does that sound kind of creepy??? LOL!!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Buck Creek Adventure, Part Three....

(I know I am posting twice in one day, but I have to finish this so I can focus on my paper!)

So what did we decide to do??? Well Amber wanted to turn around and go back the way we came, but I put my foot down and said that we were going to walk down the logging/forest service road, until we either ran into another human being or we came to highway 410.
I hadn't been up this particular road in over 10 years, but I knew where we were, and I figured if it got too late, we could always call 911 and tell them our location...and we would be a hellava lot easier to find on a road, than on a trail somewhere.

Because the road was steep, and because our horses were weary, we led them down the road, which thankfully ended up only being four miles long. Unfortunately for us though, cowboy boots are not made for walking, let alone down a steep, gravel, road. The bottoms of my feet and the tips of my toes are still!!!!
As we were walking, we decided that we would ask one of the many people who should be camping near the river, if they could give Amber a ride back up to Buck Creek, so she could bring the horse trailer back down to our new location.

Thankfully, about mile post three, we began to hear cars travelling along the highway, and right at four miles, we ran into a group of local guys-and their girlfriends-who were on their way up to cut firewood. We told them our story, and they agreed to take Amber up to Buck Creek. I stayed at Huckleberry Creek and let the panonies graze on the damp grasses and underbrush along an old road. And sure enough, about 25 minutes later....
... Amber came banging and clanging up the road. The horses heard her before I did, and boy were they happy!!!! So we untacked our tired panonies, offered them water from the trailer, loaded them up, and headed for home.
The only problem was that we did not have cell phone service for another 50 minutes, and it was now around 5:00. We were both hoping that Brad wasn't completely panicking, and that he hadn't alerted Kevin-my hubby-yet. Once we got back into town, I immediately called Kevin, who asked "Where are you???" and I told him, "We just passed the golf course."

He then said he needed to hang up and call a couple of my family members, because they were on their way up to see if we had made it back to the trailer yet. Long story short...we made it home safe, and in one piece....I must admit that I had a healthy respect for the wilderness before, but I really respect it now.
I am not riding out on trails unknown-trails that take you into a national forest-without sitting down and mapping a course out first. I will also be taking a compass, a knife, flint, and a first aid kit.

Now that we have ridden this magnificent trail, we will definitely have to do it again, but next time it will be planned!!! LOL!!!!

PS-All in all we rode the horses and walked/hiked around 13 miles that day. So much for a "quick loop," eh???? We also started out around 2100 feet in elevation and was about 5600 feet by the time we were at the highest peak/ridge. No wonder we were tired!!!!

Buck Creek Ride, Part Two...

As previously mentioned, we continued to climb, and I mean climb! At one point, we did start to descend about 300-400 feet, and Amber was quite pleased with herself. "See???" she said, "I told you we were heading back down."
Her smugness didn't last very long though, as we turned a corner, and began to climb uphill again; quickly regaining all lost elevation. You can see how steep some of these switchbacks were by looking at the picture below... I was beginning to become mildly alarmed at our elevation too, because every where we looked, there were wild mountain huckleberries...Noble firs...And long, grayish/black, stringy moss. All things that you only see growing at higher elevations over here.Now, before I continue, let me say that we were definitely not prepared to be riding up in the high country. We had two large bottles of water, two baggies of almonds, two granola bars, light weight jackets, a cell phone, and that was it.

We had no compass, no knife, no first aid kit, and no flint; although I did of course have my epi-pen.

Remember, we had planned on going for a trail ride, not an adventure, and by this time, we had hiked a good two -three miles ourselves, and we were hungry and thirsty. Moving on...we came around a corner, and found ourselves up on a ridge line, and all of the sudden, we had cell phone service. As it was about 2:00, and we figured that we would be expected home by no later than 5:00, Amber called her hubby, Brad.

She was able to tell him that we left Buck Creek around 11:00, that she had thought we were heading in a loop/circle back down towards it, but that now she wasn't so sure. Her last words to him were "Yeah...don't worry. We are up on some ridge, and we are lost." Then, at that exact moment, she lost service.'s the thing...we were never technically lost, as we had remained on the same trail-whose trail number we knew-the whole time. All we had to do was turn around and ride back, right??? Wrong!!!! Amber-oh how I do love thee!!!!!-still insisted that we should forge ahead, and that if we did, we might find a spur to take us back.
I should have put my foot down, but I told Amber we could ride for about one more hour and then turn around.
I was also worried that Brad would call Kevin and tell him that we were "lost," per his cut-off conversation with us. Who knew what was going on back at home????
Do you see the rock face in the picture below??? At our highest point, we were riding up in the treeline above it. Then, we started to wind downhill a bit.Finally, at 3:20, we came to another logging road, and the trail that we were on had the same trail number that it did when we left Buck Creek, but it also had a name. And do you know what that name was???? Suntop Trail!!!!! "Oh shit," I said, "We just rode on that trail from Buck Creek to Huckleberry Creek, which means that we are not going to be anywhere near our trailer when we get down."
Ever the optimist, Amber then tried to tell me that I was confused and that I must be mistaken: Suntop wasn't at the top of Huckleberry Creek, it was at the top of Buck Creek.
She then suggested that we turn around at this point and head back the way we came. had taken us 3.5 hours to get here, and it was now almost 4:00, so that would put us back at camp around 7:30 or so, and back home around 8:30.
All of this, and who knew what was going on back at home???
To be continued.......

Monday, August 24, 2009

Buck Creek Adventure, Part One....

Hello everyone!! We have been really busy lately with back to school shopping, and mom??? Let me be the first to say that I don't know how the heck you did it with four girls. And I am sorry that I was such a snot from ages 11- 17. And why am I cursed...I mean blessed...with two mini me's???? Enough said there....
I am also in the midst of actually writing that paper-you know, the one that I have been doing research for all summer long???-and only have this week to finish it, so bear with me folks. I will try to make it out to every one's blogs, but I am not very hopeful.....In the mean time, I wanted to share a little story with you; one about our little adventure in the back/high country of Buck Creek-and the surrounding area. Did I just say adventure????I thought we were just going on a little, old, trail ride???? It started out innocent enough. Amber said that she heard/read/thought that the trail systems in Buck Creek were loops, and that some were around one hour long, some were around two-three hours long, and that there was one that took the rider waaaaaaaay up, looped around the top of a foothill, and then came back down-oh yeah, and that particular trail was supposed to be around four hours long.

I also knew that there was a trail that connected Buck Creek to another area known as Huckleberry Creek, which is about 12-15 minutes NW of Buck Creek on the highway...traveling 60 mph. This trail ends at a place called Suntop, which is an old fire lookout station, and is really nowhere near Buck Creek.

Are you guys beginning to see where I am going with this story yet?????We really lucked out weather-wise too, as it was misting and raining off and on the whole way up to Buck Creek. Once there however, the sun came out, and....I'll get to the rest later. The first part of the trail took us through a lovely old growth forest, and then into a clear cut that had some wicked, steep, switchbacks.
In fact, they were so steep that we got off the poor horses-remember they had been off for about two months-and led them up the hills. We would lead them about one mile and then ride them one mile....We had only been riding one hour, when we came around a corner, and could see the airstrip that we had parked the trailer. See that small horizontal gray patch near the middle of the picture below??? That is the airstrip.Here...I zoomed in on it for you. The silver blob in the middle of the the strip-it was actually behind the strip, not on it!-was one of the travel trailers that was down there. We were parked to the extreme left of the strip. You can just make out a whitish blob down there.....At the top of the clear cut, we came to a logging road, but the trail continued on the other side, so into the woods we went. Let me just say that I had a hunch the whole time that we were not going in a loop, but Amber kept insisting that we were, and that at any minute, we were going to go around a corner and start descending...uh huh...yeah right!!!!While most of our ride was out in the open, there where a few areas that we went through that were magnificent in their stillness. Some spots were so tree choked, that absolutely no light made it to the forest floor below. It was so very quiet in these woods-we called them "dead" woods-and there were big clouds of mist/fog that kept coming down from an unseen sky, and blowing through the trees.
They were beautiful in their desolation, and we rode in silence to take in their full effect.
We were now maybe two hours into our ride, and I began to get a bit antsy. I just kept thinking that if the loop-that we were supposedly on-was four hours in length, then we should be heading back down at any time, right??? Then why were we continuing to go up???
To be continued......

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Sheesh...I swear the past week-since we got home from the ocean-has gone by really fast. In a way, the end of summer is kind of sad, but in another way, it is wonderful. The kidlets will start school on the first, and I will start classes on the eighth. Then we will all be really busy again; though in a different way.

I think I may have been subconsciously avoiding my blog, in preparation for school and my internship. This last year of school will prove to be difficult-I watched last years poor seniors barely make it through-but I am ready to move on, and so, I am ready for it to begin.....

We spent some time up at Amber's house, getting the farm ready for the impending winter. You know...filling in low spots in the horses sheds, fixing leaks in the hay shed roof, and Amber is adding a covered area for us to groom the horses under this winter.

Our weather has been weird lately too, from 100+ temperatures to rain and 50-60 degree temperatures, then back to the 90's. The horses are definitely putting on their winter coats, and I am sure their bodies are just as confused by the weather as we are.
(Below you can see the start of Sienna's winter coat coming in. It is all patchy....)

It has been cold enough that Bo has to wear his blankie at night, and we started him back on his senior feed; although that is now scrapped due to the heat being back....

Have you ever heard the old saying that ponies can get fat on dirt???? Well here is your!!!!And of course old Bo Bo took advantage of having all of us in his paddock at once....He snuck kisses.....And scratches....and apples...and lots of attention! Then he and Sienna had to take the kidlets for a ride in return for all of that attention. Nothing is for free, is it???? LOL!!!!And guess what??? Amber and I have gone on a few more rides, and Waska appears to be fine. We are planning on heading up to Buck Creek tomorrow, but will have to take it easy on the horses, as they are both a tad bit out of shape.
Hope you all have a wonderful Thursday!!!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Could It Be?????

In regards to the last post: Thanks so much for letting me burden you with my guilty conscience, and it is now time for me to move on.

Guess what Amber and I were able to do last night????!!!!!
Come on, don't be shy...guess!!!!

That's right, we were able to go on a nice ride. Waska appeared to have finally healed from his bruises, so we saddled up and hit the trail.Because it has been raining for the past few days, and because we spent a lot of our time in the watershed...I mean trespassing...ahem... I mean trail riding......the woods were dark, green, and luscious.

Or to use the words of my favorite poet...

The woods were lovely...Dark...And deep....And as you can see, Waska was quite full of himself. Well actually, he was his usual steadfast self, unless Bo came near him. Then he pinned his ears, rolled his eyes, and opened his jaws.
Anywho, we had a blast, and are planning on heading out again tonight.
See?? I am!!! Now that I can ride again, it will be interesting to see if my online horse shopping obsession disappears. I am pretty sure it will slow down anyway...teeheehee!!!
Talk at you all later! :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Beach Ponies....

You know I couldn't go too long without posting about horses now, didn't you??? LOL!!!! It's a little problem that several of us seem to have.......

So, on our last day at the beach, we decided to head back down to Ocean Shores and go for a ride on the beach. Now, I would be lying if I said that I didn't have have-I did-but I would also be lying if I said that my one hour of pleasure at the expense of the horses didn't bother me-it did.What do I mean??? Let me explain. I am a firm believer in a philosophical theory-one that I think was started by Immanuel Kant/Kantian philosophy, but don't quote me!-and it has to do with morals and moral judgement.

One of the biggest tenets-or at least for me it is!-of this theory is that the means should justify the ends, or more simply put, don't use something at its expense to derive your own pleasure. Confused yet???LOL!!!

Now I am remembering why I had a love/hate relationship with my philosophy courses...teeheehee!!! Who wants to analyze and think about their every action??? Maybe that's what is wrong with society today....

It's also why I tell my son that he better not shoot a deer-when he is out hunting with his dad-until he is absolutely sure he has his sites set on the best kill shot. Nothing deserves to suffer, right???Where was I???

Oh yes, the beach horses. I think I made it clear that we all had a good time, but as we were all riding-there were about 25-30 horses in our group-I noticed that their saddles seemed to be "one-size-fits-all," that they all had generic, long shanked, curb bits in their mouths, that most of them had tie downs made out of baling twine on, that several of them had rain rot/rain scald on their croups, and-here's the worst part-a lot of them had dull, lethargic, lifeless expressions in their eyes.

And aren't eyes supposed to be the window to the soul??? Okay, okay...animals aren't supposed to technically have souls, but you know what I mean-and the whole animals-don't have-souls- thingy is debatable.....

They are still living, breathing, creatures, who should have dark, soulful, eyes, am I right????

Well, most of these didn't.

Above is a picture of Katie and her horse, Tater. He did still have quite a bit of life in him, and is not usually used for children, but our group was almost entirely children, and there were no more kid horses with kid saddles available.

The wranglers were happy that my kidlets knew how to ride, but when they said" Oh good. We'll put this girl on Tater, because she knows how to ride and won't scream when he tries to run back," I got a little worried.....They did fine, but he did trot most of the way...

Eric was on the cutest old QH gelding, who shone like a copper penny (above). We never did catch his name, but he looked so tired and miserable, that it was all I could do not to offer the owners money to buy him.

Hopefully these horses could remember that humans are fun and caring, after a few months off...Me??? I ended up riding this Belgian gelding named Trigger, who had dead sides, a dead mouth, and who seemed to be zoned out 1/2 the time.
Wasn't he a sight to behold???? Everyone teased me, because his mane and tail, and my hair were almost identical in color and curl.... Oh, and did I mention their hooves???? These poor horses had some of the nastiest hooves around, and I was fit to be tied. It cost us $20/hour to ride, and they had lines of people waiting to ride. can't tell me that these poor horses don't earn enough in 2-3 hours to cover trimming expenses!!! They are ridden on sand for Pete's sake!!!!


Okay, I am done yelling now, but I still feel guilty about leaving those poor horses down on the beach...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Ocean...

We all had a great time at the beach, and we actually lucked out pretty well weather-wise.
The first day we arrived was gorgeous, and we spent a lot of time body surfing and playing in the waves.
There is a nasty riptide that you have to watch out for, so we try to only play in the water when the tide is coming in. Below you can see several of my family members out in the water. I got in a little later, but for obvious reasons, could not take my camera out there with me...teeheehee!!!The temperature of the water is around45-50 degrees, and we often stay in it for up to an hour. When you get out, you literally cannot feel your feet or legs, and you are ravenously hungry. Good way to burn calories, I guess...

Maybe I should move to the ocean??? LOL!!!
Katie was only in for about 20 minutes, and you can see her displeasure at the water temperature.On our second day, we awoke to cloudy skies and rain. It was still beautiful out though, and we decided to head down to Ocean Shores.While there, many of us rode the go-carts and bumper cars...
Better hurry, Eric!!! Auntie Beki and Katie are catching up to you!!!!The wind was blowing and the rain was pelting, but it didn't deter this bunch at all....
My dad-in the red-looked like some kind of deranged hillbilly in his hat, and the seat belt looked like!!!!After all the fun and games were over, my mom, Katie and I headed back to Moclips, while everyone else stayed and the rain!!!! They looked like drowned rats when they finally got back.At high tide, my mom, Katie, and I took a long walk on the beach-the rain had let up somewhat-and then walked upriver. The place we stay at is really neat, because we are near where the Moclips River meets the sea, and there is so much plant and animal diversity there.
Just look at the root system of this tree. It has obviously withstood many years of battery from the fickle ocean tides. Sometimes the roots are submerged by the river, while other times they are exposed for all to see.
We lucked out and were able to watch a pair of river otters as they frolicked and played, but unfortunately, I was unable to get any good shots of them. Talk about cute though!!!!!
Below is Katie standing on the river bank. Doesn't she look like a drowned rat???? LOL!!! Downriver looking towards the ocean...
Another shot from downriver looking up towards the ocean....Anyway...our last day was just as nice as the first, and we spent it beach combing, sunbathing, and horseback riding. My next post will be all about our hour long ride, and the horses that we were on.