Thursday, July 18, 2013

Chief Joseph Trail Ride ~ 2013

Into the wild...
And, we're off! Like a herd of turtles. I guess that sounds silly but moving 180 spotted horses down a path is not so easily done. After Monday morning, we figure out who's fast, who's slow and la dee dah!

Yours Truly riding my horse, Sable, with Kirk and Snuffy.
It is a marvelous vacation ~ we anticipate this for 6 solid months. Even though, it is a hard, hard gig. Every moment out there is well worth the effort. It's called the Chief Joseph Trail Ride. It celebrates a defining moment in history. AND it benefits a whole lotta kids who need our help.

Janet and Phantom posing in front of the giant buffalo herd.
The only horses allowed on this ride are registered American Appaloosas.*  Huh? The best way to figure that one out is to look for the spots on the horses behind. Appaloosas are known for their delightful spotted coats.

Check out the near identical spots on our two black horsies. That black and spotty look is actually quite rare.

This is my 3rd year on the ride. This is also my last year doing it ~ and, so I'm feeling a tad wistful this evening. While it is so much fun ~ it is the most difficult ride I've ever done.

Seriously? You don't have a valet to carry this bag?

If you've ever been car camping, then you know that it's amazing how much stuff you have to pack. Imagine that with horses... Like small children, you have to pack everything for them, too.

And, every morning, you pull up stakes and move on to a new place to settle down for a night. We will ride for 20-25 miles on any given day. The horses don't care. They were built for endurance. My butt? Not so much. :)

Early morning water crossing.
Half the fun of doing this ride is meeting up with folks you haven't seen since last year. I dearly love this cult world of spotted horse lovers. IF you are a horse person, then you know that we search far and wide for a gentle spirit. That is why I am so enamoured with Appaloosas, such a strong, calm, easy-going horse.

Wild Fireweed
My days in a the saddle deliver some delightful discoveries! In these wild lands, I see wildflowers we only view in books. So rare. It's a huge delight to see them. Hop off the horse. And, photograph these amazing beauties ~ who survive on natural rainwater, alone.

Wild Gentian
And, here's a whole bunch more!

* This ride commemorates the flight of the Nez Perce Native Americans, seeking refuge in Canada. It takes 13 years to complete the Chief Joseph Trail Ride, spanning western wilderness from Oregon to 40 miles shy of the Canadian border, where they were forced to surrender to the US Calvary.

** The Nez Perce Native Americans bred these stunning spotted horses for agility and endurance.

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Susan ITPH said...

Just, wow. Very jealous. Why are you not doing the ride anymore?

Susan ITPH said...

Just, wow. Very jealous. Why are you not doing the ride anymore?

Marguerite said...

Kate, you don't mention - why is this your last year doing the ride? Looks like such an amazing trip and those horses are the prettiest ones I've ever seen.

Aaron said...

Looks like a beautiful, memorable journey. Thank you for sharing...

Gardens at Waters East said...

Enjoyed going on your ride. Just found your blog today and it was a nice break for the afternoon. JC

Janie said...

This looks like a lot of fun, but I can imagine it's exhausting, too. The photos are beautiful. I love the last one of the frisky appaloosa.

Melospiza said...

Beautiful! I'm sighing in wistful envy, even though the thought of riding a horse for 20 miles a day makes my knees hurt.