Public Service Announcement:
1. Ralston Creek Trail is a multi-use trail, which means as a user you will encounter horseback riders, walkers, dogs, bikes, joggers, skateboarders, kid carriers and scooters. Bicycles YIELD to EVERYONE.
2. Please understand that although there might be an equestrian trail through the grass, if the trail has not been maintained and is completely overgrown, it may not be possible to ride there.
3. BICYCLES YIELD TO EVERYONE. Everyone else yield to horses.
4. When a rider politely asks you to slow down, they aren't being an asshole, they are doing so for their own safety. Horses are 1200 lb animals with their own minds, their own attitudes and sometimes they react in irrational ways.
5. Dinging your silly little bike bell will not make the horses move faster and it may result in your being kicked.
6. You are on a fucking multi-use trail. It will not hurt you to slow down when passing horses. If you want to ride your bike without stopping, stay on the fucking road.
7. Sarcasm is not a desired response to a polite request to slow down. Pointing out the overgrown, tree littered, narrow and deep singletrack and suggesting we go there is not helpful. Don't be such an ass.
8. Sometimes the horses have to stay on the sidewalk or the bridge. We can't ford the creek when it is lined with huge boulders and horses are not able to walk through heavily thicketed willow stands. Seriously.
9. As horseback riders we would much rather be on grass or dirt when we ride, not the hard and slick pavement. Please trust if we are not riding on the grass there is a reason that goes beyond our stupidity or lack of knowledge of a better trail. Screaming at the riders as you fly by is not pleasant or necessary.
10. "Eat me" is not a generally accepted reply when politely requested to slow down. You are an adult in your late fifties or early sixties based on your appearance and your $4000 bike. Act like one. Stop being such an entitled asshat. The three seconds it will cost you to slow and pass us carefully may save someone's life. May Karma take the air from your tires.
J rode her bike and N rode Cali. N used my cantle pack for her stuff (she loves it and plans on finding one of her own). I decided to try one more option and pulled out my buttpack. It is fairly big and held the hydration pack without issue, plus I had a place for my lunch and my phone. The only thing that wasn't easy to reach or use was my camera. I had it tethered to my bag with a carabiner and the strap it came with. It was not easy to use and I only took a couple of pictures.
It was a gorgeous day. Temps in the low 80's. No wind. No storms.
A smile on her face despite Cali's antics. This horse learned yesterday that if she rears or backs up on the edge of a cliff N will get off and handwalk her. She tried it again today in a flat field and discovered that it didn't have the same effect. Cue violin music. So Cali defaulted to tripping and stumbling on her way out.
J likes the flat trail. Although she did accuse me of cheating when I let Ashke gallop up the only real hill.
I put my camera in my waistband of the pack instead of the mesh pouch on the side, because I was planning on taking more pictures.
Shortly after this picture, we came out onto flat, cut grass parklike areas perfect for cantering. Ashke lost his head a couple of times and we struggled to maintain a proper canter. Cali began tripping more and more. We walked for a bit. Then we came to a new bit of trail and I wanted a pic. I reached down for the camera and found this:
I lost my camera (Pentax Compact Waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, coldproof, pretty much indestructable) somewhere behind us. We stopped and ate lunch. I was very bummed. Replacing the camera would cost me 300+ and the chance of us actually finding it were fairly slim.
After lunch we headed back. At a walk. In hopes of finding the camera.
When we got back to the groomed grass, N found the camera lying in the grass. It bounced off my waist at a canter, hit the ground and is perfectly fine. Worth every penny.
The ride home was much faster than the ride out. There were a couple of times that Cali cantered off in front of us and Ashke just walked. She could get about 60 yards away and then he would suddenly realize that Cali was gone and get completely amped up. We did some leg yields, shoulder in, and extended trot on the way back, as well as a couple of mad gallops. Ashke is getting very good at trotting down fairly steep hills and cantering down small slopes.
I'm pretty sold on the buttpack as an option. I had plenty to drink. It didn't add weight to my shoulders and it didn't bother Ashke. I have also figured out how to handle the camera.
I also have a case with a loop on the back (for my binoculars) that will hold this camera and it fits on the waistband of my buttpack. I can pull it out and use it and put it away safely with one hand. Plus, it will be clipped to one of the hooks on the pack. I have no intention of losing it a second time.
We made better time on the way home, even with walking to find the camera. Both horses knew they were headed back.
I made 35 miles over the three days. A little short of my goal, but I am not disappointed. Ashke did great.