Monday, October 17, 2016

Little Scraggy

Ok. So. Learning to use a GoPro Hero Sessions has a bigger learning curve than I thought. I spent time reading through the manual and playing with all the buttons after our last ride, wanting to be able to execute excellent video on our next excursion and instead, I floundered.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I succeeded in those things that I had practiced: I listened for the three beep indicator that the thing was recording, listened for the single beep saying it had stopped recording, and the multi-beep indicator that the GoPro had put itself to sleep like a good little camera. I also rode with the WiFi off, which meant that on our 4 hour ride, I took plenty of video and had lots of camera left at the end of the ride. I also took the video in 1 to 2 minute increments to ensure I could directly upload to YouTube without having to use editing software. That was all most excellent.

However, the one thing I did not recognize is that when one rides under a tree and gets whacked with a branch, which snags on the GoPro, there are consequences. And when one does not affix the camera correctly pointing down from the helmet, the vids are not the best. I started with the camera pointed a little high (see the second issue) then whacked it really hard and ended with it pointed at the top of the trees instead of the trail. Know what is more boring then watching bad GoPro vids of the trail you can barely see? Watching the tops of trees whipping past. Complete fail.

And the trail was worth videoing.

We started from the Little Scraggy Trailhead and headed out on the Little Scraggy loop. Because it is in the mountains, it goes up for seven miles (mostly) and then down for seven (mostly). It is singletrack with a lot of rock.

 Waiting to move out after a twenty minute break.
He was not real patient.

J and A came with K and I. J started feeling altitude sickness at about seventy-five hundred feet, so after making it out five miles, she and A decided to turn around and head back. It was probably a great choice, since the two mile climb they would have had to do would have been pushing their bikes up the last 800 feet of elevation gain. We followed a seasoned rider up the trail and he was pushing his bike. And I watched one of the guys biff it on the rocks in front of us at the top.

Some video that wasn't horrible.

Ashke and I had a bit of a disagreement several times over the first five miles, one of which resulted in him hitting the bit pretty hard when he tried to canter down a steep, slick rock strewn part of the trail. It was an issue when Eddy was in the lead for a lot of the ride. Part of the problem is that Eddy does not walk as fast as Ashke, so we were having to compress his gait to keep from walking or trotting over Eddy, which just frustrated him completely and caused him to fight against my request. I finally got him to relax and maintain his distance behind Eddy without freaking out (much more difficult to do when visibility is broken up by trees and rocks as compared to our last ride where we were in the open) and without us fighting with each other. It only took nine miles or so. It's pretty harrowing to have his head straight up in the air fighting to go faster while tripping over rocks and roots for miles at a time.

This is typical of the terrain in the Buffalo Creek area.

It was a beautiful day. The weather could not have been better.

There was several slabs of slick rock (smooth, water washed granite) and the final piece was about 300 feet wide and angled toward the downhill. I didn't try to ride across it, but dismounted and allowed Ashke to scramble his way without having to take care of both of us. Slick rock is scary and this was a piece that we couldn't ride around. There is a lot of slick rock in the Rocky Mountains and will be a challenge any time we have to ride across it. 

Trail marker for passage over slick rock

One of the big issues with riding trails designed and created for mountain bikes, is they love to ride slick rock. We bypassed a lot of what we could, but this one piece did not offer a way around. Ashke got a little panicked the first time he slipped, but he kept his feet under him and came close enough to me to be able to touch me with his nose, which reassured him. 

 Ashke was pretty happy to be doing a trail we had never ridden before.

After we left J and A to finish the loop, we were able to trot a lot of the uphill, but the steep down on the back side of the peak kept us at a walk for almost two miles. With the exception of two riders we had passed earlier (taking a break after a very steep uphill) there were no other riders on the trail, which was really good as we were making our way down a trail that had been designed and created for mountain bikers to take at speed. 

The trail dumped out at the top of the climb on the Colorado Trail we did last year and then headed down to the Little Scraggy trailhead. Both horses were moving at speed (Ashke can maintain a nine mile an hour trot, even if I can't) combining trot and canter with brief walk breaks where he wanted. I let him move at his own pace, which was mostly trot and canter. 

The shoes were a huge difference in how we traveled this terrain this time. So very different from our last ride at Buffalo Creek and he was able to travel at speed over all of the terrain. We ended up making the nine miles in the same amount of time that J and A made their five miles back, and we ended up at the trailer within fifteen minutes of each other. 

It was an incredible ride and wonderful weather. It will be a good trail to try again next year. It is also the last trail ride we will be able to do for three weeks. Mom will be visiting and there are Bronco games to be watched.


  1. First - I love the new blog backdrop!!
    Second - the area is so pretty out there. I'm so happy for you two that the shoes are working out so well. Ashke looks great.