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[RC] Whiskeytown Chaser - part 1 - superpat

Perhaps this year, the ride should have been called Whiskeytown Underwater Scavenger Hunt.
The instructions on the driving directions reminded participants to be certain to stop at park headquarters to secure a parking/camping certificate. The Forest Service Ranger advised that there was a storm warning out and at least 2" of rain was expected with snow forecast as low as 2000 feet. (Kanaka Peak, part of the trail, is at 4000 feet)
At 11 am on Friday the sun was shinning brightly and the skies were blue.
I had ridden this ride for the first time last year and enjoyed it so much that a return engagement was definitely on the calendar. In fact, I anticipated a big attendance and so made special effort to get there early to secure a good parking spot. Imagine my surprise when we approached the campground and saw only a very few trailers where we anticipated bunches.
After securing a great spot and getting the horses settled, we wandered over to the ride manager's area. On the tables were an array of truly nice awards including some exceptional ceramic horse sculptures donated by a local rider. Obviously much effort had been put into securing top notch participation awards. We were informed that there had been at least 15 cancellations just that day because of the dire weather forecast and anticipated bad driving conditions. But everyone was upbeat and slowly, trailers began arriving and things began to look up.
When we rode out to stretch out the horses and check out the first few miles of trail, the weather was delightful, perfect riding weather and we commented that it was hard to believe that heavy rains would dampen the ride.
My riding buddy, Leighsa and I would both be riding "babies" for whom this would be their first endurance ride. Our plan was to ride at a slow but steady pace and concentrate on having a calm start. The goal of rides with them this year will be to develop an expectation of quiet and disciplined rides.
Imagine my surprise and utter embarrassment when I presented Scrimshaw to vet in and she would not let the vet approach her. She whirled and danced and threw her head up and would have no part of him placing a stethoscope on her. This is a horse who six years ago lay in my barn in deep straw while I imprinted her. This is the little mare who was so easy to work with and who has always been a pleasure to be around and ride. Of my four horses, she is the one to follow anyone for a pet or stroke on the nose. She had epileptic episodes during the first three months of her life but luckily outgrew them (after about 15 episodes) just as the vet had predicted. I half expected the vet to throw up his hands and refuse to attempt to vet her in but instead he was patient and kind and continued to work with her to allay her fear of him. After what seemed like a very long time, Scrimshaw allowed the vet to examine her and she trotted out like a champ and we were on for Saturday's ride.
At the ride meeting, we were warned again of expected rain and cold weather and advised to care for our horses accordingly. The final count at that point was 22 starters on the 50 miler and 10 on the 25 miler. Just as the ride meeting concluded, it began to sprinkle. In ten minutes it was a downpour and it rained most of the night. I was thankful that I had found a Rambo waterproof blanket with zip on neck cover at a spring sale just a few weeks ago. I downed a Excedrin PM and settled in for a comfy night.
It was raining as we tacked up and headed out on the trail but we were dressed for wet weather and looked forward to a fun, if wet ride.
(to be continued)