ridecamp@endurance.net: Re: Night Riding

Re: Night Riding

Susan Evans Garlinghouse (suendavid@worldnet.att.net)
Tue, 23 Sep 1997 18:45:57 -0700

Also, any
> shared night experiences would be welcomed.


Well, trust me to have some dumb story for all occasions, even including
night riding. The only time I did a ride at night was the '93 Western
States 50, where they started you at 1 p.m. to do the last 50 miles of
Tevis about the same general time of day (and night) that you
theoretically would be doing it a month later at Tevis.

I rode most of that day with Jeff Wall and Rushcreek Rawhide, he was
getting ready for the North Am. Championships and I was getting ready
for Tevis. We both wanted to do as much night riding as possible, so we
squirreled around all afternoon long, taking 45 minutes at 15 minute
holds, meandering along, etc., which not only used up alot of daylight
but also totally baffled both Rawhide and Cato as to just what the heck
we two yahoos were doing messing about like that. Around sunset, both
horses finally were totally fed up with our wasting time and took
matters into their own hands and went roaring off down the trail like
scalded cats. Big fun.

Going down through the California Loop at night, even though there was a
full moon, you were riding underneath deep shade from the trees and
without light, you couldn't see your hand in front of your face.
Neither of us were riding with flashlights or glowsticks or anything
else, but the horses really moved along at a big trot (asking for
canter, please) and neither ever put a single foot wrong.

Anyway, the last few miles of the WS 50 was along an old quarry road
alongside the American River, where alot of whitewater river rafting
trips were going on that weekend. The rafters camped at night alongside
the river and apparently two of these happy adventurers felt the urge
for a little more privacy and one-on-one camaraderie and so carried
their sleeping bags up behind the camp where, lo and behold, there was
this lovely flat bit of trail where of course, no one would bother them
out here in the middle of nowhere, right?

Hee hee. Wrong. By this time, Jeff and I and about a dozen other
riders all came roaring down out of the California Loop. All the horses
were feeling really good, so we were letting them loose, running along
baying like a bunch of congenital idiots at the full moon. Jeff was in
the lead and all of a sudden, Rawhide gives an almighty spook, leaps
something dead smack in the middle of the trail and keeps scampering
on. Jeff, being a gentlemanly sort and never at a loss for words, turns
in the saddle and shrieks back, "YO! BOINKERS AHOY!!!". Well, you'd
warn other riders of a hole in the trail, wouldn't you? I was fifty
yards behind him and sure enough, there the two little love birds are,
except pretty much all you could see in the moonlight were giant staring
eyes...well, all right, you could see alot more than eyes, but let's not
get too graphic here. Feel free to refer to imagination and anatomy
books, because it was all on display, though as far as I could tell, not
very productively or impressively at that point. And of course Cato,
who is a little light on Genteel Manners in the Face of Vulgar Public
Display, just HAD to slam on the brakes, snort, stare like he's never
seen such a thing (which he hadn't), prance past with his tail flipped
up over his back, then spin and go scampering off like he thought he was
being chased by the Great White Hiney. Talk about Riding In
Denial---try riding this scampering imbecile and urging him to GO ON
ALREADY while trying to nonchalantly look the other way and pretend
you've noticed nothing, nothing at all, REALLY, and oh, look, isn't that
the Little Dipper? To make things even more difficult, other riders are
also now slamming on the brakes, more horses are piling into them from
behind, lots of swearing, comments on "If THAT's all you've got to
offer, fella...", and a ring of horses all staring, snorting, stretching
out their necks to get a better look and making rude comments to each
other. And one horse who had been apparently waiting for such a break
in the festivities all night long and took the opportunity to stretch
out and have himself a nice comfy splashy pee right next to the sleeping
bags. AND so another rider could whip out her flashlight and turn it on
to check the color and quality. Of the pee, that is. We already knew
of the physiological condition of anyone else of interest <g>.

Nobody got hurt except I believe to the egos of the river-rafters and
eventually we all managed to drag the utterly riveted horses away and on
down the trail to the finish line. Potato of course said that if he'd
known they were gonna be there, he'd of sent someone down to hang a
glowstick off whatever appendage seemed to be the most available.

Happy trails,

Susan and Cato, Who Has Now Seen It All

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