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Headwaters of the Rogue 75

This was certainly one of the most beautiful rides I've ever been to.  The 
trail was absolutely gorgeous, it was a very nice challenging ride.  Held 
in the Northwest, the Headwaters ride is in a huge forest near Crater Lake, 
Oregon.  I entered the 75 miler was a long way to go 
for just a 50 (10 1/2 hours due to road construction).  And also cuz Weaver 
was at 2930 miles and this would be just perfect to get him to 3000 :).

It was a long drive up there.  I had pre-loaded Weaver with electrolytes so 
that he'd stay well hydrated for the long trip, anticipating high temps on 
the trip up.  We encountered quite a lot of smoke from all of the fires in 
Northern California.  We arrived in camp in the late afternoon.  Sharon 
Westergard has saved us a spot, (thanx Sharon!!) which worked out perfect 
because I would have had no clue where to park.  What a beautiful a lovely meadow with huge towering pines bordering.  There 
were water troughs everywhere, and lush green grass.  The horse was 
definitely happy here.  I don't think he stopped eating from the time he 
set foot in Oregon until we loaded him up to leave!   This was the first 
ride where he was on his new trailer-tie and not in corral panels.  He 
seemed to do just fine and was a happy camper :).  Everybody in Oregon is 
so nice too, Sharon even arranged for everybody to bring potluck so we got 
to have dinner with her family and Robbi Pruitt's family.  Thanks you guys!

The ride meeting started quite late and about the time they were getting to 
the important information, it started pouring rain.  I had to run back to 
the trailer and put my tack away so I missed out on anything that might 
have been important.  :-)  I figured I'd muddle my way thru.  I at least 
knew what color ribbons to follow.

We started at 6 a.m.  The first loop was 25 miles with a vet check (no 
hold) at 14 miles.  We had a bridge to go over then mostly level trail for 
the first couple of miles, then we crossed over the highway and got into 
switchback trails that wound up and down thru the forest.  Before long we 
were crossing creeks, mud bogs, and going over wooden bridges.  It was a 
delightful trail with lots of beautiful scenery to enjoy.  Cruised into the 
14 mile vet check and went right in at 60.  I wasn't riding with a HRM and 
wasn't sure if Weaver would be down because it was so humid and we'd been 
doing some pretty good climbing.  But he was, I needn't have worried.  He 
was drinking, eating and peeing so knew we'd be fine.  Off to a good start 
so far!  Weaver had to trot twice (picked on for paddling), was munching on 
a carrot and still has his CRI drop substantially :).  So off we 
went.....11 more miles back to camp.  We rode thru more meadows and creek 
crossings and did more climbing.  Lots of up and downhill on narrow trails 
thru really thick forest.  We would be doing this same 25 miles as the last 
25 of our 75 miler.

Made it into camp.  Took us about 4 hours to do the first 25 miles.  Got 
P&R'd (48, guess I should stop worrying about the humidity killing my 
horse), vetted thru just fine and had a 45 minute hold.  Weaver still 
continued eating like a huge Hoover, and was peeing everytime we took a 
break.  I think pre-loading him with electrolytes caused him to become a 
big thousand pound sponge, cuz this horse peed 9 times on this ride (that I 
know of!).  I think all the green grass helped, along with the creeks.  I 
pulled his tack at this check and the next one.  I'm just used to doing 
that but in that region you don't have to, not even for the finish check 
(learn something new every day).

Next loop was 17 miles. Nice loop, similar to the first but with more drop 
offs and a little bit of gravel.  Less creek crossings but they had water 
troughs out for us.  Ran on the road downhill with the horse then got back 
on.  Everything going well.  At least one creek where we got off and 
sponged.  Back to camp.....this was either 1/2 hour or 45 minute hold and 
another vet check.  Still looking good.  Back out for an 8 mile loop, 
probably the easier of the whole ride.  Only took a little over an hour to 
do.  Back to camp for another hold, 45 minutes or 1/2 hour (we had two 
45's, one 30 and 1 15 all together of hold times, plus 1 stop and go vet 
check) and vet check.  Had gone 50 miles.  Sponged Weaver down and left him 
to sit so when I went to leave the vet stopped us and had us walk for 5 
minutes and he (horse) was fine (had one leg get a little stiff--duh).  Had 
been riding with another rider and I told her to go ahead we'd either catch 
up or we wouldn't.  Left the vet check, the horse still felt great and now 
we were going back onto the loop we had done earlier in the day.  I was 
hoping to make it into the last vet check (14 more miles) before dark.  Had 
to chase a few cows off of our trail this time.  We rode thru snow at the 
top, they sure had a lot for there to be so much left this late in the 
year.  Caught up with the other rider and we rode together into the last 
vet check.  Vetted thru just perfectly, P&R'd right away.  The horse was 
inhaling food and I tried keeping him moving since it was getting 
cool.  Left the check just after 8 p.m.  The vet was nice enough to lend 
his flashlight to the other rider.

We had another 20 minutes or so before it started to get really dark.  Made 
it across a couple of spots where we were thankful we weren't doing it in 
the dark (whew).  It was hard to stop and let the horses eat because at 
this time of night the mosquitos were out.  So they had to snatch bites 
quickly and then continue on.  As it began to get darker and darker I 
wondered how much farther till we start seeing glo 
bars.  LOL.....uh......nope, no glo bars.  Those are for spoiled endurance 
riders in the West region <bg>.  How about lime then?  Nope, only for 
spoiled riders.  Moon?  yeah that's it.  There's a moon.  Only it wasn't up 
yet, and it wouldn't have mattered in this super dense forest anyway.  We 
slowed to a walk and kept trying to find ribbons and every so often making 
sure we could still see footprints (with the flashlight).  A few times we'd 
look, and <gasp>...there'd be no footprints.  It's sure easy to get lost 
and confused in the woods when it's so dark.  I'd shut my eyes and open 
them, but see no difference.  It was like a ride at Disneyland.  I was so 
thankful for the trust I have in my horse to get me thru this.  He managed 
to keep us on the trail without slipping off, and gingerly went thru the 
mud bogs and creek crossings....didn't even spook when something went 
crashing thru the woods (hopefully deer).  We kept imagining we were coming 
to the river crossing, but as if somebody was playing a cruel trick on us, 
at this now much slower pace the time it took to get to the river crossing 
seemed to be taking an eternity.  Finally, we found it, made the turn and 
made it across.  Now we had some idea of where we were.  Kept going at a 
walk though, figuring that going slow was the best game plan over getting 
lost out there.  We had a real hard time with some of the turns, sometimes 
went ages before finding a ribbon in the dark.  We began to realize that we 
really needed to pick up the pace or we wouldn't make the cutoff time.  We 
only had 18 hours and at this point had been out there for 16 or so 
already!  So we'd trot a little bit at a time.  That was kinda fun, since 
the horses can obviously see better than us we'd be going along and 
whooooosh...the horse just disappears out from under you on a big dip or 
downhill.  When weeeeee.....90 degree turn to the right.  Then left.  I 
remember the sound of hooves going over wood once or twice. Must have been 
a bridge.  hehe.  I had stretched out my feet and hit a branch with my 
stirrup, nearly breaking my knee off......I thought of Lucy......yeow!

We started to see glimpses of light thru the trees as the moon rose.  We 
finally popped out of this section of trail and were right at the highway 
crossing.  Yeah!  Only a couple more miles back into camp and we had enough 
time to make it.  (took us 3 hours to do the last 11 miles)  The last part 
was windy and thru a forest too, but not as thick and wasn't all up and 
down so we moved out most of the rest of the way in.  Passed the final vet 
check - let me keep my vet card.  :)  Got a blanket on 
Weaver and stuck him in front of his food and he was happy.

The next morning they fixed breakfast and had the awards for the entire 
ride.  The breakfast was excellent.  Fresh off the grill pancakes and eggs, 
fruit, juice, etc.    It had been a fairly large ride including all three 
distances - 25/50/75, over 100 horse total (not sure how many in each 
distance).  I know that there were 15 starters in the 75 and 12 
finished.  Marie and I finished 9th and 10th.  It was mostly all 
experienced riders from what I could tell (in the 75).  Completion awards 
were T-shirts, which of course by the time they got to the 75 awards they 
only had XL's left.  I have so many XL t-shirts I may have to start riding 
the shorter distances just so I can get something that'll fit 
me.<hehe>  They gave us a spray bottle since we came so far, and a cotton 
lead rope for top tenning.  So it was a very nice ride all in all, 
beautiful trail.  Though if you want to do the 75, I recommend you bring a 
flashlight!!! haha

Happy Trails,

in NV
& Dream Weaver, 3005 miles :))))

P.S.  I took lots of pics of the trail with the digital camera if anybody 
wants to see how gorgeous it was!

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