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These Old Trails || Trails A Fire || Sweat || 2011 Fire Mountain

32nd Annual Fire Mountain Endurance & Introductory Ride

January 22, 2011
Sponsored By Valley Riders, Ridgecrest, California
AERC Sanctioned 30/50 mile rides.

The Trail: Riders will travel on trails and dirt roads in the foothills of Rademacher Mountains southeast of Ridgecrest with all loops starting and ending at base camp.

Fire Mountain Trails

Vet In Day

Gallery I

Gallery II

2011 Fire Mountain

Tuesday January 25 2011

If you want to feel a little like a wimp, ride for 50 miles beside a guy in shorts and tank top when you've got 4 layers on and your hands are numb. However, he will wear extra clothing once in a while: "I'm getting older and sometimes get cold at rides so I have to wear gloves." Once in a while he might wear a sweatshirt, and there is one photo known to exist of him wearing actual jeans on a horse, though none of us have ever seen this extraoardinary phenomenon in person.

If you want to feel humbled, ride 50 miles beside one who has ridden 50,000 AERC miles. (He's second on the high mileage list.)

Riding with Hall of Fame endurance rider Dave Rabe is a bit humbling, but it's also enjoyable. It's also nice to watch his handsome white gelding move down the trail. Dave and 10-year-old White Cloud have racked up over 4500 miles together, in just 3 seasons of endurance riding. "He's a nice horse. He's been very sound."

But it wasn't always easy riding White Cloud...



Wednesday January 19 2011

If you want a good workout in the Ridgecrest desert for your endurance horses, you haul to Brady's. The trails are no-nonsense, as they go right up and into the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas.

If you do the short loop, your horse has a mile-long climb up to the water pipeline road (water for Los Angeles that comes from Owens Valley), which gets steeper toward the end. He gets a little breather before he has another mile-long hard climb up, before descending back to the valley. (If you do the long version, he has the mile climb, then a couple of miles of flat road, then a 1 1/2 mile very steep climb up before descending a steep trail down to this second mile-long climb.) We did the short loop today.

The views of the Ridgecrest basin get broader as you climb, and the views of the Sierras grow even as you ascend towards them....


Trails A Fire

Monday January 17 2011

Today Gretchen and I rode her two horses on one of the loops of next weekend's Fire Mountain endurance ride.

The 50 and 30 mile rides will loop up above Ridgecrest California into the Rademacher Hills, with views of the Sierra Nevada mountains to the west, the Argus range to the northeast, and the Panamint Mountains of Death Valley to the east.

I'll name the 14-mile loop that we did the "Pontiac Loop" because we passed an old rusted Pontiac (or something of the sort - I don't have an eye for cars), or should I say, Kav didn't want to pass the old rusted Pontiac beside the trail. It was even scarier than that killer jackrabbit that attacked us...


These Old Trails

Sunday January 16 2011

The skies glow as evening comes to the Mojave Desert of Ridgecrest, California.

The snow geese hit the skies by the hundreds, honking and squawking, flying in Vs to find the best spots in the desert to sleep, after dining on the grass that's sprung up from the winter rains.

As morning light reaches the snow on the Sierra Nevada peaks, we haul out to the Garlock road and get dropped off, and ride up and over Laurel Mountain (with the big golf ball radar station on top), 15 miles back home...