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Saturday May 17 2008 - Countdown to Fandango

The 3-day ride here, the Owyhee Fandango, is one week away.

Trails are getting marked, pens being set up, weeds being pulled, road being dragged, horses are getting ridden, and we are keeping an anxious eye on the weather. Right now, depending on who you talk to it feels: numbingly hot enough for a nap (the horses), Great! (Steph), or stunningly hot enough to crawl in a deep hole lined with ice (me).

If you ride, you want to do it earlier in the morning, finish before 11 AM, or much later in the evening, after 7:30. Jose wasn't too excited about his 9 mile ride with August today. Neither of them were too enthused, so we didn't rush through it, instead doing a little bit of work and a little bit of grazing along the way. May as well take advantage of some of the green grass before it all withers.

Trails are deep and dusty - April was the 2nd driest April on record ("an eighth of a millimeter" of sprinkles), and May, so far, we've had nothing. The few flowers that have struggled out are now strangling with the dryness and the heat. The snakes are coming out, (fortunately haven't seen any rattlesnakes yet), and the birds feeding their young pause to pant in the shade between worm-fetching jaunts. It hit the 90's this afternoon.

Belgian rider Leonard said he wants a warm ride but scenic snow in the mountains. At this rate the snow may be gone by next weekend. Pickett Creek is running a little higher each day - enough to sweep the dogs off their feet if they cross it, and the snow is visibly retreating higher up toward the mountain peaks.

It is supposed to cool down by next Friday, into the low 60's, and depending on who you talk to, it will feel: great! (the horses in the ride), Brrr! (Steph), or just about perfect! (me).

Merri Melde