Tuesday, September 11, 2018

2018 Grand Canyon II

The Grand Canyon ride this year has been split into two, 3 day pioneer rides. In the past, it was a single, 5 day pioneer ride. The grand experiment for the 2018 season by XP Rides has been to turn all previous 5 day rides into two 3 day rides with a rest day in between. So far, I’m liking it.

On the rest day, Wednesday, I headed into the Grand Canyon North Rim National Park. Entry was $35, but with access to the internet at the Lodge, an excellent restaurant with a view over the rim *and* offering gluten free pancakes on the breakfast menu, plus a place to shower and do laundry, it was well worth it.

North Rim from the lodge
After I’d gotten my shower and done my laundry, I got ice and coffee and headed back to camp. When I went to put the ice and coffee in the camper, I discovered I couldn’t get the door open. I decided it was something I should deal with in camp, so headed back.

Once back at camp, I tried again to open the camper and was utterly unsuccessful. Using the key made no difference, either. Thinking I might have better luck from the inside, I got the step ladder out of the trailer and crawled in through the camper window.

It turned out being inside just meant I couldn’t get out rather than not being able to get in.

I tried removing the door knob, as the problem was clearly the latch not moving. This did not make things better and I had to call out for help.

Rebecca Florio helped me with the doorknob, putting the piece I’d knocked out back in place. Despite some effort, it made no difference and I was still stuck. She went off to find more help, coming back with some tools from Steve Bradley. After we’d worked at it awhile without success, Rebecca headed off to see if she could find Tom. In the meantime, Steve headed over with yet more tools and with a good deal of prying and cursing, we were able to get the latch out of the door frame. 

Now I had an open door. Fortunately we did not ruin it in the process. I was able to put the door handle (sans latching mechanism) back in the door and use the dead bolt to latch it.

DC had another catch rider for day 4, so I took her and Hoss to vet in for the next day. Hoss would be going on another fun ride. He was starting to look quite good. Still, I wanted to be gentle with him and me both so opted for the easy thing.

I talked about ride strategy with the new catch rider and sent them off in the morning. It turned out DC went quite a lot faster in the first half of the ride than she had any right to, and the rider allowed this. At 10 minutes in the vet check, her heart rate was still high, although once it started to drop she recovered quickly. They took the second half a little slower, losing yet another boot (5 glue on boots lost in 3 days of LDs, that’s gotta be some kind of record) and having to stop to put on a replacement. 
They finished in 5th place. It was clear DC had gone more quickly than she should have. She still had a higher-than-usual heart rate a few hours later, so we opted to take the 5th day off.

As for Hoss and me, we headed out the other way toward the East Rim. We had a lovely little ride, ultimately going 17 miles and using one of the nifty features of my GPS, which allows me to pick a waypoint and have it point me in that direction. We’d made a difficult climb up a hill and I wasn’t a fan of the idea of going back down it, so we headed along until we came to a road. I knew there was a road to the East Rim, so I knew we had something we could follow back to camp. Once we hit the road, I found a waypoint near camp and asked the GPS to get us there. It was a beautiful ride, though abrasive. By the time we got back to camp his hind shoes were nearly worn through.

The long road back to camp!
I decided to ride DC myself the last day. When I took her to vet in, the vet pulled me aside to talk about what had happened with the catch rider. It turned out I didn’t quite get the whole story. DC had come into the vet check in a full body sweat and shaking. The vet told the rider it was probably adrenaline and they needed to slow way down. Unfortunately slowing down as the vet intended did not happen, as shown by the 5th place finish.

Now, I do have to take some responsibility for my horse getting overridden. When we’d talked about ride strategy, I had said the rider would need to hold DC back. What I did not make clear was I meant that as an instruction, not advice. I’ll take my lumps for being unclear in my instructions. I had spent Friday quite concerned about DC. giving her electrolytes and food to get her back into riding shape. She was clearly much more tired than she should have been for going 35 miles.

We had a good ride on Day 6. DC was quiet chargy, having been allowed to set her own pace a couple of days earlier. It took some doing on my part to hold her back and keep her together. She developed a girth gall on one side. I was able to move the girth off of it by tightening the rear billets on her saddle more than the front ones.

East Rim
It was a long go to the vet check, solidly 19 miles, but we rode along the east rim of the Grand Canyon. I got a few pictures, when I could get a hand off the reins to take them.

At the vet check, I got off and walked in and realized DC had lost her right hind boot. Again. She was still wearing the Glove on her left front. After a bit, I realized the boot on her right front was mostly gone. The sole and rear of the boot had come off. Now she was missing two boots.

If losing 5 boots in 3 rides wasn’t a record, 7 in 4 has to be.

The remaining miles back to camp were primarily on gravel roads. Oh, boy. DC was not happy about walking. Mostly, she jigged. All the way back to camp. I was so beat up I couldn’t walk her in. Fortunately she managed to pull off a halfway decent trot out at camp and got a completion.
On Saturday, I headed back in to the North Rim to do my laundry, get a shower, and have a nice breakfast. It was simply gorgeous staring out the picture windows into the canyon.

North Rim
When I got back to camp, I packed up, hooked up, and we started on the way home, stopping in Las Vegas for dinner with my daughter and son in law.

North Rim Lodge, from the Rim
I have to say, the double pioneer thing works very well. It seemed like there was a good turn out for
all six days, and it made for a nice breather to have a day off. I do hope the format continues.

1 comment:

  1. Now I’m sorry I balked at that $35 fee for driving on into the North Rim...
    But I was extremely proud of Scarlotta for knocking out 3 d in a row w/no issues outside of a chafe mark at the R edge of new Skito pad, gotta figure that out?
    There’s also only one of my friends whom I trust to set loose w/B-boy; all other catch riders are stuck tagging along w/me :-)

    (iPad is being weird but this is Val Jaffe)