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Day 8 A day of extremes

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Lowest to Highest  & Hottest to Coldest

We woke up to this view. I love driving in to a hotel at night and seeing how beautiful it’s surrounding area is in the morning.

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Today’s Stats

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At Death Valley we say “The desert is calling and I must go” a refined rewording of the old John Muir quote.

I have to say that is not the way I felt. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.

We drove from Las Vagas to Death Valley National Park and headed straight to the salt flats called Badwater Basin.

Named as such when one of the early frontier explorers noticed their Mule would not drink the water.  Interestingly enough the water is not poisoned just really salty. It is also the lowest point in North America at 282 feet below sea level.

We got out of the truck and at 110 degrees the heat was oppressive.  On top of that it was really windy. So it was like walking into a convection oven with the blower on.  We really only stayed 10 minutes there to get the pictures and get back to the truck, where we left Riley in the AC.

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From there we decided to head to Yosemite but we had to get out of Death Valley first.  It was up and over some mountains and across a dry lake where the sand storm kicked up throwing sand across the road.

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As we were leaving the park we both agreed “been there, done that, don’t need to do it again.”  The desert is so bleak and colorless, definitely not our favorite part of the trip but we are glad we can say we did it.

As we drove down the road out of the desert we could see Mt Whitney in front of us. It is the highest point in California at 14,505 feet and is only 85 miles from the lowest point.

Oh yeah we made it to California!  But there was no sign to welcome us.  As we started our drive north we had never been so excited to see trees.  Big beautiful pine tress that we wanted to get out and hug.

We found out the road to Yosemite National Park was closed and also the next mountain road was closed.  We ended up taking 89 to State Road 4.  It started out beautiful as we slowly wound our way up the side of a mountain.

As we went up we saw snow on the side of the road.  So of course we had to stop and play in the snow in flip flops and shorts.

Then we saw this sign.  However we were already committed at this point and past the point of no return.

IMG_2127This is what Wiki has to say about our route.

The route runs through the 8,050 ft (2,450 m). Pacific Grade Summit on its way up to the 8,730 ft (2,660 m) Ebbetts Pass and ends at State Route 89 ten miles (16 km) west of Topaz Lake, on the California–Nevada border. The portion from Arnold to its terminus is designated the Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway, which is eventually one lane.

Through the mountains, SR 4 is not suitable for large trucks, buses, or RVs, as it becomes very steep and narrow, with no center dividing line shortly after the Mount Reba Turnoff to Bear Valley Ski area, with tight switchbacks. The pass is not plowed for snow, and thus closes during the winter months often from November through as late as May.

So in the black of night we are going through this mountain pass in a vehicle that was way too long and heavy for the road.  It was so windy with hair pin turns and switch backs. At one point the tires spun when we went up hill around a sharp curve.  We had to watch for oncoming cars and there was barely enough room for them to get by.  Needless to say it was about 2 hours of white knuckled, sweaty palms driving.

The snow was piled up 4 feet and the temperature got down to 38 degrees.Travis did an amazing job navigating that road.

It was midnight by the time we got back to civilization and found a hotel with vacancy that took dogs. Phew what a long day!  But we ended up an hour from our final destination so we could sleep in the next day.

 

Getting Down to the Nitty “Gritty”

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The farm has received 8 tri-axle loads of screenings over the past month.

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The grit was used in 2 major projects.  The first one was to provide footing in the shed row.  The horses had been standing in mud for the first half of the summer.  The grit provides now a solid foundation that the water can drain through.

Shed Row

Shed Row

The the most exciting project of all was completed in a day!  7 loads of grit was delivered to the unfinished half of the riding ring.  Then the BF spread it that night.  So in less that 24 hours we had a full riding arena!

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Before

Before

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After

Special Thanks goes out to the BF who makes these things happen!

Apple Jacks new lease on life

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Apple Jacks has been partially leased to one of my lesson students.  She with the help of her family decided to take the first step towards horse ownership by sharing Apple with me.

Partial Leasing

“You may find a horse offered on a partial lease, usually half but sometimes less, and in these cases you get use of the horse for a specified percentage of the week in exchange for half (or less) of the costs of keeping the horse. If you find a suitable horse and come to a verbal understanding with the owner, be sure to get all the details in writing. The Lease Contract should cover the following: length of the lease, terms of payment, terms of use of the horse, insurance, liability, boarding, tack use, showing, treatment of the horse, farrier, vet, and any other personal specifics related to your agreement with the owner.”

I was remembering back to when I got my first horse and brought her home.  Her name was Lilly of the Fields and I was in 7th grade.  I couldn’t even eat dinner that night I was so excited. I just wanted go out and hang out with her.

Congrats to Apple and his new 1/2 owner!

Smile!

Smile!

My first dather daughter lesson

My first father daughter lesson

A walk on the wild side

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Not all the creatures on the farm are tame and domesticated.

Last week a butterfly decided to stop by and say hi while I was helping a student get ready for a lesson.

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Today we were visited by an adolescent squirrel. It thought everyone was it’s mom. A special Thanks goes out to 2 farm family members who brought it to the local wildlife refuge.

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Oh and then there is Forrest the party animal but that is not the type of wild life this post is about. Bad kitty. (and before I receive negative posts. no, I didn’t let him drink it.)

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Save Nash Surgery Fund

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Save Nash Surgery Fund

Nash is a handsome black Tennessee Walking Horse that I rescued in June of 2011. He was at a horse farm in where the farm owner knows the person that trucks horses to Canada for slaughter.  The truck driver stops at her farm and unloads horses he thinks she can re-home.  To prove to her the horses are quality he gets on them bareback when he unloads them.  If she thinks she can find a home for them she puts the horses in her rescue barn.  She has about 10 rescue horses at a time that are kept in standing stalls.  They are tied up and not able to move or turn around.  As a result from standing for so long the horses ankles swell.

This is the conditions Nash was in when I went to look at him.  They said he was the nicest horse they had in the group but knew nothing of his past nor why he was on his way to Canada.  I took a look at his deep brown concerned eyes and fell in love.  I got on him that day to experience for the first time the wonderful gait (running walk) of the Walker.  Here is my blog post from that day.

It was then that I noticed he had a bump on his lower abdomen.  The farm owner played it off as not a big deal.  When he got to my farm the vet checked him out and told me it was a hernia, in a very unusual spot.  Normally they are around the belly button. The vet said to keep an eye on it and if I gets any bigger it will require major surgery.

Well unfortunately almost 2 years later the hernia has grown to the size causing my vet real concern and I have find a way to fund his surgery.  You see Nash was rescued at the small cost of $600 the surgery will cost $5,000.  I do not have the funds for this.

Here is where Nash’s big heart comes in.  He is the biggest lover of all the horses. He comes up to everyone and is so gentle he licks your hand like a dog.  He loves kisses and hugs.  Really everyone who has met in falls in love with him and they have convinced me to raise funds to pay for the surgery.

In times of change…

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Hay days are happening more often.

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This time we had 3 guys and 3 girls helping us. We unloaded and stacked 132 bales of hay in record time. I think it took us like 20 minutes.

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