Gardening Magazine

Chief Joseph Trail Ride ~ 2013

By Kate_miller

Chief Joseph Trail Ride ~ 2013

Into the wild...

And, we're off! Like a herd of turtles. I guess that sounds silly but moving 180 spotted horses down a path is not so easily done. After Monday morning, we figure out who's fast, who's slow and la dee dah!

Chief Joseph Trail Ride ~ 2013

Yours Truly riding my horse, Sable, with Kirk and Snuffy.

It is a marvelous vacation ~ we anticipate this for 6 solid months. Even though, it is a hard, hard gig. Every moment out there is well worth the effort. It's called the Chief Joseph Trail Ride. It celebrates a defining moment in history. AND it benefits a whole lotta kids who need our help.

Chief Joseph Trail Ride ~ 2013

Janet and Phantom posing in front of the giant buffalo herd.

The only horses allowed on this ride are registered American Appaloosas.*  Huh? The best way to figure that one out is to look for the spots on the horses behind. Appaloosas are known for their delightful spotted coats.
Chief Joseph Trail Ride ~ 2013
Check out the near identical spots on our two black horsies. That black and spotty look is actually quite rare.
This is my 3rd year on the ride. This is also my last year doing it ~ and, so I'm feeling a tad wistful this evening. While it is so much fun ~ it is the most difficult ride I've ever done.
Chief Joseph Trail Ride ~ 2013
Seriously? You don't have a valet to carry this bag?
If you've ever been car camping, then you know that it's amazing how much stuff you have to pack. Imagine that with horses... Like small children, you have to pack everything for them, too.
And, every morning, you pull up stakes and move on to a new place to settle down for a night. We will ride for 20-25 miles on any given day. The horses don't care. They were built for endurance. My butt? Not so much. :)

Chief Joseph Trail Ride ~ 2013

Early morning water crossing.

Half the fun of doing this ride is meeting up with folks you haven't seen since last year. I dearly love this cult world of spotted horse lovers. IF you are a horse person, then you know that we search far and wide for a gentle spirit. That is why I am so enamoured with the spotties.

Chief Joseph Trail Ride ~ 2013

Wild Fireweed

My days in a the saddle deliver some delightful discoveries! In these wild lands, I see wildflowers we only view in books. So rare. It's a huge delight to see them. Hop off the horse. And, photograph these amazing beauties ~ who survive on natural rainwater, alone.

Chief Joseph Trail Ride ~ 2013

Wild Gentian

And, here's a whole bunch more!
Chief Joseph Trail Ride ~ 2013
* It takes 13 years to complete the Chief Joseph Trail Ride, spanning western wilderness from Oregon to 40 miles shy of the Canadian border, where this band of Native Americans was forced to surrender to the US Calvary.
** The Nez Perce Native Americans bred these stunning spotted horses for agility and endurance.
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