Progress in fits and starts

IMG_0480

Trail clearing has its challenges

I’ve now put about 30 hours of trail work into the Lollipop Loop. That’s what I’m calling the trail that goes from our back pasture, down a southeast draw, up along a modest cliff face, then back along a northeast draw. It’s been a helluva task. My goal was to make it horse-friendly as well as hike-friendly. I finished up with stronger arms and scratches on the face and took Pep to see just how horse-friendly it was. Turns out, not so much. There were passages she slid down (I had to make sure I got out of the way. She may be the little, but she’s still 800 pounds or so.), and others she could not scale. Too steep and sketchy. So, while it will work for a keep-you-honest hike, I will have to blaze a gentler, more gradual route for riding.

IMG_1643A few days ago, while working at the computer, I watched a bobcat meander down the pasture, toward the house. It then nonchalantly nabbed a mole, ate it, and sauntered off. Meanwhile I was hurriedly sequestering the dogs so they wouldn’t see it and flip, grabbing my camera, and trying to capture the scene. Like the one time I saw a bobcat in Utah, I was shaking at the thrill of it.

Not so much of a thrill for the locals, I guess. I chatted with a local contractor who said bobcats have pretty much eliminated all his barn cats. With his two dogs riding shotgun in his idling truck, he said the younger one loved to chase bobcats. Once, the dog treed one in a short cedar. He got swatted with one lil’ cat claw. It left a deep gash above its shoulders. The dog leaves bobcats alone now.

I took another long, exploratory ride further down the neighborhood canyon. I headed uphill a bit, crossing a creek, working through some timber, and ending up on a mesa of sorts. What beautiful country. We moved along for a few miles, taking in wide views in all directions, before returning to the creek and environs. The footing is a pleasant change from the rock, ledge, and scant vegetation of the Oquirrhs – nice-n-sandy here. It was fun following a fresh elk track a mile or so. All told, we covered 11 miles.

IMG_9983