Thursday, July 29, 2010

On the road to Durango

Hi and thanks for checking in. I am currently in Pagosa Springs, fresh out of the Maroon Bells Wilderness. My friend Patty and I rode the trail from Gothic, a little town north of th lovely village of Crested Butte. We packed our gear on Magic, the 9 year old gelding, and spent the first night at Copper Lake. It's a good thing we were fresh for the trip over Triangle pass.

The word "scree" has new meaning for me now. It's no surprise that scream starts with the same sound. Patty was first to get off and lead Maggie. It was scary hearing the sound of the scree falling down the mountain under the horse hooves. The view however was spectacular, and then we were treated to a fabulous wildflower display as we made our way into Conundrum basin and to the Hot Springs. Our camp spot was perfect with sweet pasture for the horses and trees to shelter us from the sun and rain. We had plenty of both.

We rode out after three nights and four days of camping. The way back was still scary but the horses did amazingly well! The eponashoes give amazing grip on all surfaces, and the scree field was accomplished without problems of any kind.

We got a hotel room in Gunnison, cause Patty was craving a hot shower. Turns out the Hells Angels had chosen Gunnison as the rendezvous spot on the way to Sturgis. While they were quite intimidating in their "colors" and with the noisy Harleys, we heard rom the locals that they were only polite, considerate, and generous. We had to park on the stret because there were so many Harleys in the parking lot, but in the end, we slept well and were only awakened a couple of times by bikes coming in. The horses spent he nIght at he fairgrounds. What a wonderful thing that is! So much more comfortable than standing in the trailer all night.

I'm almost out of battery, so will close for now. Tomorrow we head to Durango, where I will prepare to ride the Colorado Trail almost 500 miles to Denver.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A better way to follow a blog....

Greetings to you on my last day at work. Well, at least for awhile. I plan to work a few shifts between burning man and the telluride blues fest in September, but I also plan to give public talks to schools and so forth so I won't have much time for work.

My good friend and work mate Jessica Apostle (super nurse) showed me a way for you to get notifications automatic thru Google. Here's how:

on the google toolbar, select "more". From the top right, select "reader", and then click on "create account". Then click on "add subscription" and type in my blog address, which is :

you can follow multiple blogs this way, and then you will be notified whenever there is a new post! You will need a gmail free account to do this I think.

Alright! Couple hours to go, and then I'm off on my trip to conundrum!

Hasta la vista baby!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Last days of work

I worked in the ER today, and will work my last shift until September tomorrow. When I'm done, I drive back to my niece Kelly's place and then gear up for Conundrum Hot springs in the Maroon Bells Wilderness outside Aspen Colorado.

After we soak our tired selves for a few days, Patty will drop me off at the Colorado Trail trailhead in Durango and I will ride for a month to see how far I can get. At the end of a month, I head to the "burning Man" in the Nevada desert. I will be working as a greeter. If you're planning to be there - come and say hi!

Ok. Time to sleep. 5 am comes early!

Stay tuned for reports from conundrum and the Colorado trail....

Monday, July 19, 2010

Another day with Horse's feet then back to the Fort

I spent another day working with the horses feet.  Got Midnight trimmed, and discovered that his hooves have changed in size from the last time I shod him.  We're transitioning to the Eponashoes and this time his feet are a little different.  So I'll be making another trip back to the farrier supply to trade in the shoes I have for a slightly wider size.

Magic was missing a shoe, so I replaced that one - his shoes should be good for another couple of weeks I hope.  

After completing all of that and rearranging some gear, it was time to head for Fort Collins again.  I signed up to work a 6 hour shift in the ER at the McKee Medical Center in Loveland.  I'll be working a few shifts as a per diem employee here and there this summer before I leave in October.  Here's a photo of me heading north out of Denver.

I arrived at my good friend Carolina's house about 10 last night.  This morning, Wiley enjoyed a little sunshine by the lake in her backyard.  Lot's to do here to gear up for my trip  to Conundrum Hot Springs in the Maroon Bells Wilderness.
Here's Wiley in Carolina's backyard.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Horseshoing Day

Dr. Ashleigh Olds, Awesome Equine Vet

Today was spent preparing the horses for travel.  New Eponashoes and a visit to the vet.    The morning started with a trip to the Large Animal Vet, Dr. Ashleigh Olds, at her clinic in Conifer.  All three horses received Coggins tests, rabies shots, and a friendly exam. 

Maggie had her sharp teeth filed (floated) on the cheek side so she can eat better.  I learned that an electric disc is more efficient and effective than the old method of using a rasp.  I got to see inside her mouth with a light while she was sedated and opened with that crazy looking device that covers the front teeth and cranks her jaw open.  Wow - I had no idea.  That's a lot of teeth!  Anyhow, it was a very informative experience and we completed our first Vet visit "on the road".  Thanks to Dr. Olds for getting us in to the clinic with only one day notice!

When I got back to Kelly's, it was time to get started on Maggie's shoes.  4 hours later, after a lot of sweat, blood, and swearing (sorry but it's true), Maggie has a new set of Eponashoes.  These polycarbonate horse shoes are made by Monique and John of Paso Robles, CA.  They have engineered an amazing athletic shoe for horses, and I'm so thankful to have them as a sponsor of my ride.  Today, I could actually feel the new shoes while riding!  Maggie has a spring in her step, and we can gallop over gravel without problems.  Check out their website if you have an interest in these shoes.  I plan to write frequently about their performance on the road.  So far, they are the best shoes I've ever had on my horses, but my farrier skills are still under development.  I have a lot to learn - but my darling Maggie stood there for four hours without complaint.  Hopefully this will get easier as I get more practice.

Ouch.  My back!  Ouch.  My finger!

          Shoeing horses is the thirstiest work I've ever done!

I used a hoof jack device for the first time today.  See the blood?  Next photo - the new shoes. 

Once the shoes were on, Kelly and I rode 6 miles or so into town to share a dinner at the local tavern.  The photo on the left is Kelly on her sweet horse "Buttercup". 

About 3/4 of the way there, I realized that the $100 bill that was in my pocket, wrapped around my debit card, was no longer there.  ARRRRGH!  I rode back the six miles at a gallop.  Maggie was happy to head home.  She bulleted so fast, I had to slow her down at one point.  I was keeping an eye out for the bill, but no luck.  Until I got back to Kelly's and found it laying next to the road, in the ditch grass.  I couldn't believe it!  No debit card anywhere though, but that's an easier fix than losing the $$$.

I drove to the tavern, ordered a saphire gin martini, (up dry with 3 olives please), and guess what? It was "STEAK NIGHT". Kelly and I both enjoyed a fine meal, and headed home, happy with the outcome.

                 (Photos below are Buttercup, after her bath this morning and Maggie, ready to go).

Now it's time to hit the sack.  Tomorrow, it's Midnight's turn for new shoes, and I'm going to need a good night's rest!  Maybe I can cut the time to 3 hours???

Friday, July 16, 2010

First update "On the Road"

Whew.  It's been a whirlwind these past 6 weeks!  I worked my last shift as a trauma nurse after 36 years in the nursing profession on June 28.  While finishing that up, I moved all my possessions out of the Estes Park cabin into my girlfriend's garage.  Two garage sales and a shipment to the second hand store later, I now can fit all my possessions into my truck and horse trailer, including my three horses and Wiley (of course). 

I pulled out of Fort Collins yesterday, feeling excited and free.

I'm currently visiting my neice, Kelly, at her home in Indian Hills, Colorado.  A few days here, a quick trip back to Fort Collins on Tuesday, and then let the travels begin!

Here are my plans for the immediate future:

1).  July 20, depart for Aspen, CO to the Maroon Bells Wilderness area.  A couple of friends will ride with me to "Conundrum" a hot springs above treeline.  9 miles in, two or three nights soaking in the mountaintop pools, and 9 miles out.

2).  Drive with Patty, my buddy, to Pagosa Springs.  More Hot Springs seeking - plan to check out Rainbow Hot Springs.  Also the home of Pat Parelli, horse trainer extraordinaire.

3).  August 1, arrive at the trailhead for the Colorado Trail, and spend the month riding 500 miles from Durango to Denver.  By myself this time, for the first time keeping a long distance pace of 25 miles a day, 125 miles/week, 500 per month.  I will be testing gear, trying to work the blog, and updating my website - hopefully!  I'll be crossing several high mountain ranges on this trip, so it might take a little longer - I'm allowing an extra two weeks because I don't want to rush.

4).  September 17, allow the horses to rest on pasture while I attend the Telluride Blues and Brews festival with friends from work.

5). September/October, public speaking to schools and community groups, prepare for departure date.

6). 10/10/10 - Host a departure/fundraiser (place to be determined, but I'm hoping for CSU Equine Picket Center).  Ride away on the adventure of a lifetime!  Anyone who would like to see me off on horseback is welcome to ride along as far as you like.

For now, it's a great feeling to be free and on the road.  Horses are fit and ready for travel.  Well, almost.  It's time again to trim and shoe with the special Eponashoes.  A polycarbonate shoe that I first put on about 8 weeks ago.  They have worked out so well so far!  Great traction - like putting Nike's on my horses' feet!  I love these shoes!  More on this topic later.

So join the fun and come along!  I'm so happy to have you "out there" so please send your comments, questions, suggestions, etc.  I love hearing from you!

Trish Wild
The Equine Nomad