At last--the final leg of our southern California section! After this, I will head north to begin tackling the snow (or rather, trying to avoid it . . . )
I had a lot of preparation to do before I could head out for this last bit of riding, from Walker Pass to Kennedy Meadows, since if all goes well I won't be back home again for probably four months. It has been difficult to ride in fits and starts here, dashing out for a few days at a time in order to still fulfill some other work and life obligations, but now the full-time trail work begins, and that meant I had a lot of planning ahead. I had to organize supplies and divide them between our two trucks and trailers, one of which I am taking north with me now, and the other of which my mother will drive up to leave with me in about a week. I had to calculate how many dehydrated meals I would need and load the truck beds with Haystack Natural pellets, alfalfa and grass hay, as well as hydration bales and supplements. I made a vet kit for each trailer and brought buckets and water containers and blankets and extra girths and reins and saddle pads. I divided up the borium tipped shoes and borium headed nails that I'm bringing for when the horses need shoeing (because most farriers don't have those supplies on hand). I packed clothes for me and laundry soap and toiletries (for when I can find a shower and a laundromat!). I tried to think of everything that I might need over the next several months, and every time I thought I had my list complete, I thought of something else. I've been planning obsessively for what feels like forever, and yet when it comes down to the eve of departure, it feels as if I still haven't planned enough, and I'm sure I'm forgetting something!
It was late on Friday, May 27th, when I finally hit the road with both horses in the trailer behind my Dodge truck and drove to Walker Pass, where I camped overnight (my apologies to all the hikers who I disturbed when I rolled in close to midnight!). The next morning the horses and I began the hot climb out of Walker Pass and made our way to Chimney Creek campground, where we planned to spend the night.
Along the way, I saw what is likely to be the last horned lizard of the trip, perched on a rock beside the trail . . .