There comes a point before a long ride when it hits you - "this is really happening!" I've been feeling that for a few weeks now, and it brings with it a mixture of excitement and anxiety. I've experienced it now with both of my long rides. Maybe it's because everything still seems so theoretical until you've displaced all your living room furniture to fill the room with an assortment of riding and camping gear. Because I'm such am obsessive planner, the ride preparations have consumed all my thoughts. I even find myself drifting off to sleep at night musing aloud about whether I should buy one more pair of thermal underwear - and if so, mid-weight or heavy-weight? Poor Ryan!
But here we are 30 days out from the start of our adventure! If I'm being honest with myself, we are very ready and I should just relax. We have all the gear and supplies. We have a good route. We have a good timeline. Sage is in shape. We've got this. This weekend we'll head out to cache 15 bales of hay and 20 bags of hay cubes along the route. After that, all that will be left to do will be to just ride.
I am eternally grateful that my friend and occasional riding companion, Carol Schley, has offered to trailer us out to the start point next month. She will camp with us and see us off first thing in the morning. Back in Reno, she'll also take care of Sebastian, my sweet senior dog who is too frail to accompany us on this journey. Another friend, Paul Boone, will take care of our house during the ride, as well Tomas and Finnegan (our cats). I couldn't do this ride without the help of friends like Carol and Paul, and the myriad of other people who have offered advice, encouragement, and support. Every single person I have asked for help - even people I didn't know well - instantly agreed to assist when I asked. I am so humbled and grateful for that. I might be riding alone, but there's no such thing as a solo ride in the end.
I'm also excited to hit the trail knowing the tides of change are coming in. The Bureau of Land Management recently released their statistics report for 2015 and wild horse and burro adoptions increased 47% from the previous year! In 2014 only 1,788 horses and burros were adopted - a historically low number. In 2015, 2,631 horses and burros found new homes. This is the first increase in the adoption rate after years of steady decline. Very exciting news. There are so many wonderful programs, organizations, and people working to encourage wild horse adoption and it is working!
The latest updates from Samantha on the Nevada Discovery Ride.