The trail beckons!
Less than two weeks to go before we hit the trail... but the preparations never stop! We just returned from a two-day drive across the state and back to drop off all our horse feed. Nevada State Parks generously offered to store our feed at the parks along our route so we visited Fort Churchill, Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park, and Ward Charcoal Ovens. All the rangers were very enthusiastic about the ride and we look forward to riding through soon!
After the feed was delivered we went off-road to scout some final sections of our route. Starting at the Ward Charcoal Ovens, we went up and over the Egan Range, White Pine Range, and Pancake Range, and all the valleys between them. Seeing our trail made me even more excited to get back out there on horseback. It is truly as back country as you can get. We saw only a few antelope, but a ton of wild horses! They were really, really wild -- not like our neighborhood horses in South Reno. These horses were like ghosts... you'd just see a flash of color on the hillside as they galloped away when they heard the truck. We did manage to see a few up close including a couple babies. One brave stallion defied the truck and stood us down until his herd was safely away. Ironically, of all the trail dangers it's the wild horses that scare me the most. They can be notoriously territorial and won't take kindly to Sage and I crossing through their land. We have been charged by a wild stallion once before on the trail and it is not something I look forward to happening again. Must be brave though!
We learned a lot scouting the trails though. We found some great camping spots and made note of where watering holes and springs are (and are not). We also found spots where we'll have phone/internet service so I will be able to update you from the trail. And in the tiny town of Preston, Nevada we found a kindly rancher who instantly agreed to put Sage up for the night in his corral so that I can go to the local motel and take a shower. It's nice to know that there are still people out there willing to help their fellow man -- we just have to ask for help!
It struck me as we were driving home that in some ways we are reinventing the wheel. Prior to the automobile, people spent years creating horse and wagon trails across this treacherous terrain of Nevada. It involved scouting and researching routes and watering holes, clearing trails, and creating infrastructure to support travelers. After all that work, it just disappeared... and here were are starting all over with those things so that we can ride across the state! I really hope that this trail we have rediscovered becomes THE equestrian route across the state. I hope that we inspire a new breed of back country riders who want to get off the beaten path and see a whole different side Nevada!
The latest updates from Samantha on the Nevada Discovery Ride.