|Good thing we left our skis at home!|
|Rhio says, "Really, Mom, you want to ride in this weather? Shouldn't we just stand here in the shade and eat hay?"|
|The tip of the trail, near the ford|
Given the other trail users, we kept our speed to a slow trot and just enjoyed our surroundings. The boys were eager despite the heat, and once Rhio figured out that the noise was rushing water (we couldn't really see the creek at the beginning), he was constantly asking for more speed, ears pricked ahead to see what was around the next bend. We stopped for a cooling drink at the ford used by a local riding stable, and got back to the trailer feeling great and ready for more!
|Standing on the bank of Amity Creek|
|Heading back to the trail-side of Amity Creek|
We had about 1/4 mile of paved road to travel to get to the lower trails, and being out in the full sun with the heat radiating up from the pavement was a whole 'nother world! It would have been an extremely unpleasant ride in the sun, but was a magnificent ride in the shade.
There was a lot of water damage to some of the trails from our recent torrential rains, with deep fissures in the red clay which Paco was pretty wary of but Rhio barely seemed to notice (so much that I was worried he might step in one!), as well as multiple areas where the vegetation was swept all in one direction, showing how much water had flowed overland to get to the creek and river. We crossed a metal snowmobile bridge, which was covered almost completely in run-off clay and made hardly any clanging noise because of it, and were off for another 5 miles of hill work.
We did a lot of walking the whole ride, with our overall average speed a mere 3.8 mph. But, with the weather conditions and the hills, the boys were both panting when we finished our total of 9 miles, and had begun stopping at every mud puddle for a sip or three.
|Does it taste like chocolate milk, too - or just look like it?|
I was very pleased with Rhio's loading on this trip, since it's been a few months since we've gone anywhere. He walked on each time, calmly, instead of his customary leap into the trailer. It still was not a shining example of trailer loading (like Paco), but his hesitation was probably only for 2 minutes each time. I hope this was a sign of permanent improvement!
Looking ahead to a 50 miler in two weeks (fingers crossed that the logistics all work out to get there), I need a few more good rides on Rhio to feel confident for that competition. After Friday's heat, humidity, and hills, he got Saturday off, and Sunday we went for speed work. We did half the distance at more than double the pace, 4 miles at 8.2 mph - whee! He feels great, now if only the last of his scratches will clear up and his leg will quit swelling up at every little thing...
|The boys rubbing each other's heads after sponging.|