Camping in February?

Damp but happy to eat everything in sight!

Between work stress, pregnancy, new horse/truck/trailer excitement and frustrations, the winter blues have been real this year. So when the weather quietly murmured the mere hint of a not freezing, not raining day a week ahead, I reserved an equestrian campsite at Battle Ground State Park and hoped for the best.

Settling in…before the rain appeared

That’s not quite what we got…but this trip was a shakedown of everyone’s new gear, new and/or rehabbed horses, and to scratch the cabin fever itch. Lessons were learned, rain was endured and good food was eaten, and for a last minute tossed together trip in February I count us lucky enough.

I never fail to have extreme trailer envy when I see this beautiful, well thought out, every excellent detail covered Double D…

On the good side, Flash camped pretty much alone for the night and didn’t loose his mind. My friends horses were there, including a member of his old herd, but they were in a separate area and due to the miserable weather we didn’t have them interact much. I remembered his mid-weight blanket so he wasn’t totally soaked and cold overnight, plus his coolers to dry off in the morning, and grabbing a flake of alfalfa was a pony approved choice.

Still don’t know when the “I HAVE MY OWN TRAILER!” excitement will wear off.

I’ve been hammock sleeping the past few years, but with increasing awkwardness around pregnancy and limited space in my trailer, I sprung for the Kingdom Cot 3 from REI and I’m in love! Cyrus and I spent a warm, dry, and comfortable night together while Kade took the hammock. My in-trailer camping set up is pretty spot on, so that was a definite win. I’m still going to figure out a way to enclose the sides with mesh, to keep out bugs and stuff off the roadway while driving.

Cyrus actually slept on the cot with me instead of his dog bed, but nice to know it fits for hotter weather

The only major bummer was the total change in the weather; it was both much colder and much wetter than we’d expected, though that’s the chance you take with camping in February, after all! I also realized I haven’t really done any camp cooking and have been relying on the generosity of friends for…well, years, so clearly there’s still some adjustment to my equipment and skills in that area needed. Sandwiches are fine but a hot meal on a cold day definitely makes a difference!

I think Flash loves hiking cause it equals more time for eating…

Up next…maybe a jaunt over to Reehers Horse Camp? LL Stub Stewart? My plan is to fit as many trips as I can before I really balloon up and bending over to hitch up my trailer becomes an exercise in huffing and puffing!

Close to home adventures

I’ve finally reached 20 weeks pregnant, wooot!!! Halfway there! We had the mid way ultrasound yesterday to check all the measurements and growth and baby is moving along normally, always good to hear that from doctors!

I love my new spare tire cover!

This also means that I’ve reached the point in which I’m voluntarily grounding myself from riding; the risk of a fall from Flash is fairly low but not zero, and as this isn’t my baby my comfort level is lower. So, we’re back to hiking and today the sun shone so out we went!

Happy dog, starving horse

An awesome local group is gathering and bringing some old trails back to life that just so happen to be a 10 minute haul from my barn! I was able to load Flash, unload, shove his boots on, make him carry my stuff (some adjustments still needed there), go for a two mile hike and make it home as the kid got off the bus.

Trail building: downhill edition

Flash was super well behaved except for the occasional reminder to not trip over me (personal spaaaaace!) and even when we saw other horses he didn’t scream for them. He did get a bit fast heading back to the trailer, so we took an out and back detour on a single track trail and he settled back down.

Awesome viewpoint

A beautiful hike and some exploring in a new place on a sunny day with a good dog and a starving blonde pony…it helps a great deal! Now to pack the truck for our camping shakedown trip to Battle Ground Lake tomorrow!

Pony chooses food over views naturally
Nom nom

Bloghop: Favorites of 2018

Here’s a fun post idea from Centered in the Saddle. So much has happened this year, and this is a photo based way to wrap it all up.

Favorite Horse Show Picture

I don’t show and didn’t make it to a single endurance ride, but here’s Kade’s first mounted lesson (and many more to come!)

Favorite Non-Show Picture

At the start of this weekend trip to Sisters, I was afraid to canter Ray on an open Forest Service Road. Two days later we rode bareback up to a viewpoint!

Favorite Thing You Bought

We bought a house, and it’s been the hardest, most time consuming, stressful, and hands down the best thing we’ve done for our little family.

Favorite Moment on Horseback

This isn’t my favorite photo, but I love the circumstances. Even with all the adventures and places I got to ride this year, this was taken by my husband on his first ever trip to the barn! It bored him silly watching me work on going around in circles in the indoor, but he made the effort and that means the world to me!

Favorite Moment Out of the Saddle

This one is fully a toss up between our courthouse wedding (man, we totally rocked that purple!) and the sailboat we were able to rent for day in Victoria BC with some of our best friends. Being a wife is cool, but sailing into the middle of the start of the big annual yacht race down the straight of Juan de Fuca while the Canadian Navy ship shoots their cannons off was a whole other level of crazy!

Favorite “Between the Ears” Picture

I know I keep using this image over and over, but it was taken while riding bareback with an awesome group of ladies, Cyrus at our heels, looking west to the Sisters mountains, through Raymond the Redheaded Quarter Horse’s ears. This was the trip in which I embraced how much I still needed to work on myself, and that horse camping with friends might be less stressful and more enjoyable than endurance for awhile.

Of course, my other favorite is when my two best friends hauled down to my neck of the woods and we spent the day ambling around together and trying to keep the dogs cool on one of the hottest days of the year.

Favorite Horse Ridden (or Groomed/Cared For) Aside from Your Own

This one is a very close toss up between Delhi the War Mare to the Deschutes River (seriously, OMG that trot!) and riding Phin the Gorgeous in the Columbia River Gorge. Both horses I drool over and would jump at the chance to ride again!

Favorite Funny Picture of Your Horse

This perfectly captures the relationship Ray and I have built this year: I ride, he pretty much does as I asks and more or less manages not to dump me, and he gets to eat. So. Many. Carrots.

Favorite Fence or Movement You Conquered 

I definitely wouldn’t say I’ve “conquered”: riding bareback, but I’m more comfortable with it and Ray’s super smooth jog trot. My goal is to be strong enough and centered enough to canter bareback!

Favorite Horse Meme

Want to participate? The only rule is that each answer has to have a photo!

Perish the thought

kiddosleep

Way too early this morning, my kiddo half woke me to crawl back into bed with me after a nightmare. Trouble with this is that’s my deep, REM sleep time, so today I’m sucking down coffee like there’s no tomorrow because I’ve been stuffing in as much overtime as I can. I eventually drifted into that state of “I know I’m dreaming but it feels so real this sucks” mode, & from my subconscious rose panic. I woke up to my car, my Emerald Queen just gone. Oh, not Tom’s little Scion, but my big green horse hauling badass? Gone, & found by the local cops stripped down for parts near a local park. Not a restful image, so thanks brain for that.

kidsleep

If this had actually happened to any other vehicle I’d owned, I’d pretty much shrug & move on, being not overly attached to any particular one. Also,, when I lived in the city close to work with a bike & solid public transport wouldn’t have affected us too badly. But now I live in car dependent suburbs 20 miles from work, which is perfectly doable…with a car.

But I panicked far beyond that to find the Queen not just gone but totaled, as the insurance would say, destroyed both in utility & as an idea.

queencampbeach

I’ve only had her a few months, but I’ve put on a couple thousand miles, obsessed about keeping her clean (a losing battle with a growing boy), hauled horses several times, filled her to the brim with friends, Ikea, & Costco, helped random strangers in the backwoods, sought & found numerous road trips, camping trips, & assorted other adventures, not to mention making it to work every day without a hitch.

More than any other vehicle, the Queen is freedom for me, freedom to commute comfortably, to seize the weekend & camp anywhere, to tow a horse to seek beautiful places to ride, to bring friends along for the haul.

queenhelp

This weekend I’ll vacuum & clean her out once again, get her a (shudderingly expensive) oil change, & load up to seek a quiet spot in the woods. This time we’ll be grinding low gears to climb Mt. Hood, travel the back way & gravel Forest Service roads to find a cool creek side campground. I won’t have a second of worry that everything will fit, that I’ll be stuck up there, or not be able to escape the hordes of mosquitos.

queensleep

The Queen & I thankfully have miles yet to go.

queencampview

Dani California

It really hit home for me when I changed the timer on our automatic coffee pot. When Tom’s home, I set it for 525am, so it’s just finishing up when he leaves for work about 15 minutes later. The pot stays warm until I empty it an hour later. But I set it to turn on at 625 now, because there’s no reason for it to sit for over an hour before I leave. 

Tom’s staying in California for work until (at least) mid August, very possibly longer. We’ll see him a few times here & there, but for now I have an apartment that suddenly feels bigger & more echoing & Facetime. And lots of annoying emoji texting.


As sorry as I feel for the fact I’m suddenly responsible for all the things again (including feeding myself & the kid, really universe?) I know I can’t whine too much. We’re both employed, still have roofs over our heads, & Tom’s company feels strongly enough to spend almost my annual salary to keep him around (they legit just gave him a company credit card for the summer).

Tom was talking about signs last night over Facetime, while I did the dishes, the kid brushed his teeth (now minus one!) & the giant white lump of a cat supervised. We were in the process of lining things up to buy a house this year, had just hooked up with a real estate agent & now Tom’s gone for the summer. So maybe the universe says wait?  


On the other hand, if Tom is gearing up to being gone a bit more often, I’d like to get things as settled as they can be now. What I really, really, really want to avoid is moving Kade in the middle of the school year, & our lease is up in March, & month to month rent is $100 bucks more than a lease. But to break our lease is also a ridiculous amount of money. And the Salem market is set to creep up now that Portland is a nut case. 

Plus, just having a house, even if it’s not much more space or even the same level of updates as our apartment, would be a huge thing for us all. A yard for Kade to be loud in, a garage for Tom to change oil in, & a pantry I can Pintrest organize to my heart’s content, plus stable payments? 

So the search continues, just a lot more slowly than before. And with more (quiet) I miss my big cuddly bear man whining.