To test how we might last in a short endurance race (the heavy duty ones are 50 to 100 miles in a day, but there are some 25 mile events for rookies like us), we came up with a 25 mile route that we rode yesterday. Basically, we went from lower Stillwater trailhead to Big Ridge, then added a section going down to Horsehair Spring on the other side of the ridge. Pretty day, pretty ride, and a beautiful view from the 11,000 foot high point.
The trail down to Horsehair Spring was extremely rocky and steep, but the sightseeing was great along the way. Here's a view into Log Hollow:Horsehair Spring was down to a trickle coming out of the rocks at this time of year,but a trough catches the water, providing a good drink for the horses and a swimming hole for Daisy. According to the GPS, the total route ended up being 23.5 miles (we took a few shortcuts), and 5200 feet elevation gain, a lot of work for the horses. Because of all the rocky areas, the ride took about 6 and a half hours moving time, even with trotting and cantering where feasible. If the trail had all been alluvial, we could have made the ride in no more than 4 hours. We’re thinking we would have ended up less tired that way, and a smooth trail would be easier on the horses.
Next try, we’ll plan for less rocks.