We went out on Thursday afternoon to mark the trail - 10.5 miles in a local state forest, the same state forest I used last year. We rode out of horse camp at 2:25 pm. I started marking trail by myself and then Janeen and Maureen joined me. Janeen had picked the trail and also organized the scavenger hunt. In addition to putting trail markers up, she was placing scavenger hunt items. Now that there were other horses with us, my gelding decided it was a race. We stayed anywhere from 100 to 500 yards in front of the other two at all times. I would ride back to them to check trail routes (turn right or left) and so that we did not get too far ahead and then ride off on my own marking trail some more. When I stopped to put a marker up, he gave me 2 seconds to get the marker onto the tree, if I didn't get it done, I had to try again at the next tree. Luckily Janeen was behind me to fix my "oops" moments when I could not get a marker up fast enough.
I ran out of markers on the gas line trail. I really underestimated how often I would want to put markers up. Luckily Janeen had lots and she put markers up and I just rode along with her (well, in front of her).
It was getting really dark, and got to the point where we could no longer see the branches. Janeen said she would finish marking the trail on Friday and that we should just be done. We were headed back to camp and came upon the turn off for her house, she decided to ride home rather than having me trailer her horse home - her horse is pretty sure footed in the dark. This made me kind of nervous. There have been several mountain lion sightings in horse camp. And it was almost pitch black out. And my cell phone battery was almost dead.
I trotted John (my gelding) back to camp chanting the mantra "I am not an easy meal!" quietly to myself. I learned this mantra (and to yell it at mountain lions if confronted by one) from Beau, the campground director at my First Descents camp in 2009. It probably would have been better if I yelled "I am not an easy meal" on the way back to the trailer. Every time a twig snapped, I jumped. We got to the trailer and I quickly untacked John and loaded him up. Home we went.
A huge THANK YOU to Janeen for being an outstanding volunteer. The Fun In The Forest Trail Ride would not have happened without her help!