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Sometimes you just have to face what you would like to avoid....

Posted on June 6, 2012 at 6:55 PM

At one time or another there are things which we really do not want to do, and do our darndest to avoid doing them…. Sooner or later we still have to do what it was that we would give our eye teeth to circumnavigate. This was the day I had to face up to the fact that I would have to ride the hwy. It really was inevitable, I just had done my best at avoiding it and now had to face up to the fact I had run out of options and the only way forward was sucking it up and facing my anxiety. I had looked at the option of riding the rail service road, but then would have to hop on the rail to go through 2 tunnels and then 1 bridge which was a trestle bridge…yea, no real option. If it had been 1 tunnel I may have given it a go, but there were 3 ( a magic number for me) hiccups (ok, the trestle is more than a hiccup – it is a downright train wreck (no pun intended)).

The bonus to the hwy here was the wide shoulder, so I was a ways from any vehicles. The con is that once you are on the hwys out here, you are fenced in. They actually have fencing along the entire length of the hwy. Oh, and then there are the cattle guards. At Rock Creek I was able to ride right down the off ramp ( I like to face traffic when I ride ~ I figure if someone is going to take me out, they are going to be looking me in the eyes if it happens). So down the hwy we go hugging the fence line as much as possible. And then there are the bridges we need to go over. We came up on the first one and I saw an on and off ramp – perfect we will just use them……WRONG. Cattle Guards and fencing with no gates. Gates are what tend to exist next to a cattle guard which enable a person/horse to get past. Dang….back up onto the hwy…..wait until it is clear….cool, plenty of time…….Wrong! I was reminded at this point that the speed limit is higher here in Montana than in Washington or Idaho. I had gotten really pretty good at gauging distance and time at 65 -70 mph……..that extra 10 -15 mph really makes a difference!! Note to self, never forget that again! There was a bit of a learning curve (imagine that;) ), but I was taking a bit more time judging spped/distance after that…..

Then my phone rings. It was RJ letting me know a storm was heading my way – he already had an inch of snow on the ground……. Seriously?! I turned and looked behind us and sure enough off in the distance were some dark clouds heading our way. Within a half an hour we were being snowed on! Ok, when this happened my first thought was really, it is snowing on the day that I had to actually ride on the hwy?! It lasted maybe an hour then back to clear warmish weather.  All was good…

Then there was the giant horse eating caterpillar that made noise as it came out of its hole (a train out of a tunnel).  Now keep in mind we have been next to traqins for a long time, but this……this is a whole new beastie! What can I say? She saw this and started acting out…mostly backing this way and that until her rump started to head toward the hwy. I can tell you that I saw a Safeway Semi coming down the road……that is pretty much when I baled off of her and drug her toward the fence where we could both stand and watch the multi colored caterpillar wander a whole other direction then where we were headed……..Sierra is safe from such a monster- whew!

Then came the exit…….cattle guards – BOOGERS!! Hmmmmmm, there was a road that came off the hwy that we could take. The problem –fencing running into the rock/shale. Now let me just say that I am really glad I have my mountain horse. The options: cut the fencing and go through then repair it or….. yep, I think she can do this…..ride up the shale and over the fence and then down the other side……. Yep,  I like that one better……so why not try it?  The only moment I had was when we were even with the barb wire and above it……if something had gone wrong then it could have gne horribly wrong – Thankfully we had four on the floor within a couple of minutes J ….Mountain Horses Rock!!  And now it felt like we were on vacation – side road quiet! And another couple of miles and we could relax even more so. What a great place – Sierra got to stay in her first barn (complete with 2 momma cows and their babies).  I was invited to stay up on the hill in their log home --- complete with shower and bed (never underestimate the power of a shower, a meal and a bed)! 

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