The 155 mile Pioneer Outlaw and Virgin ride was September 18, 19, 20, 2011. It was a point to point to point ride on the first day. We trailered from the new camp back over to the camp where the Bryce XP ride was held. From there we rode around that area before heading over for the new camp. The ride was really nice that day with pleasant weather and moderate difficulty.
The second day had zero chance of rain in the forecast, and it was going to be a loop ride from the same basecamp (day 3 was a loop too). However, it turned out to be one day that the weatherman was WRONG! Totally!!
The skies opened up that morning and not only rained but hailed pea sized hail on us. Bo was not amused and we took shelter under some trees, while I quickly got my goretex pants on, and waited for the storm to pass. It didn’t. So we kept on going.
The trail we were on was singletrack, narrow and went up and down on the side of a mountain. The footing grew more and more treacherous and technical the farther we went. The mud was slick and I could see tracks ahead of horses that had slipped and slid. Bo maneuvered through it as gracefully as he could, managing to stay upright and not scaring me.
The farther we went the worse the conditions became. We went through some boggy spots along with areas where the trail was beginning to flow water at a fast rate of speed. As we got farther along, one creek crossing was all but washed out with steep banks on both sides. Bo went through it like it was no big deal, thank goodness! He made it seem so easy.
We finally made it to lunch, where it poured rain like it did in Kansas this summer! I put a rain cover on Bo and put his food out for him then ran and got in the back of the crew trailer. Bo never stopped eating and seemed to be handling the conditions just fine. Annie and Nipper were bbq’ing hot dogs for us, which was nice. The trick was to get the hotdog put together without it getting totally wet!
After lunch we headed up the Blue Fly trail. Riders who have done Bryce will remember that trail from the 2nd day. Fortunately there were only 10 or 11 riders that day as there was a steep narrow section that was rather challenging to get up for the horses. It was like trying to climb in grease. Bo did great and managed to stay on the trail without falling. I was pleased that his Renegade strap on boots had stayed on throughout the entire day (and actually for the entire ride) — as if one had come off there wouldn’t have been anything I could do about it on a trail that narrow, slick and steep. I know one thing for sure, that trail won’t be done again like that in the rain. I doubt you’d find any riders willing to give it a go. None of us were willing to turn back though and we all managed to make it up, though some did have some mishaps, we all survived to tell about it.
The third day was probably the best of the ride. We got to do a trail called the Thunder Mountain trail. It’s shown in the first photo at the top – note the gorgeous weather we had that day as well! It was like being in Disneyland with the brilliant colors and scenery. It was too beautiful and colorful to be real, I thought as I rode through it on Bo. I’d previously ridden the trail with Chief to mark it, along with Kathy Backus.
The entire trail for three days was overall one of the nicest and most beautiful trails I’ve ever ridden on. Not for the faint of heart this year. Many riders who had ridden the original Outlaw Trail said there was nothing as scary on that as there was on this ride. Next year, of course, you can count on the trail being different if the conditions are wet so that we won’t be faced with that kind of challenge again.
All three days of the ride were won and also all three best conditions went to horses wearing Renegades, which I thought was kind of cool. They are sure working great for my horses. I don’t think I’ve ever been so impressed with these strap on boots before as I was on the 2nd day of that ride! The steep climbs in the mud were something else, and it was great that they stayed on. I think I’ve finally got the adjustments and fit perfected.
I rode Chief on two days to mark trail, and then rode Bo all three days of the actual endurance ride. I think this was one of the best rides that Bo has ever had. He has sure become such a pleasure to ride, so easy and trustworthy. Any time you get through something that would scare any sane person and your horse handles it like a pro, stays upright and doesn’t scare the #$%^ out of you….that’s about as good as it gets! I remember having the same feeling when I did the Outlaw Trail. Trails like this make you really appreciate your horse and their ability to do amazing things.
The best part is that Bo has completed this entire ride season without getting scratches – something that I had issues with last season. I’m so relieved to have made progress there as that was seemingly the only problem I’ve really had with Bo. Now I feel like there isn’t anything he can’t do!!
Below is an album of photos from all three days of the ride, plus some that are from trail marking and camp photos. Click on the arrow on the right hand side of the large photo, or the thumbnails at the top to scroll through the album. I don’t have it sets to auto scroll anymore, so it will load faster.