March 27 2012
A dry winter, late season storms combined for a springlike appearance to this favorite ride of mine, both to ride and to shoot, although without the spectacular display of wildflowers normally present. Around 100 riders on the 55 on the first day headed "up the mountain" because it is not do-able in wet weather, predicted for later in the weekend. I had a 300 gal water tank with the dual mission of shooting near the top and providing refreshment, since it was an out and back trail. Unfortunately I found that "rock with my name on it", losing a chunk of sidewall on a nearly new tire and scooting to a safe spot to change it. The riders ascended through fog, mist, and had snow on the roadside as well. This area had burned a few years ago, so the views are spectacular as the greenery regenerates. So the first day's shots are near and in the out vet check, and everyone at the finish, a sunny day after the burnoff. Diane Stevens came in first and got BC.
The second day began with gray skies, a very light mist and some fog--I shot in Cottonwood Canyon, where there were some early clumps of yellow bush flowers. The fog burned off to a very sunny and mild day, which I enjoyed staying in the sun for some midday glary shots as the riders left lunch in camp. Catfish Moe had trailered in for the day and finished first, Susan Garlinghouse had finished 2nd and won BC. The Nicholsons presented a panoramic metallic photo of Cottonwood Canyon to ranch owner and endurance rider Jim Mitchell for all his hard work and long years of hosting, from my first year shooting there in 2008. Karen Chaton was awarded with XP Horseman of the Year for her 3K accomplishment, and her Granite Chief won Horse of the Year. Other year end awards were presented as well.
The expected rain came in Saturday night, somewhere around 30 intrepid pairs headed out Sunday morning to do the "rain loop" twice. I'd had enough of driving adventures, so with no spare, I opted to stay in Schoolhouse Canyon at my usual spot for the first morning--contrast the appearance in my old galleries for the last two years! The riders seemed very happy to see me out shooting near the end of the first loop; I was comfortably attired as was my camera with its heavy duty rain shield, first put to the test the day after Tevis in Auburn. Susan Garlinghouse finished first on John Henry and won BC, fastest overall for the 3 days and 3 day BC.
Ride gallery is here--until 4/30 there's a 15% discount with the coupon code "RIDE2012" (all caps) for the first 50 orders.