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desperate horsewife

Long Ride

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UK Rider's long ride got me to thinking about wanting to take a trip on horseback myself. I'd been thinking about riding from here down to southwest OR, but then when I read that UK was planning on 20 miles per day, I decided perhaps my trip would take way too long.

Now I'm thinking perhaps a 'little' (ha!) loop, starting near The Dalles, heading east to Pendleton, south to Burns (which is where I want to go), then back up through Prineville and back to The Dalles.

Unlike UK, I'm not at all interested in going it alone [Razz] My daughter wants to come along and I've got a couple others interested in the ride as well. Trying to scare up info online as to what to pack, how far to travel, etc, I'm finding a challenge. The Long Rider's Guild website I don't find to be terribly user friendly...great for story sharing, but not real practical in terms of what to bring, how far to travel, how to train...unless I'm just not looking in the right area.

Has anyone else found online resources? Or have you done a ride that requires several weeks out on the trail? If we actually do this, it'd be summer, so I know we'll need to be well prepared for heat...or perhaps travel in the mornings and evenings when it's a bit cooler...???

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desperate horsewife, I cant offer any help but would like to say that what your planning sure sounds like alot of FUN! Hope everything comes together for you [big Grin]

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dh,

Now real info here either, just want to wish you luck, glad you have a daughter and a couple friends that want to go also. It should be a very rememberable trip, that you can share stories with, for years to come. Best Wishes. PD

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The only info I can contribute: When we set times for the competitive trail ride here we rode 35 miles in one day at a pace of 4.7 miles/hour. It was mostly walking with about 5 miles of trotting, and some cantering. The elevation change was about 1000 feet. The horses were in good shape and so were we!

You might try looking at some of the competitive trail riding websites to determine distances. Or figure out how many days you have to spend, how many miles you want to go and divide one into the other to see how many miles to travel each day.

Good luck. We used to go on overnight camping trips in the Coast Mountain range when I was a kid.

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DH,

Sounds like you have a great trip planned and will be making memories of a lifetime.

One piece of advice I have is that you will not make the same amount of miles every day. It depends on the footing, whether you are going on trails cross country or along the highway shoulders. Sometimes the pace is faster and sometimes it is slower. If traveling by trail there can be certain really hard days where the horses will need a rest the following day. On the PCT there is an area south of Hwy 20 where there are softball size rocks all over the place for several miles. It is really hard on the horses hooves and pasterns and fetlocks. After riding that trail many horses are quite sore the next day. It is in the middle of a lava flow, so there is no way to avoid it.

You didn't mention if you are traveling on roads or trails. Once you get your route planned, let us know and maybe some of us can help you find the best places to ride. Water and feed for your horses is something else you need to plan for. Will you have a support crew going along by truck to meet you every so often or will this be only the riders?

Here's wishing you every success in your ride and make sure to take pics and share them with us when you are done.

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Photos will definitely be taken [Wink]

I considered looking into the endurance/competitive ride sites, but we'll be traveling with pack horses, which does alter the expectations a bit in terms of travel speed. I'm not sure horses carrying dead weight will be able to make that good a time. Still, I'll bet they'll have a lot of info on first aid to carry, so perhaps I'd best check them out.

jk, good advice to break it up a bit in terms of length of day. At this point I don't know what's out there in terms of trails. If I can shave off a few miles here and there by skipping the road, I'd like to do that. However, the road also means help is more readily available in an emergency, so part of me doesn't want to get just too far off the beaten path. I guess it will depend on just how many folks decide to join up and what the experience level is of the group.

As for the 'pit crew', I'm wondering the same thing [Roll Eyes] I don't know that we've got anyone who'd like to just meet up every evening, but am hoping we can at least find folks along the way who'll be willing to act as a pit stop where the horses (and weary riders) can rest for a day and act as a hay station for us.

Here's a shot I took this spring heading into the John Day area. There'll be some pretty steep climbs!

-

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I have a friend who just completed the first leg of a coast-to-coast ride, beginning from the eastern most point of the coast of Maine to inside the Ohio border this past summer/fall 2007--1250 miles so far.

She will continue in the spring and will have someone trailer her and her horses back out to the place in Ohio where she stopped for the winter and then continue across the U.S. with a final destination being the Pacific Ocean somewhere on the coast of Washington. Due to wanting to travel trough the Rockies and the Cascades, rather than go the southern route, she may have to extend the trip another year. She doesn't know how far she will be able to get by the time the snow starts to fall in the mountains and may not be able to go through there if it's too late in the year. She's playing that by ear.

She started out with another person, but that only lasted for the first 150 miles or so. They just didn't have the same travelling style and goals. My friend continued on her own and the other woman stopped.

She had a riding horse and a pack horse, travelled between 15-25 miles per day (depending on the weather/road/trail conditions, how the horses were doing, etc). She did NOT have a crew or anyone accompanying her with a camper or a trailer, providing feed for her and the horses at her next stop, or anything like that--it was just her and two horses completely on her own.

She had a general route and just headed out each day, not knowing where she was going to spend the next night. She said that took some getting used to, but as the trip unfolded she found that everything worked itself out each day and started to relax about it and just trust that everything would work out OK.

What she did was as the end of her riding day was nearing, she would start looking for a farm type place that had horses. She would ride up and ask them if she could camp on their property and get water for her and her horses. Almost all the time, they would say yes and be thrilled to have her. If they couldn't accommodate her, they would often know of someone nearby who could. People were excited to be a part of her trip.

Even though she didn't expect anything more than a place to pitch her tent, an area to graze her horses, and a spot to high line them, people were amazingly helpful and kind and often offerred her more than that. She was often asked to stay in their homes, given a pasture or stalls for her horses (which made it much easier for the night--not having to worry about them getting themselves into trouble on the high line), both her and her horses fed, etc. She even had people stopping her along the road asking her if she would stay with them! Amazing!! She raves about the kindness of the people she met.

As far as training ... she really didn't do anything special as far as I know. She had personal experience hiking the Appalachian Trail and wilderness camping, so that was a big plus. But, she said that hiking the App Trail was a piece of cake compared to doing this horseback trip, where she had more than just herself to take care of--she had two horses and that made it much more difficult. She said that unless she was able to stop at someone's farm for the night, it was very difficult to find an overnight spot that had the three major things she needed: grazing space with good grass, water for the horses, and a good place to run her high line for the night.

Her horses were her own personal trail horses. She had raised one from a baby and had owned the other for 8 years. She knew them pretty well. She did have some trouble with one of them spooking at big vehicles on the road. Other than that, just keeping the horses sound, well fed, shod, and stuff like that were the biggest challenges. Traffic and crazy drivers were occasional problems, depending on the area she was riding through. Although she tried her best to stay on back roads, rather than main highways, there were always places where she couldn't avoid a highway, a huge bridge, residential areas, etc. and just had to "do it". Drivers often don't use caution when passing horses on the road. It's very important that your horse be very good on the road if you will have to travel roads.

Good luck and have a great time. My friend says this has been an unbelievable experience so far and it truly is the trip of a lifetime for her. I hope your trip is the same!

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Thanks, Babesmom!

I think folks like the idea of being a part of something bigger than themselves...and then there's that 'back to the basics' and lending a helping hand excitement that goes along with it. So often we yearn for the simpler, easier days when life was slower, and helping someone like your friend gives an opportunity to be a part of that, even if it's just for the briefest moment in time.

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Below is the link for the Backcountry Horsemen of Oregon.

http://www.bcho.org/

I am a member of the California affiliate. Members of this organization are great sources of information when it comes to local trails. Check out the Chapter Locations link, and find some people in the are you want to visit, then proceed to pick their brains! lol

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You might want to reconsider your route along I-84 from The Dallas to Pendleton.

Check out this link of semi trucks and trucks pulling campers getting over turned there in the last few days because of the wind.

http://www.nwcn.com/perl/common/slideshow/...233&nextimage=4

I know the wind that blew those trucks over was due to the storm that has been pummeling OR and CA the last few days, but the wind through the Gorge in that area almost never stops. Plus it blows East to West 95% of the time so you would be riding with the wind in your face. That area is a meca for wind surfers on the Columbia all spring and summer long, that should tell you something about the wind there.

If you say I love wind then I have one other concern about riding along that freeway. There are many areas with little or no shoulder at all. The freeway is lined with the cement barricades for miles and miles. You and your horses would be stuck between those barricades and the traffic. And let me tell you the wind blows those truckers around. The barricades are there to keep the boulders off the freeway and the truckers on the freeway.

Also the pass out of Pendleton is extremely steep and considered one of Oregons toughest passes. There are a lot of vehicle accidents there.

If it were me I would head South from The Dalles on Hwy 197. This takes you through Some nice rolling plains with big open fields. Through a white water rafting town called Maupin. Then up over a mountain pass to the town of Madras. The moutain pass is in the middle of the high desert, and although it is high, it is wide open. You can see for miles and as you near Madras you will be rewarded with some fantastic views of the Casacade Mtns, including the Three Sisters and Mt Jefferson. From Madras you can choose your route as you like.

You could also go South from Biggs instead of The Dalles on Hwy 97, but this also takes you to Madras by a little longer route.

If I were you I would drive the routes and see them for yourself before riding. Either that or find someone who lives in the area to tell you what they are like. Maybe all the cement barricades are West of The Dalles. I'm not 100% sure where they are, I just know I don't like driving I-84.

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Hi Lucky, thanks for the heads up. I've driven the route this year. I'm thinking of heading from Arlington down towards Ukiah, so would miss a good section of I-84. Are there any side roads that would eliminate highway riding between The Dalles and Arlington?

Yes, I do love wind, but not enough to risk falling semis, lol! We're planning a summer ride rather than stormy winter ride, although I know it can get to whistling through that area no matter what time of year.

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I do not know any routes around I-84 in between those towns. I don't live in that area though. You might try the city hall or local highway maintenance crews. Someone local might be able to help you with that. To me I-84 seems to be the only route up there, it seems to be stuck between the Columbia and the steep rock walls for much of the route, with no other flat dry ground, except where the little towns spring up.

Good luck on your journey!

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I am considering riding the Shore to Shore trail in Michigan and one link on that site listed recommended equipment. Here is the link: Shore to Shore Trail Click on the guide book.

There was a recent link posted about a long rider and the equipment she used. She highly recommended a certain back pack. I'll see if I can find it and post it here.

Here is a link to the long riders guilde: the long riders guild

[ 01-06-2008, 07:21 PM: Message edited by: dgRuffian ]

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