Wet and wild pretty much describes it!
Me, Monica, Julie and Keiko headed out to the first ever (I'm pretty sure) Trail Challenge at Lord Hill in Snohomish. We knew there would be 6 obstacles over 6 miles, which we could do at any one of three levels, easy, medium or difficult.
After driving up the VERY STEEP HILL to the Quarry, 4 wheel drive recommended, Monica and I signed up. Julie and Keiko had been responsible and signed up early. We ended up with start times of around 11:30.
It was pretty soggy to begin with, mud everywhere, but reasonably warm (45 degrees probably) and we had lots of wet weather gear on. Keiko on Cady and Monica on Mahri headed out first. This was Mahri's 3rd ever trail ride, so Monica was riding as a 'companion' horse, there for the adventure, not to do the obstacles. About 10 minutes later, Julie on Andy and Galen and I headed out. Galen and I ride at Lord Hill quite a bit, so he knew where he was going, except the first obstacle was on a trail I'd never been down (that was kind of neat, finding a new trail). He was SURE we were going the wrong way, so it took a bit to get over the first obstacle, which was a bridge. But, we did it and headed up the hill. There was some very tricky footing that looked like someone had slid off the side of the trail not to far along. We kept to the other side of the trail and got to the next obstacle. By now it was raining pretty hard, but we were cheerful. Galen and I did the obstacle as a 'easy', where we had to open a rope gate and hang it on a different tree. He was a bit puzzled, but did it. Andy on the other hand, was sure that rope was an electric fence and horses don't go near electric fences. So, Julie gave it a pass and we headed on. By now it was raining even harder and as we trotted (to keep warm) up the trail, it began to thunder and lightning, almost together. As part of the trail is in the open, by the time we got to the next obstacle, they had called the ride. Just too dangerous with the thunder, lightning, whipping winds and heavy rain. Of course, at this point, everyone was out on the trail! So, we turned around and headed for the trailers in the shortest distance. This is where knowing the trails helped. A few people that had been in front of us seemed to disappear...they must have taken a different trail. The wind was making the trees sway and groan, the rain was soaking us and the thunder and lightning happily slowed down a bit. The horses were very ready to head back to the trailers, as they were soaked too.
Julie and I were wringing out our gloves and comparing notes on where water was dripping down our bodies (I had water running down the backs of my legs under my half chaps and down the back of my neck). Julie found out that her coat wasn't waterproof at all.
We got through some tricky footing (downed trees had necessitated an off road trail that turned into knee deep muck) and finally made it back to the trailer. We untacked the horses, put coolers on them and loaded them in. Of course, at this point, the sun came out and the wind and wild weather stopped.
Monica and Keiko were still out on the trail - they had gotten further than us before it was called, so ended up doing the entire ride. By the time they came in, Julie was in dry clothes, both of us had had some hot beverages. I got a few photos of Monica and Keiko coming back into the camp.
They both had big grins on their faces. Cady had done her usual good job and Mahri was pronounced "fantastic". For a young lady on her third ever trail ride, Monica reported that she took everything in stride, never lost her cool, did everything that was asked of her and was cheerful the entire time. It sounds like Mahri has a future as a competitive trail or endurance horse! She is for sale.
After Keiko and Monica took care of their horses, they wrung out their wet clothes and we headed home. I did make one wrong turn that meant I had to back the rig up about 300 feet, which I called my last 'trail challenge'. But, we dropped off Keiko and Cady and headed back to Cascade Gold, where all the horses got warm blankets and lots of hay, before the humans got to go inside and get dry.
We all had a pretty good time considering the weather challenges, although if we knew how nasty it would get, well, we didn't. It was pronounced an 'adventure' and we sure got some good stories out of it.