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Trail Musings from the TrailMeister

Trailhead News – September, 2014

THNSept2014We spend all winter dreaming of the bluebird sky days of summer. Well, those days are finally here. We’ve got it good here in the Evergreen State.  And as Back Country Horsemen we’ve got it better than most. By simply changing the elevation we can re-visit spring flowers or venture into the very depths of hot desert riding. I’m a sucker for alpine meadows areas where the cheerful blooms of the lupines greet you in purple waves.  Here in Spokane it seems that prime lupine season is mid to late May in the foothills.  But by following the receding snow line I can continue viewing these colorful purple spikes almost until the snow starts pushing me back down the mountainsides.  I may be biased but to me that’s something special that just won’t be found in an arena.

Not only do Back Country Horsemen (and women) get to see truly remarkable scenery, and not just of the botanical type, we are privileged to be able to share our passion for the trails with other horse folk, and other user groups. From our excellent Rendezvous, our many prize rides, our good examples of trail etiquette, and our greetings to the other trail users we meet on the trail, we touch a lot of people.

Every encounter is an opportunity to shine and really show what we’re about.  One BCHW member that I’ve learned from is a Tahoma Chapter member. On every ride that we have ever been on together she made it a point to engage the other riders we encountered and tell them about BCHW. She even had BCHW cards that she handed to other riders telling them about us. I’m not sure that I ever told her what an impact she had on me with those cards and trail greetings. I’m saying it now.

THNSept2014-1So the question becomes what do the rest of us do when we encounter other riders on the trail? Do we set a good example? Do we tell them about BCHW and how we help keep the trails open? Every time? Unless you’re Linda from the Tahoma Chapter chances are that third question caused a bit of a pause. It did for me at least.

I was recently on a pleasant front country ride just over the Idaho border at Farragut State Park.  On one side our neighbor was an accomplished dressage rider up for a weekend outing.  Although I’ve chased letters across in an arena a time or two we really had nothing in common so I was surprised when she asked to join us on a trail ride.

The third time I dismounted to clear downed logs off the trail she asked “why not just step over or go around?” What an opportunity to share what we do as Back Country Horsemen! I talked about our mission statement and how BCH is a service organization that assists government and private agencies in trail maintenance. Of course I also brought up our fabulous Dutch oven cooking in hopes of getting her to attend a chapter meeting. Linda would have done better and had those cards with the website and chapter meeting information, but it was a start and better than my usual mumbles about “helping out” with trail work.

The moral of this story?

We have a wonderful tale to tell, make an effort to share it with others, on the trail and off.