God I love this town. I love Tevis. I love the people who love all of this with me. People who will get a first buckle or a 33rd buckle. Crazy, fun, determined, terrified. Old and young. This ride got under my skin a very long time ago and has no chance of leaving, I believe, ever, in my lifetime. And why should it? It's a ride bigger than life itself it seems and for many, will be the ride of their lives, as it was for me. I do want to do it again.
Bill & I were hiking the training hill yesterday morning off of the Tevis trail. The short version is about 1 1/2 miles up of butt searing hills. The longer version, will happen later as he is being nice to me and wants me to want to do this again. What fun it is, with all it's pain and I think I get a tiny version of what my horses feel carrying me up a climb.
One our way to the hill he found a red easyboot. I call that part of the trail "Boot Hell" because if I'm going to lose a boot on a training ride, it's right there. Seems Bill has eyeballs for spottin' every frickin' thing & animal and I don't.....or maybe because I was behind watching where he stepped. Anway there was a name on the boot and a rubbed out phone number. He put it on a tree branch and we picked it up later. Driving into town I was able to go to the Tevis start list and find the person we wanted. Wasn't particuarly hard because it's really a small world and probably someone with an out of state area code is here for Tevis. We went to the Overlook to find its owner but to no avail. I was able to find the owner today on my ride with Ali'i. The riding buddy who's friend owned the boot was surprised we found her. Bill said "Ray Charles could have found the owner" but she can think what she wants. A red boot returned and a happy Tevis Rider.
What I love about the ride, is the people who will pick up a boot and find its owner, rather than throwing it in their trailer to keep. Tevis is a big family and it's bigger than this town of Auburn. 15 Foreign Riders starting. Gotta love that. And what is their story? It's not like driving 2 hours to get to the start.
Ali'i and I had our "Celebratory Ride" to No Hands and back, meeting several riders on the trail. All AGLOW with their dreams of finishing Tevis. Ali'i was absolutely perfect and ears perked forward listening for horses on the trail. Tevis horses & riders.
Life is frickin' good.