Back on the trail again! After taking a little over two weeks off to let the horses rest up (and to let the snow at some of the higher elevations melt some more), today I picked up again where I left off earlier in New Mexico. Yesterday, June 3rd, my mom and I departed from L.A. very early for our long drive to Grants, NM. I had left Tuna Can behind in Cuba, NM, and had driven Bombshelter back to Topanga, arriving on the 17th of May. Now that my mother is done teaching for the summer, she is joining me to help with all the logistical challenges, and we are a travelling circus: besides the two horses, we also have our two dogs with us, as well as the two of us! We put the camper on our big truck with Bombshelter behind, and loaded it to the max with supplies; there is a roof rack on the trailer, where I have over 1000 lbs. of hard to find specialty feeds that I won’t be able to get on the road, including some from Haystack Natural in Oregon that they shipped to Topanga before I left on the first part of the trip in April. The third stall of the trailer is also loaded with extra bales of hay, and the tack room has saddles, panniers, pack saddle rigging, blankets, and all the other gear (including special borium-coated horse shoes and nails that I bring along for farriers) that we will need along the way. I also had new shoes put on the horses and got them vaccinated and had health certificates and travel permits prepared for our interstate journey.
The trip to Grants took us a long 13 hours yesterday, but we arrived before dark, and the fairgrounds was roomy and quiet. We quickly put the horses in corrals and then unhitched the truck so we could drive to a dirt road and retrieve a water cache I had left there outside of town. I was supposed to ride one more day before coming back to L.A., but Tuna Can (which had been left parked at a trailhead) was impounded and towed (first time that has ever happened to me, and hopefully the last!) and I had to ride to the impound yard in Grants to pick it up, so I couldn’t complete that last short section back to where the truck had been. So my job today was to ride that section south from the fairgrounds to the trailhead, where my mother then picked me up; I rode Shyla with only minimal gear so we could go as quickly as possible, since most of this stretch consisted of dirt road, and without all the packing supplies I am able to canter and trot and cover the ground rapidly. My mother met me with the camper and we loaded Shyla in the trailer with Takoda, then headed north. We actually have quite a bit of road to cover today also; this was just a quick stop to fill in that missing section of trail south of Grants, but our real goal is to get to northern New Mexico and begin riding south to Cuba, where Tuna Can is waiting. So we drove through Albuquerque and Santa Fe and past some future campsites (which we stopped to check out along the way) and ended up in the early evening at Hopewell Lake campground. There was a nice horse camping site available, and the horses even had some green grass to snack on overnight.