Trailblazer's Silver Lake Ride, July 2005
by Andi Schreibman

The Trailblazers had yet another great weekend at Silver Lake, with lots of stories to share!

The Brentwood Brigade formed a caravan and were first to arrive Thursday afternoon.  They included me, Andi Schreibman, with Wilbur, followed by Roberta Klemm and Notcho, and Jan Carlisle and Lisa Walker with Silk and Khristana.  Upon arriving in the Plasse’s parking lot I was shocked to discover I had a flat on a trailer tire….so flat it had shredded and was sitting was on the rim!  That’s the trouble with big wide campers…you can’t see the darn trailer you’re pulling behind it!  Jean Schreiber and Phoebe pulled up next, followed by Earl Kelly with Susan Docktor, hauling CC, Avalon and Alii.  Priding myself on having a trailer drive-on jack, I was dismayed to discover I neglected a lug wrench….duh!  But then no-one else had one either!  Luck was again with me as I asked a group of men at the bar if they had one and was subsequently rescued by a gentleman, Rich, who came over with! a cordless drill with a lug remover on it!  He changed the tire in a jiff, and I was back on the road!  The shredded tire pieces had damaged the brake line and lights, and Rich offered to come fix it over the weekend, which he did.  What a great guy and good Samaritan!  So, out of the parking lot and onto the campgrounds!

Thursday was spent making camp, unwinding, beginning to relax, catching up with each other,drinking margaritas, and ended with a nice campfire in the evening which was much needed because it was actually cold!  But very welcome after the last 6 weeks of intense heat! Earl treated everyone to ice cream.   Danine and Matt Simas with Autumn pulled in about 10:30 and made camp, having had to put in a day’s work in Silicon Valley.  The shooting stars that night were utterly amazing….you just had to look up and there were meteors every minute!  Ah, Silver Lake.  You forget how amazing the big sky is at 8000 feet with no lights!

The next morning everyone saddled up for a ride led by Jean. We decided that this particular trail would from now on be dedicated to Tom Slone and known as ‘Tom’s trail’.  It’s a trail he loved and as it turned out, offered the kind of adventure Tom thrived on.   We all thought a lot about Tom that day…and all weekend. 

The horses were all fresh and quite wound up to start.  Earl decided to ride off on his own to check out a new trail.  Matt rode off on his motorbike.  The first big obstacle turned out to be the sound of a live marching band, believe it or not!  Toward the end of the campground suddenly there was the sound of tubas, drums, horns, etc….playing Souza!  It was weird and loud and the horses were none too amused!  Maybe they had music camp or something, we never saw them, but they were still playing when we came back 4 hours later!!!!!  Well, that behind, we had a good climb up single track which took a bit of the edge off our mounts, winding up on the Mormon Emigrant Trail.  Another surprise…we came upon a Mormon youth church group who were gathering in one area after hiking a few miles of the trail pulling big loud wooden wagons better suited to oxen!  There we also ran into biker Matt, who had reportedl! y run into a couple of bears along the way.  The horses were again wound up over all the commotion and the strange wagons, but again settled and we went on to Mud Lake, where the horses had a long drink and we had a nice stretch before heading back by way of the infamous ‘Connie’s Slide’.  Well, no-one had done Connie’s slide in a few years, and were we in for a surprise!  Part-way down the steep single track, which was fairly deep soft slick footing due to loose dirt, forest materials and shale, a big tree had fallen and blocked the trail.  There was no going back, we were too committed!  The only way was to go around it, down a steep embankment to the left with a quick right turn at the bottom, and then some trailblazing through the forest.  First to go, Jean and Phoebe basically slid down the very loose footing.  It wasn’t very far but it was definitely a mini ‘Snowy River’ hill!&nbs! p; Silk acted up and Jan got off and led her, which maybe was probably just as scary!  One by one we made it down,  but it was tense going and the horses were practically sitting on their butts!  The horses were amazing though, and I find if you can just stay out of their way and stay balanced they just go ahead and do their job.  I think those kinds of experiences help us build even better bonds with our horses…we have to put our trust in them and they us. Then we made our way through the forest, with lots of  deep stuff around their legs, lots of obstacles to cross.  They were all troopers!  Finally we made our way to the trail, came upon a familiar meadow, and rode the rest of the way without any further events other than the welcome marching band upon our return!  It had been a great ride, with some tense and scary moments, but no-one came off or got hurt, and we had all had a good adventure!! Tom’s trail well deserved his name.  We couldn’t help but reminisce about Tom’s swim without a stitch on several years back at one of those freezing but crystal clear lakes.  We all had a good chuckle, but his presence was especially missed on our rides.  

Joining us in camp that day were Karen Schwartz with her horses Dahra and Chris, Jack Schreiber who was released for the day from jury duty, and Cyndi and Greg Pryor with two horses (sorry, I didn’t get their names!).   We all went to dinner at the Plasses Restaurant at 7 pm Friday night.  The service was slow and not very good,  although at least this year they didn’t run out of prime rib…though they didn’t have the cut that some of us requested.  We think we won’t be doing the restaurant thing next year….too aggravating!  Back at camp we sat around the fire once again and had a good ole time.  It got down to about 45 degrees at night, so that fire felt pretty darn good!  Again, Earl passed the ice cream around once dinner had settled. 

The next morning we broke into different groups.  Earl led Roberta, Karen, Cyndi and Greg,while  Susan and Danine went off on their own and rendezvoused with Earl’s group at some point.  However, once they’d split again, they took a wrong turn and wound up on Highway 88 at a staging area with miles to go back to camp!  Having already ridden 6 or 7 hours and having had enough, Danine bravely asked someone there if they’d give her a ride back to camp (with her horse!) which they did!  Susan rode back on her own.  

Jan’s husband Keith and son Paul came up in the morning with a four wheeler.  Keith hiked and Paul went off with Jack and Matt and their bikes on an adventure.  Jean led Jan, Lisa and I on my favorite loop, Granite Lake.  It’s a splendid ride, with a little of everything along the way.  The wildflowers were fading but then it is a month later than we normally go, still there were lots of lupine and mules ears especially.  The alpine meadows are still beautiful.  The smell of the forests is intoxicating.  The crystal clear lakes and granite mountains are breathtaking, the trails wonderful. We passed a number of hikers and bikers,who were all very friendly and courteous.  The horses were definitely calmed down the second day, as expected.  We all had a delightful ride. 

Apparently Matt, always willing to rescue damsels in distress, reportedly gave Jan and Lisa a ride back from the showers on his bike….three astride!  Back in camp that evening we had a fabulous potluck, and once again gathered round the fire, where we passed a bottle of butterschnapse (courtesy of Danine of course) and played Lisa’s ‘what are you bringing to the party’ game, with losers each round having to take a swig of the schnapse!  Then Earl demonstrated his bottle melting technique, which wasn’t as exciting as his last demonstration since the fire wasn’t apparently as hot! 

The next morning most of the group rode, then all but Jean, Roberta, Jan and Lisa packed up and took off about 2pm. It had been a wonderful weekend!

Cyndee Pryor writes:

Last year at Silver Lake I brought a young, new-to-the-trail, six year old gelding.  We both lived, learned from the experience, and had fun.  This year I thought I would repeat the process with a different new-to-the-trail six year old gelding.  Again we lived, learned from the experience, and had fun.  I did have one more goal and that was to stay in the saddle as he had dumped me just two days before the ride.  On Saturday we managed to ride about 20 miles with a group of riders, and on Sunday plugged away at ten miles.  My young horse did so well on Saturday that on Sunday I thought we could zig-zag through a group of three closely-situated trees on the trail about halfway through the ride.  He didn't share my opinion of his skill level.  My right knee was well-placed to pad his body from hitting the tree when he decided to zag instead of zig. A week later, I'm still showing bruises to all who are even mildly interested.

The food was great as usual.  Friday night we went over to the restaurant and enjoyed the drinks, entries, ambiance, and camaraderie of our group.  Saturday evening we had a pot luck with enough food to feed most of the campers on the valley floor.  Well, maybe not quite that much, but the appetizers alone could have filled us all up.   After the pot luck, we had a camp fire and games.  WE played a silly game that included people's names, things to bring somewhere, and butterscotch schnapps. Then of  course, we had to put the bottle in the camp fire to see the remainder of the alcohol burn off out of the bottle.  We did have our trusty fire captain there to verify that it was safe and no one would get hurt.  But the group of sitters-in-the-chairs-around-the-camp-fire did clear out rather quickly when the second bottle was put on the fire with more alcohol in it than the first giving off a more impressive display. ! ; But in all fairness,  it was almost 10 p.m. and time for bed anyway.   What a great group of riders and friends.  Very relaxing, beautiful  scenery, lots of places to ride and lots of people to ride with.  Oh, and next year, I'll  bring my then five year old along with hopes of staying in the saddle and having fun.

Danine Simas writes:

Silver Lake, with its pristine vistas and meadows, what a sight to see. It was my first time visiting this beautiful place and I enjoyed it very much. Matt and I were able to both enjoy our hobbies at the same place. What a concept.  He rode his motorcycle and I rode my horse. And at the end of the day we had stories to share about both experiences. The trails were beautiful and sometimes tough but, Autumn was very confident and surefooted and navigated through like a champ. Unfortunely, my camera wasn’t charged and when I went to take a picture out on the trail it didn’t work. Such a disappointment! I guess I should of checked that before I left….

The restaurant and bar were an added bonus. We didn’t have to cook dinner on Friday night and it was a great way to all get together to mingle. We did manage to get everyone to play a game around the campfire thanks to Lisa and good old Buttershots…Andi..time to pass the bottle on..ha ha. Roberta and Jack are now experts at the game and I guess we have to figure out a new one to make it interesting. Lisa any ideas??

Thanks to Jean for putting this trip together! We had a great group, great rides, great food and conversation! Looking forward to next year!

From Lisa Walker:

Let's see, where to begin with the description of such a grand trip!!  Hmmm, hmmmm... Well, I know we need to mention something about our first outing adventure ridden to the beat of William Tell's Overature ~ wouldn't it be cool to add the actual music!!   Let's definitely not forget to mention Connie's slide, what was it a 70 degree grade, a send off for Tom Slone!  I believe we dedicated this ride/trail to Tom, aye?

A delightful ride back to camp, with a breeze in your hair on a dirt bike made for one but acompanied by three in the cool night air with a few too many under your belt, is the ONLY way to gooo!!  Nothing like a camp fire game, playing who's bringing what, to the taste of Butterscotch Schnapps!

We girls were left alone Sunday night to fend for ourselves.  At camp fire time, Jan and I attempted this task.  However, we were quickly booted from our positions by Roberta (the camp fire making Queen)!  Did you know the best way to roast marshmallows is when the wood is at only an amper not a flame?  I would have to say Roberta's camp fire put the guys camp fire to SHAME!!  It was a roaring fire, and I should have gotten a pic to share :o{....    Also, our new neighbors, taking your place, were interesting to say the least.  They unloaded numerous horses along with two mules ~ the mules made their way to our camp by breaking out from their portable corrals.  Feebee spelling ?? (Jan's horse) was the ONLY welcoming soul at our camp!  The mules were quite sweet...

I truly LOVE to have a good time, and I didn't waste anytime gettin' right into the grove of having FUN!  I so enjoyed my first TVT group ride; I just hope I wasn't too much Lisa for everyone!!  It was, without a doubt, a great time ~ Whooowhooooo!