It has been almost a year since I have found it in me to finally sit down and write a new blog post. Though I did post more on all of the social media accounts, I found a lack of inspiration to relive some of the moments of 2021.
The year started off great with lots of hope and aspirations. Everything was going considerably okay for the first 700 miles of the trail. Not perfect, but i was learning and adapting to the trail. Then, I had two tragedies occur within the same week. One was the loss of replaceable items due to a fire. My truck caught on fire while I was driving down the highway. The truck was totaled and most of my gear was lost, but no damage was done other than a hit to my funds for my ride.
The other tragedy took a bigger hit on me than I believe I had realized over the past few months. I lost an amazing horse to acute colitis. It was tragic, unexpected and heartbreaking. One day Malana was feeling great, and the very next day she was in an equine medical center in critical condition.
The tragedy was not a result of the trail. She was actually off trail for almost a month before she got sick. She spent a week at the medical center, and her levels were starting to look normal again. I talked to one of the vets on a Friday about her coming back home sometime next week, but she passed in the night on Sunday. The autopsy showed a lot of hemorrhaging and blood clots in the colon. There are many unanswered questions, but the only thing that is clear is that it was a true tragedy.
This horse had so much potential. I asked her to do a lot, and she pulled through every time. I was excited for her future. I thought she was going to make the best kids horse after the trail because she had the sweetest personality and such a great mind. She loved to just lay her head in your arms, and she would be anybody’s best friend if you offered her a carrot. Then, out of nowhere… she was gone.
Makani mourned too. She was close to Malana, and she would call for her when they were separated on the trip. Malana never came back home, and Makani was sad. Even an animal body worker that had no knowledge of the recent events mentioned that Makani could benefit from some body/energy work because she was depressed. I drove back to Texas to pick up my other horse Daya.
To no surprise, my plans to ride the Pacific Crest Trail were cut short.
There is no way to express my gratitude and thankfulness to those who supported me before the ride by purchasing shirts and helping with some of the gear costs. To those that went above and beyond by helping with the times I was on trail – from providing a safe place for me and my horses to stay, donating hay, and offering rides so that I could move my trail around or get my horses off trail. Thank you so much! I could not have ridden Southern California without all of you.
Thank you to everyone who sent words of support and donated and/or bought shirts to help me cover costs of the outstanding vet bill. You lifted a weight off my shoulders during a very hard time, and I cannot put it in words how much this meant to me. I just hope that one day I will be able to pay it forward to others. The kindness that I was shown from family, friends, and strangers was unlike any other I have experienced.
Many people have asked me, “what is next?” I sure would like to know, as well!
Here are some things that I am working toward:
- I am not planning another thru-ride attempt along the PCT, but I do have hopes to ride another section this Summer. I am not sure a “true” thru-ride – a consecutive, backcountry ride that is completed in a single season – will happen. The PCT is tough, my friends… it is a tough trail! At the moment, I do not have a plan to attempt a full thru-ride again. I do know that I would like to finish riding every section of the PCT as time and life allows it. One or two months on trail here and there sound very doable.
- I have decided to put my focus back into my studies for this year, and I have enrolled in a software engineering program. It is something that I am really looking forward to completing! I have been working in tech, but this is a slight career change to focus more on development.
- I am working on updating this blog to include my 700 mile PCT journey through Southern California. I feel ready to share my adventure online, and relive the memories.
Makani is doing great. She is thriving, and we have been training for the endurance season. I actually rode her in her first Limited Distance – 25 mile endurance ride last week. I hope to ride her in a few more rides this year.
I started training Daya under-saddle. She has been doing amazing, and handles most things like a seasoned pro! I have been slowly conditioning her for endurance, and I think she might get a chance to get out on the backcountry this Summer.
I adopted another BLM Mustang. His name is Quinn, and I have been taking things very slow with him. He can be reactive and nervous around people. He reminds me a lot like Makani, but I have been taking the extra time I believe he needs. I have no set goals for him other than hoping that one day I will get him out on the trails. He loves to run around all day long and play with the other horses. He is extremely athletic, has great movement, and shows so much potential. I could 1000% see this horse thriving in Endurance once we get through to the mental side. I even had my first “sit” on him the other day.