Monday, April 27, 2015

The Invasion of the Trail Snatchers

It has officially been two weeks since SRP started work on the power poles along the bridle trails where I like to ride my horses.  Today I rode out on my mountain bike to check their progress, and came home feeling anxious and discouraged.  Not only were there tractors, cranes, and other trucks for as far as I could see up and down the corridor, but I had to keep pulling off to the side of the trail or moving over to a different trail to avoid getting run over by trucks.  Men with power tools were working in buckets at the end of these cranes.  It appeared as if they were replacing the lines as well as the poles and the hardware.

Also, I thought there were only three pairs of power poles in the section of the desert I like to ride in that needed work, but now they are laying down more replacement parts for other pairs of power poles.  It took them so long just to get as far as they did with those three locations, so I wanted to cry when I saw them starting work on other locations where I ride.

But what really disturbed me was that I took a trail that was not anywhere near the power lines, and I ran into a post in the ground with a flag.  Usually, that means they are going to dig there.  This was one of the few quiet trails I could ride on, and it's right in front of my house.  Apparently, they not only have work to do above the ground, but they have work to do underground as well.  Who knows how long that will take?

Right now the trails are busier than the freeway.  I've also noticed that they've been driving the trucks off the trails and smashing a lot of desert fauna.  The coyotes are losing their habitat and spending more time in my back yard.  I saw one running from me when I walked outside, and could tell that it was in a panic, not knowing where to go because all those people and trucks were in the desert where it normally roamed in peace.

I even found some places where trees had been cut down to make room for the trucks.  This is so frustrating for me, because I specifically moved here so that I could ride my horses without having to contend with motorized vehicles.  But lately I've been stuck in my round pen.  I'm sure that this maintenance or upgrade or whatever they are doing on the power lines is important and will probably benefit me, but I'm still upset that I can't enjoy a quiet trail ride right off my property anymore.  I'd have to trailer the horses out, and that opens a whole new can of worms because none of them trailer well.  I got so tired of being stressed out by the horses hurting themselves once the trailer started moving that I purposefully picked a house (and overpaid for it) where I could ride my horses right out of the barn and onto some trails without the hassle of loading them into a trailer and driving somewhere.

This has been a really mild winter and spring with cool breezes and nice temperatures -- perfect for trail riding, but the power company ruined it with their cruddy timing.  I have no doubt that as soon as the temperatures get above 100 degrees, they'll finally pack up and leave, which doesn't help me any, because I'd like to be trail riding in the cooler months.  Sometimes I wonder if it's just time to find another hobby.

The longer my horses stand around in the barn, the more barn and buddy sour they get, and then I have to spend more money hiring horse trainers to give them tune ups once the trails are open and quiet again.  I often ask myself if it's all worth it?  Do I really have that much of a good time when I ride horses, or can I find that good time doing something else?  I recall a friend of mine telling me that when she first moved to Nevada, she bought herself a horse, but every time she rode, she'd nearly get into a wreck because the motorcyclists and ATVers and dune buggy drivers were allowed to share the trails with the horseback riders.  Since she couldn't beat them, she joined them, and sold her horse to buy a motorcycle.

I mean, if I had an ATV, I could not ride it on the bridle trails in front of my house where I live now, but I could trailer the ATV to locations where motorized vehicles are allowed to go, and I wouldn't have to worry about the ATV panicking and tearing up the trailer and itself in the process.  I wouldn't have to open up the back of the trailer to find a blood bath and then have to call a vet to save its life.

I wouldn't have to feed an ATV every day and clean up its crap.  If the ATV meets up with a rattlesnake, the ATV wins.  I can always mount an ATV without it evading me.  I don't have to circle it to a stop so that I can lean over and get my other boot in the stirrup.  ATVs don't spook, spin and bolt when a breeze rustles some branches beside them.  They don't kick and bite each other if you park them too close to each other.  They don't balk and refuse to cross rivers and roads.

On the other hand, ATVs aren't as quiet as horses.  They don't hug you back when you hug them.  They don't greet you each morning with a nuzzle of the muzzle.  They aren't as beautiful as horses.  Anyone can figure out how to drive an ATV, but not everyone can figure out how to ride a horse.  Yes, I think something would be lacking in my life if I traded in my horses for motorized recreational vehicles.  I just wish I could have my space back to ride my horses safely.  Spring will be gone soon and summer is waiting in the wings to set us on fire.