Coming from the Rocky Mountain states where fire roads are all public access and you use the cowboy rule for gates- leave it the way you find it- we have had quite an education about how different California is! Fire roads on the map are just a tease- they are criss-crossed with fences, private property, locked gates, and cattle guards with no way around. Law suites and dense population have caused property owners to lock out all access. Thus, our progress has been slow- it seems we have had more stopping than going! We were even stuck inside a ranch we had acquired permission to pass through for almost 4 hours because we could not figure out how to get around their cattle guards until the owners showed up and helped us! However, God has granted us much favor and provision from the kind and generous locals who take an interest in our venture. Thank you to the Dunlaps for generously opening their home and pastures to us and our horses while they steadfastly worked on finding us the right contacts to get over the next mountain (covered in private property, locked gates, fences, and currently unopened public land!) We were ready to just ride the roads around this obstacle, but were advised to wait because these roads are narrow, windy, busy, and have no shoulder- not a good combination for horse travel. We also may be able to help them. It turns out that horse owners in the area have been trying for years to get various people groups to cooperate so that a continuous horse trail over the mountain can be made available. Local property owners and city directors in charge of the closed county property have been working together and are meeting with us this afternoon to “make it happen” for us! Since they have taken an interest in our success, we may be the ‘guinea pigs’ who get the ball rolling for the local horse owners! In hopes of helping the locals by paving the way, it has been worth a couple extra stationary days. It is also teaching us patience, as we have two or three more of these little mountains to cross before we finally catch up with the American Discovery Trail. Our progress has been slower than anticipated largely due to the accident and these logistical obstacles, however, after driving over the Sierra’s and seeing how many FEET of snow are up there- we do not need to hurry!
Another quick update on the injuries- Tiska is nearly completely recovered. She was given a free chiropractic adjustment and a massage, and Richard was also given two free chiropractic adjustments to help him recover from the accident. (Thank you to these skilled folks and their generosity.) Both are almost completely recovered and ready to keep moving! Apache had a small injury as well on our last riding day, but his leg is almost all better as well. It turns out this long rest was quite timely as well and it never ceases to amaze us how God provides for our EVERY need!
Thank you to everyone who has been keeping tabs on us and making sure we are ok. I will do my best in the future to send and “OK” message with the SPOT unit whether or not we are camping or resting so that we do not cause further worry in our dear friends- both old and new! Thank you for all the prayers- the favor and safety from them has definitely been felt. Lots of love from all 6 of us and I will share another update as soon as I have internet access again!