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My rig was meant to be better, stronger, faster than it was in 2012. OK, so maybe not faster. And stronger, not so much. But definitely better. So how is it that I am cruising down the highway with a door that pretty much wants to fall right off its hinges? (Me, Saturday night: “WHY. WON’T. THIS. STUPID. DOOR. CLOSE?!??” Me, Sunday morning: “Oooooooh…”)

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It’s tacked together now with some spare screws, but if anyone were to look at my rig closely, they’d see I am just as ghetto as I was back in 2012 when I had my fender bungy-tied together after a tire blow-out destroyed it. La plus ça change…

It’s still better, though. Seriously better. Mister Wayde Andrews fashioned me a new fold-down table that rests over the fender of my horse trailer. And, ta-da, over the door to my “living quarters” (when I say “living quarters” in reference to where I live in my trailer, it’s like someone having a tent and an outhouse within walking distance saying “my master bedroom suite”), and also over the new fold-down table, there is a new Shady Boy awning, which, when the weather turns sour, should render me marginally less suicidal than camping in the rain generally does.

I pulled into my first camp site at the equestrian camp at Lundbom Lake, just out of Merritt, on Friday, and had barely parked at the equestrian campground when I was scooped up by Dale, who rides these trails just about every weekend. So I parked, unloaded Pai, tacked her up, and set off with him and his friends Trace and Carl, for a little 3-hr ride. (I say “little”, because the next day, the three of them went out on a nine hour ride. Nine. Nine hours. With a 20-minute break for lunch.)

The terrain around Lundbom Lake is rolling grasslands – cattle range – and pine trees and aspen. The Chutter Ranch leases most of the pasture in the Lundbom Commonage, and Douglas Lake Ranch surrounds the area.

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On that first day, we rode through pastures rife with wildflowers – lupins, yarrow, vetch, wild roses, sedum, geranium, columbine, yellow lilies, and dozens and dozens more I can’t name but will have to look up sometime. The rocky crag of Sugarloaf Mountain looms over the landscape to the north. We rode around the back side of Sugarloaf, we had a panoramic view over the Nicola Valley.

- Trace and Carl

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The horse world is a small place, and around the campfire that night I met Michele, a farrier from the Lower Mainland who knows people I know and rides places I ride. Mountain bikers/dirt bikers Elo and Jeff were there as well, and Spy got nicely worn out by tripod Oscar, his old friend Lewis, Elo and Jeff’s guy Porthos, and their fat little bread loaf of a Pom whose name I can’t recall.

Pai and Spy near Sugarloaf

Camp and trail notes for horsey folk:

The Lundbom campsite is a nice, tidy BC Rec Site, well-used by fishermen and horsemen alike, with about 30 well-maintained corrals (thank you, Back Country Horsemen of BC) and many level camp sites with hefty picnic tables and good fire rings. It’s a dry camp, but you can haul up water from the lake. It costs a mere $12 per night for you, your horse, and access to virtually limitless trails (nine hours. NINE HOURS). The turn-off is about 8 km past the Tourist Info building on Hwy 97C heading towards Kelowna, signed, and on the left. Camp is another 5-ish km in, past two other small lakes.DSC_2574

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Trails are not really marked at all. I mean sure, you may see a random sign pop up miles and miles from camp that tells you what trail you’re on (I saw two signs in three days), but basically, you’re on your own. Have a good sense of direction/good GPS or ride with someone who knows the lay of the land.

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