IT WAS A beautiful sunny day Sept. 30 when I swung by the 18th annual Audubon center’s River Festival at Sequim’s Railroad Bridge Park.
While I enjoyed perusing through all the informational booths, I was there specifically to check out the local Peninsula Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen of Washington’s kiosk and information booth.
When I first arrived, I felt happy inside to receive a happy greeting from member Annette Hanson.
She was among the many who volunteered to direct traffic at the jam-packed event.
Naturally, because they brought livestock with them, the Back Country group was assigned an area across a field and away from the main drag.
As I sauntered over, I received another cheerful greeting from chapter events coordinator Linda Morin.
Happiness is contagious, don’t you know, so by now, I was feeling quite chipper and happy myself.
Morin was running around coordinating all the informational posters, the volunteers who manned them, along with the horse, mule and mini-donkey demonstrations about trail riding and using pack animals in the Olympic Mountains.
At the chapter’s welcoming booth, I got a kick out of seeing images of the U.S. Forest Service’s Woodsy Owl.
You remember him, right?
The little owl was hooting, “Give a hoot, don’t pollute.”
It seems member Tom Mix collected much of the memorabilia after he heard the Park Service was no longer using the Woodsy Owl advertising program and were throwing out promotional items.
He took home all he could find.
I have fond memories myself of the many Woodsy Owl posters and commercials that had him saying, “Give a hoot, don’t pollute.”
Especially so in 1978 when I was working at the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Park in Pleasant Grove, Utah.
A large part of my job was picking up the trash alongside the roads and campsites left by visiting tourists.
When I was on trash detail, I took Woodsy’s words to heart.
While the rest of the crew was content to walk the roadside picking up trash, I was climbing down and up the steep mountainside.
It seemed hunters were considered the worst offenders when it came to throwing trash and cigarette butts out their car windows while driving or leaving them around their campsites.
So you can see why I really appreciated seeing chapter member Judy Sage educating visitors on the Leave No Trace program, with its slogan, “Pack it in, pack it out.”
Master trail blazers and forest bridge builders Del Sage and Mix were on their horses and leading their mules outfitted with pack saddles and gear.
Del Sage had designed and welded together a nifty little metal stand that attached to a pack saddle and securely carried his chain saw.
I heard Susan King and Kat Sample answering questions and letting the children pet Sample’s miniature donkeys Murphy and Smokey Joe.
Lastly, I came across Beth Blay riding her big palomino. She was discussing how to interact with horses on trails.
When she asked a group of Helen Haller Elementary School students what they would do if they came face to face with a horse on a trail, I chuckled when I heard student Mackenzie Worley impishly blurt out, “Hi. How are you?”
Because much of the BCHW Peninsula Chapter members are currently focused on improving the Miller Peninsula trail system, the Mount Olympus chapter has taken over hosting the annual Mount Muller camp-out and trail ride.
I’ve got to tell you, this back-to-basics group is who you want to be with if you enjoy the more secluded backcountry trails, along with Dutch oven cooking.
On the third weekend in September, about 30 members and their families set up camp at the Littleton Horse Camp at the Mount Muller trailhead.
Chapter President Larry Baysinger and his wife, Sherry, took charge of multiple Dutch ovens — all bubbling over with scrumptious dishes — for that Saturday’s after-trail ride potluck dinner.
In the evening, they gathered around a campfire and enjoyed guitarists Dave and Rosalie Secord performing singalong songs sprinkled with bits of their slapstick banter.
Seven of our local 4-H Senior Division games riders qualified to compete at the Puyallup fair.
As a reminder, in 4-H game shows, the emphasis isn’t on being the fastest or best; rather, it’s on how well you complete each task or maneuver.
For instance, in barrel racing, a blue ribbon is given to all who run a time of 17.99 or faster.
Slower than that, and if no mistakes are made such as crashing into a barrel, then the rider receives a red ribbon.
If mistakes are made, the rider receives a white ribbon for getting in there and trying.
• Cassidy Hodgin: Showmanship, blue ribbon and a return for championship class; keyrace, red ribbon; international flags, white ribbon; figure eight, white ribbon; poles, white ribbon (ran a blue ribbon time, knocked down one pole); and barrels, red ribbon.
• Ebony Billings: Showmanship, red ribbon; keyrace, white ribbon; figure eight, red ribbon; and barrels, white ribbon.
• Brynn Clark: Showmanship, white ribbon; keyrace, white ribbon; and barrels, white ribbon.
• Cassie Roark: Showmanship, white ribbon; keyrace, red ribbon; international flags, red ribbon; figure eight, white ribbon; poles, white ribbon; and barrels, white ribbon.
• Kristine Hanson: Showmanship, white ribbon; keyrace, white ribbon; flags, white ribbon; figure eight, white ribbon; and barrels, white ribbon.
• Summer Moroz: Showmanship, red ribbon; keyrace, white ribbon; flags, white ribbon; figure eight, white ribbon; and barrels, white ribbon.
• Madison Ballou: Showmanship, red ribbon; flags, red ribbon; international flags, red ribbon; figure eight, white ribbon; poles, red ribbon; and barrels, red ribbon.
Karen Griffiths’ column, Peninsula Horseplay, appears the second and fourth Sunday of each month.
If you have a horse event, clinic or seminar you would like listed, please email Griffiths at [email protected] at least two weeks in advance. You can also call her at 360-460-6299.