Submitted by Tracy Sahagun
The Vail Lake endurance ride was a two day event this year. I planned on only riding one day and that was day two. We arrived at base camp a couple of days early in order to help ride management mark trail. The parking area was huge - you could park at least a hundred rigs with room to spare and there was plenty of water in base camp for horses.
The ride started at 5:30 Sunday morning, earlier than planned due to the extreme heat. The morning trail was great. The footing was nice, the trail was well marked and the views of the lake were beautiful. Water was plentiful on the trail and I was very pleased that my horse drank at every water stop. Lunch was back at camp where we had a hold for one hour.
Amazing lake views!
In the afternoon much of the trail winded through the camp sites of Vail Lake. You even ride through their stable area where you can rent horses for a trail ride. I was very familiar with this part of the ride since I had been marking the third and fourth loops for the last couple of days. There were many interesting metal statues that are along the trail. You get to ride by two dinosaurs that appeared to be fighting on the hill above the lake and an alligator along the shore. The fourth leg of the trail took you down into the Temecula area where you briefly ride in front of one of the wineries.
Interesting dinosaur statues.
This year the trail home took a different route which was much nicer than the previous year. We rode to the bottom of the dam and then popped out just above the lake. Riding along the lake was very convenient as it gave the horses an opportunity to drink from the lake shore. If you were willing, you could also take them into the lake for a nice cool down.
Dinner and lunch was provided in the ride entry. Not having to cook or hurry to make a lunch during the hour lunch hold was great. All of the volunteers were extremely nice and the ride was very well organized and managed. If you have the opportunity to enter this ride next year, I highly recommend it.