Stopping to stretch my legs and enjoy the beauty of a roadside park, I sit admiring a modern wooden sculpture of the Northwestern Indigenous Tribe’s version of the Raven. I hear two calling back and forth to each other in the tops of nearby trees. We have their smaller brother, the crow, where I live in Texas but up here in Northern California, Nevada and northward is where I begin to see the larger raven.
They are a mystical bird in the indigenous cultures of North America. A mischievous character, they are also the keepers of secrets which may come from their behavior of stealing objects that interest them. Crow nests can hold a variety of normally human possessions, such as wristwatches, coins and other shiny objects.
Today, his secret knowledge I hope he will share with me. Driving to the starting line campsite, I begin to get a taste of the type of road I will have to find my way on in these Sierra Nevada Mountains.
They are mostly roads cut by fire crews in order to fight the wild fires that are seasonal in this part of the country. Fire roads are dirt and rocks, sometimes hanging on the sides of the mountains, just wide enough to get one vehicle through.
By the time I arrive and we have found a good location for Cali and the big trailer, many of the Tevis competitors have arrived and are setting up their camps as well. Horses are unloaded from their trailers and walked along the road to stretch muscles and relieve a little of the excitement. Many of them have raced this trail before and because it is in their blood, adrenaline is high and they call to each other while crews rub off the road’s dirt and offer them water.
Tomorrow morning, I will get up at 3am, pack up and head to the first veterinarian stop at Robinson’s Flat. There I will lay out a tarp in a small, flat area and prepare for Tracy and Cali’s arrival after hours of being on the trail. I hope to see her coming up the road, out of the trees at about 10:30am or so. They will both be looking for me…