So here we are: the main event. The trail ride through the Rockies of Colorado.
8450 feet above sea level. Which is nearly 8400 feet higher than we’re used to!
The weather was perfect – with brilliant blue skies and insane views that competed for photos.
What these High Country Rendezvous friends are too nice to tell you, is that I was by far the greenest rider in the bunch. Which means that I fully expected to be plopped onto a plodder (say that three times fast), and sent on my merry way.
Well, Baggins was a plodder alright (more on that later), but he also had a “head-tossing festival” as described by Bill and Juanita.
Let’s start with an introduction:
Mom on Timber, me on
Mane Flipper Baggins, and RockCrawlinChef on Gem.
(photo shamelessly stolen from Bill & Juanita’s website… sorry)
Little did I know the kind of terrain we were going to be encountering…
Umm yeah… our 9” wide trail with multiple switchbacks started at the grass on those rocks!
I can’t even show you pictures of the steep parts, because unlike King Julien, bodily safety outranks my camera.
Had to laugh at Bill’s technique for keeping Ranger at hand while checking cinches:
Man, I gotta quit stealing shots off Bill & Juanita’s site ;)
Notice my mom signing? Well GunDiva wasn’t exactly forthcoming with just how well she could sign. That chick kept up with us all weekend and made it nearly impossible to tell secrets at the dinner table… (but secretly I was uber impressed – the girl kept up her skills :)
This was just a few minutes into the ride. See the typical view I had from the saddle? My horse’s nose pointing STRAIGHT UP?!?!
So this was about the 147th head-toss for the “I don’t like my bit” horse (if you think I’m exaggerating, please feel free to check with the other bloggers in attendance)… but what could distract from the view???
Everywhere you looked, there were pictures waiting to be taken. But trust me, you won’t see any of the steep trails from my particular seat… I was too busy hanging on and watching the rocks slide down the hillside.
Ever walked behind a draft horse for a couple hours and watch the dinnerplate hooves dislodge shale down the mountain? Or watched those same massive hooves struggle for traction while boulder climbing?
Here’s my quandry: my head-tossin horse also liked to snack along the trail. Give the horse it’s head so you won’t pull back on the bit, or pull up every time it tries to take a bite? A steep slippery trail is the worst time and place for a green rider to give a horse a lesson.
Violent Nodder Baggins sure gave ME a lesson…
Trail Lesson #1 – if there’s a choice between a clear space and a large item, the horse will put you into the tree every.time.
Trail Lesson #2 – don’t get behind the “kicker” in the group.
Trail Lesson #3 – go pee before you saddle up.
Trail Lesson #4 – always bring a cowboy on the ride.
I can tell by your outfit that you are a cowboy
You can tell by my outfit that I’m a cowboy too
You can tell by outfits that we are both cowboys
If you buy an outfit, you can be a cowboy too.
was the highlight of the day.
Juanita swears that Ranger gets that face every time Bill gets silly. But the rest of us? We were howling. Giggling. Cracking.the.heck.up.
Though I suspect that RockCrawlinChef’s grin also had to do with possibly overhearing me talk to
Mr. Needs a Tie Down Baggins, “Eyes on the road please dude” every time we approached a cliff. I had no idea how much I talk to my horse until that day. Maybe Kona just obeys so she can have some peace and quiet? Don’t answer that.
See Mom now on
Mr. Snackin Baggins? We swapped out and I hopped on her big chestnut Timber. And cracked up watching her kick and kick and kick trying to get Plodder Baggins to keep up.
Once I switched horses with Mom, I just couldn’t stop giggling as I rode through the water on Timber.
My girl would rather jump over streams than get her feet wet. Having a bombproof horse splash his way across was a thrill. Heck, he could have taken me swimming and I would have giggled until my hearing aid shorted out ;)
The view back… Meeker looked close enough to touch.
We picked our way back to the mountain road
where Bill made extra sure to keep traffic at bay for us:
Considering that there were no cars nearby, this was highly entertaining… well, to everyone except Ranger.
And this is where I was rude enough to call GunDiva out for her sweaty and hairy butt.
She’s a good shot, but I don’t think even she can hit me from a few states away?
(Geez, what is it with the horses not thinking stuff is funny???)
For the pranks that happened after the ride… go check out what Bill did to GunDiva…eek!
For GunDiva’s post on our funny arrival, read here.
And for Juanita’s take on the ride (with more pictures I wanted to steal) – check here.
For a beautiful collage of the trip, see Killlashandra’s pictures here.
I can’t thank them enough for the wonderful weekend. We had a stay full of the memories that you hope to make in your lifetime. And would you believe it happened all because we share a love of these?
Anyone want to join us next year?