Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Escapees hit the trail

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:


There’s Bill on Ranger, Killlashandra on Rahja, and yours truly on Whiplash King Baggins.

IMG_5554GunDiva on Estes and Juanita on Jesse.

 Equi-Leah 112 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…IMG_5418

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:

Equi-Leah 144

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?!?!

IMG_5484 I had to laugh – that with four cameras on the trail, we had umpteen shots of of Bridle Slinger’s Baggin’s antics.

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?

Equi-Leah 155Killlashandra and I (also shamelessly stolen from Bill & Juanita)

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.

But Violent Nodder Baggins sure gave ME a lesson…

Equi-Leah 215 (Bill & Juanita’s photo)

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.

IMG_5468Watching Bill belt out:

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.

(bah humbug)


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?


Beth Zimmerman said...

I'll come play someday if we can ride on level ground (with a killer view) instead of steep trails! My fear of heights wouldn't have made it through parts of that ride!

Beth Zimmerman said...
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Beth Zimmerman said...
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Mrs Mom said...

**Waves wildly**

ME!! MEEE!!!! MEEEEEEE!!! I wanna go next year!!!!!!

Looks amazing Rachel. Just-- amazing! Glad you had such a great time. And I'm totally J-E-A-L-O-U-S over Diva's hairy tush ;)

Brandi said...

Way, way cool! The scenery is just amazing!

GunDiva said...

At least my horse is sticking up for me, being a little sad you're pointing that camera at my sweaty, hairy butt. :)

Maybe next year my sign vocabulary will return and my hands will get over their shyness. Thanks for not laughing when I screwed up a word or five or forgot the basics. It's so nice of you to say such kind things about my pathetic attempts :)

Can't wait for next year.

Foursons said...

I went on a horseback ride on the beach in Cozumel, and I hurt just from that wimpy ride. So I'll pass on this kind of a trek. Way too many leg and butt muscles are being used on that trail!

The scenery is gorgeous and I probably would have had my p&s for the trail ride. That way you aren't trying to balance a huge camera and hold onto your horse at the same time as you scale big cliffs. I mean really- you weren't going to risk life and limb for your blog readers? Come on, what kind of blogger are you?!

Kmama said...

Oh, I love that last pic of the horse. So beautiful!

I love riding, but I think that trail ride would be a bit too much for me!

He & Me + 3 said...

What a fun time. I have not been around too much so I had to catch up on all your posts. I dont' know any of the bloggers you met...But sure sounds like an awesome time. Love all the pictures.

Tina said...

Don't think I'll be joining you next year. What a crazy horse you had!! But I think it was worth it, the view is AWESOME!!

Lisa said...

Looks like you had a beautiful place to ride, and some great people to ride with. I am with Tina, i don't think I will be joining you next year, seeing as though I sat on a horse for the first time I can actually remember just this year (SAT, not even rode) and it lasted all of 5 seconds, if that. Soooo, I will wish you all a great time and cheer you on from home. But it is very beautiful.

Michelle Pixie said...

Looks like you all had fun! The pictures were great. ;-)

brian said...

Looks like you had a great trip! What fun...

Killlashandra said...

You know how big my butt looks in that shot right? LOL Every picture of me makes me wish I could go to the gym every day for years to come. HAH!

Nice ride indeed. :)

HeatherOz said...

I could definitely handle a trip to CO, especially in August!!!
I would love to explore on horseback but maybe some tamer trails. Is there such thing in CO?

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