On a strange computer, with unusual configurations, not to mention so out of touch with my virtual world, and forging new paths in my real world...
My emails and Facebook are two weeks behind and too daunting to even bring up on such a slow computer with only one screen! That said, I will attempt to blog a bit. Organized as I am it is also hard to start the travel journal blog out of order, but if I wait until the "if/when" I get caught up, I may fall hopelessly behind.
We are currently at the Paria Canyon Guest Ranch (check out the web site--I still need to!), it is our third day and what an adventure. Our little group has grown from three people (Russ, Susan Neumann and I) and six horses, to four people (add Don West, The Don West) and eight horses and as of last night seven people (Holm Neumann, Jim Hannah and George ______) and ten horses. Yehaa!!!
Saddling up at the Ranch, we head to the BLM Ranger Station, cross Hwy 89 and embark on the most extreme trail ride to date through more incredible, colorful, cartoon quality country. There just aren't enough adjectives. But let me set the stage.
George is riding a two going on three year old gelding he is training, a cute palomino APHA (Paint) who has been ridden three times including today. Russ is on Mica (Morgan), I'm on my new boy Desejo (Marchador), Holm is on Pele (Marchador), Susan is on Peaches (Missouri Fox Trotter) and Jim is on his pinto (Paso Largo). Peaches is having a diva day and doesn't want to do a trail ride at all, let alone an extreme canyon endeavor. Susan with her new knee is using all her equine savvy to persuade The Peach. This is my 13th ride on Desejo.
George's little horse is doing a fine job with his second water crossing, until he goes for deep water...before anyone could say quicksand, they were in it. Unlike Susan and Cobre two days before who dropped like a freight elevator, George and the Paint looked like a movie version with lots of lunges and stumbles. Both came out dirtier but wiser.
Across the highway and through the gate, the Magnificent Seven set off into a movie landscape, a western or science fiction... The cliffs look like a wreck between a red paint truck and a cement mixer. One section has grey spires with brown rocks balanced on them. Anopther section is sheared away, like a glacier came through. Down another gorge and around a bend, and another intergalactic scene.
One narrow trail is so rocky and sandy, when George and his horse go down, some of us decide to lead our horses. Glad I did. Desejo and I both had some slips and misteps. He made it back to the top with a minor flesh wound on his right hind fetlock.
Another descent had us all scrambling through several different trail options. Peaches says "hell no, she won't go". Susan makes her confessions and tells me if she dies here on the trail, she'd do it all again. Well, that was a confidence builder!!! Steep, rocky, soft and sheer. Yikes, this is really technical stuff. Jim's horse gaits out alone...but Jim isn't far behind. I love my endurance saddle but wish I had a breast collar on and maybe a crouper (a roll cage and body armor). Another cinch check, all good. Great horse, great saddle fit; I'm a happy camper. Susan and Peaches survive to tackle the next canyon too. George lights up. Hey, where's the pony's treat? Naked mare's mudwrestling back at the Ranch?
Around the next canyon, we are rewarded with a monolith (need a dictionary) and a combination of sculpted sandstone and petified mudslides. The geology never ceases to surprise and amaze. Grey, pink, red, with a mist green layer here and there. Thank goodness Russ is taking lots of pictures, with my broken camera requiring two or three hands to use, as well as managing a four year old horse...I'm not taking many pix.
The Magnificent Seven has broken into pairs and singles as we explore and ride. Desejo is seeking safety in numbers and we have to do some one rein stops and backing sessions. Still...what a good boy. He has never done anything like this; but we will do more and more.
The Seven Ride Again, and we all touch base at the gate before heading back to the "Homestead" via several different trails. Desejo has two minor flesh wounds I treat after a sponge bath. Sweet, sweet boy. Mica gets hosed off as well as The Peach and Pele. Same with Canilla and Jim's horse (gotta find out his name). Quicksand Sam (palomino paint) gets some rest time while tied. He is an amazing young horse, quicksand and rock slides all in a day's work. Dang.
Well, time to share the communal computer after a quick proof read.