Today I went on the American Wilderness Tour - a tour into the high mountains in a 1950's Army deuce-and-a-half 6x6 truck - with our youngest son. His job for the summer is driving for these tours; we had heard rave revues from him about the trail and the phenomenal views from the observatory at the top of the trail. Today, I got my chance to ride the tour with him. I already knew Thomas was a capable driver, but I've got to say, today he impressed me with his expertise behind the wheel. What these trucks can do is nothing short of amazing! I told Bill the only way I could explain the trail, was like taking our horses on the goat trail - certainly not for everybody, but any capable rider on a well trained trail horse in great physical condition could do it. I hope you noticed all the qualifications I injected into that sentence. The horse is doing the work, but the rider needs to stay balanced and understand when to stay out of the horse's way while he's doing his job; same thing with this truck. It was designed for this type of terrain, but the driver needs the skill to command it. This four-wheeler trail is not for the faint-of-heart driver and definitely takes some skill!
At the top of the mountain - 11, 489 feet - you get to climb an observatory for a limitless panaramic view. You can even see 150 miles south to Pike's Peak, plus all the mountains in between to Long's Peak. You are looking down on Estes Park on one side and the tallest buildings of Denver from another. We watched sun on the highest peaks and a storm building over the plains. Absolutely grand views. I have to admit, it was worth giving up an afternoon of riding to see - back on the horses tomorrow!
Mother's Day was a fun event here. Some of son Thomas' friends came up to "celebrate", using me in leau of missing moms in the area. We had planned a hike but the fog that day was so thick you could hardly see in front of your face. It thinned slightly and we decided to take a short hike anyway, so I gathered up the grays, Jesse and Washoe, put their bareback pads and halters on and we headed into the forest. I rode Jesse and a couple of the kids took turns riding Washoe; one had never been on a horse before, so he was pretty excited. Lee got some really fun pictures, one of which is posted below, of Ranger standing in the corral as we were getting ready. Thanks, guys, for making it a fun Mother's Day - and thanks for the roses, too.
It's been a while since I've had the energy to post. We just had our daughter's wedding here at the Lodge, and even though she did a great job keeping it small and in order, I was amazed at how emotionally drained I was after all was said and done. A friend of Jay's from culinary school stayed with us so he could do all the cooking for the wedding dinner and later, for the reception for 150 people. I did the wedding cakes (one for each event) and a couple of the sheet cakes as extras. We had a great time doing "the kitchen waltz", trying to stay out of each other's way, but it was a whole lot of fun! A huge THANKS go to all involved in making this a great event.
I borrowed a tractor today to "round up" the manure pile in our corral. You would think the horses had never seen such a thing. Ok, Ranger, not "the horses". Estes ignored me (she's seen it all). Washoe chased me around "Can I help? Huh? Can I? Can I?". Jesse supervised "You missed this one." But Ranger ran around like I was after him for 15 minutes. I suppose I was after him, as he was running around on the manure pile (I mostly don't follow him into it when I'm walking out there. I suppose he thought it was a safe place.). He gave it up and moved out of the way (finally) and just stood a little way off watching and giving me the "stink eye" for another 30 minutes. I don't think he ever "got it" and was just keeping track of me in case I decided to chase him again. Moron.