Bill and Juanita, owners of Allenspark Lodge B&B, are living their dream...

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.



Sunday, December 30, 2012

Now That Christmas Is Over

I can *finally* share my bestest Christmas present ever.

Not for me, one I made for Beel.

Back in September, Rachel did a post/give-away from Atticus and Cole.  I loved looking through the embroidered pictures and a plan began to form in my head, so I dragged Jay along to the fabric store and I bought all the stuff I would need. If Atticus and Cole could do a piece based in Itty Bit's art, certainly I could figure out how to do some of my favorite of Bill's "fine art".

It has literally been twenty years or so since I've attempted any embroidery and I had to buy all new stuff.  I didn't even think to ask Mom, who has drawers full of floss and hoops and needles and stuff.  I am such an idiot sometimes.

I went through and picked three of my favorites and got started.  I'm hardly an artist, and getting Bill's art from the computer was a problem.  Luckily, I'm married to an artist, who did a great job of forging Bill's work onto the cloth.

Along the way, I sent pictures to Rachel, since she was the one who gave me the idea.  It's a good thing I did, too, because she was thinking along the same lines.  I owe her a big apology for stealing her Christmas idea for Bill.  Oops.  Sorry, Rach. 

I started on this one:


Bill is was notorious for falling off of Ranger
while trying to take pictures.
Finished:

Lucky for me, Mom and Beel went on vacation and my favorite story ever occurred.  As Mom was telling me about Ranger jumping into Beel's arms, I could picture this:


I told Mom that Bill had to illustrate his post so that I could do this:


By this time, I was pretty much over embroidery, but I still had one more bar towel to do, so I took a couple of Ranger faces as a start and morphed it into Ranger's favorite thing:

 
There is a video somewhere of Beel opening his present.  Jay and I couldn't be there because we were being quarantied for influenza A over Christmas.  Mr Nebalee took the video, but Facebook isn't being very nice and I can't see it.  If I can't see it, I can't steal it to post.  Which is a bummer, because I've been told it was good.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Post Christmas Tail






Tis the 'morn after Christmas, and all through the inn,
not a critter is stirring 'cause we're sleeping in.

When the phone by the bedside clanged with it's bell,
and I jumped from bed yelling "What in the...heck?"

The caller was Ida, boarding each and 'ery horse,
and if a problem arises, she calls us, of course.

"Some one driving the highway saw a horse out the fence"
Nita and I said to each other "Only Jesse's that dense."

So we jumped in our boots, and piled into the truck,
and drove down to the pasture to find the dumb...horse.

We found prints where a horse had jumped 'oer the gate,
and run down the road, but turned back none to late.

We hiked down the fence line following the horse track,
and found where it jumped to finally get back.

We trudged a bit further, and found our whole herd.
Ranger, Estes, young Washoe, and Jesse, the turd.

Bill


9:00 a.m. The phone rings.

B: “Hi Ida.” (Tone of voice changes) “Oh….we’re 15 minutes away. We’ll be right there.” (hangs up phone and turns to me)

B: “Ida said a neighbor called her. A gray horse was out on the road.”

Bill and I looked at each other – it could be none other than Jesse, who always had to prove she could get out of any fenced enclosure (even if it was 80 acres). We donned warm clothes, muck boots and pockets of horse treats, dashed for the truck (which already had their halters in it) and headed for Hwy 72 and the wayward horse. As we neared their pasture area, we watched for hoofprints in the snow, but saw nothing. We made a pass of the entire area and saw no sign of horses – inside or out. Hmmm.

We parked near the gate and walked in. OK, the top strand of barb wire on the gate was half missing, but it is cobbled together of many small pieces and one small section was knocked down. A horse had stepped out over it and followed our tracks from yesterday up the bank, across the road, trotted a short distance along that fence line and then returned to the road.

On Christmas day, we had brought four bales of hay for them. We saw them in the distance, but it was getting late in the afternoon and they weren’t coming when called. It was time for them to get back in the trees for the night; their normal routine when on their own.

This morning, it was obvious they had munched on the hay, but most of it was left. In my mind I am thinking that Jesse was just “tracking” us up the bank, and of course, lost our tracks when we climbed in the truck and drove away. At this point we weren’t even sure it was Jesse. If it was, she wouldn’t go far because she will NOT leave her herd behind, and Ranger will NOT cross barb wire, even if it is flat on the ground, without a person with him. Washoe, on the other hand, has become a real wanderer and will leave the herd to follow me somewhere, on a whim…and he has no fear of fences. He could just as easily stepped over the wire and just gone to play – but where?

We walked up and down the road both ways looking for more tracks, but a good deal of the road was melted down to asphalt, so unless the horse was walking in the snow on the side, there would be no prints. There were no prints going back into the pasture at this point, but since we didn’t know which way to go and we were sure the rest of the herd was still inside the fence, we started tracking the most recent tracks (we hoped; it’s not that easy to determine which direction a horse is going in fresh snow more than a foot deep, as the snow falls into the tracks as soon as the hoof leaves.) We came on one trail that looked quite recent and made sense – not just meandering through the trees and turning around to come back – that headed along the fence line from higher in the pasture and along a tree line.

As we hiked along we soon realized that one horse was staying very close to the fence and another set of tracks appeared on the other side of the fence. Ahaa! Progress! We followed that fence about .3 of a mile, noticing where the horse on the outside had gone ahead, then turned back at a heavily forested area, circled a pile of junk on the ground (which turned out to be a broken fence post and coiled barb wire), and jumped the fence back in. Now I was certain it was Jesse, and there were a few brown hairs on the wire, so obviously Ranger had been giving her grief for being outside the fence.

We hiked the rest of the way to a higher pasture, following a bunch of tracks now – running tracks. Someone was glad to be back with the herd! Soon we glimpsed them through the trees, and when called, they came right to us. Silly horses!

Jesse had a couple spots of blood on her lower front legs; it had to be barb wire punctures. I found three spots; each had bled a little and already closed up, so I opted to just leave them alone. I know it sounds lax, but our guys have such great immunities from being wild, that unless a wound needs vet attention, we pretty much just leave it alone. They were in lots of clean snow and the wet and cold is the best I could have done anyway.

We fed out all the treats we had, inspected everybody, played a bit, then turned back to hike out, leaving the horses sunning themselves on a quiet winter morning.
 When we were back on the road, we followed it far enough to finally pick up Jesse’s tracks walking/trotting along the side until she decided to jump up a steep bank to get close to the fence.

I’m always in awe of the power she has, because seeing the leap she had to make just proves what she can do, then later just popping over the fence from what had to be almost a stand-still. Wow!
I know this bank doesn't LOOK steep, but it's about 12-15 ft. high (see the 4' fence posts at the top?).  You can see how deep the snow was when she took off, drug her heels part way up and landed at the top.

On our drive home, we pondered why she would leave all that hay to cross the gate and go up to the road. I have no idea; it’s just Jesse. I figure the wounds came from the downed barb wire because it was obvious that was her takeoff point for the jump and would explain two holes on her left front leg; one slightly above her knee and one on the back of her fetlock. The third wound was just above the fetlock on her right front hoof. There were no marks or white hair on the top wire where she jumped over.

Well, we had planned on seeing them for a hands-on today, so it was great seeing them. But I would rather it be our idea, not theirs.

Bionic Cowgirl

Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas, Mom and Beel!

So, I changed their header.

I did.

You see, in November we went out for a ride and it dawned on me that it's pretty rare to see pictures of both of them riding together.  You know, because one or the other has the camera.  There's not much opportunity to catch both of them in the frame at the same time.

As we were crossing the highway, I glanced over at them and saw the cutest picture develop in my mind and then I was determined to get a good Christmas picture of them.

But I'm a terrible photographer.

And the header's the best I could do.

I tried to add some text to it, but I'm not nearly the graphic artist my husband is and I got all pissed off with the attempt and said, "screw it".  So that's why there's a lousy picture of Mom and Bill in their header without the Christmas greeting I wanted to put on it.

But they say it's the thought that counts.

So Merry freakin' Christmas, Bionic Cowgirl and Bill.  I hope you enjoy the blankity-blank thought.

--GunDiva

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Unforgiving

We have had a little over a foot of snow in the last couple days, and the temps have been in the single digits.

Cold.

The horses are out to pasture on a mountain side about 15 miles from us, and some of the neighbors by the land worry about "unblanketed" horses, and horses not getting hay often enough.  So, we promised we would take them hay if the snow got too deep.

Yesterday, we took a couple bales of hay to the gang.  We checked them out (no new ribs showing) and "fussed" with them all a little.  Then we opened the hay bales and spread the hay out some, mostly just for show.

Not ones to turn their noses up to a free meal, the herd started eating.

I approached Ranger for one last goodby rub, holding the twine in my hand.  He caught sight of the bailing twine, pulled back and  pinned his ears and gave me a MAJOR stink-eye stare.

Jeeze.  Kick a horse in the head ONE TIME...

Bill

Friday, December 14, 2012

B- Hey Ranger! How do you like the new digs?

B- Hey Ranger!  How do you like the new digs?

R-  Hello Beel.  This is a nice mountain side we are on.

B-  Did you guys find the bale of hay we dropped on the snow for y'all?

R-  We ate all of the hay Beel

B-  Why, yes you did.  Here are the strings.

R-  The hay is gone now Beel.

B-   There is grass all over the ground.  Say, let me make a halter out of these strings and we can go for a quick ride, Ranger.

R- Okay Beel.

B-  Tie-tie-tie.

B-  Let's go, Buddy!

R&B-   Ride-ride-ride.

B-  Alrighty, Buddy.  That was fun.  Let me swing my leg over your head in my "ultra-fancy-showoff" dismount and...

R-  BEEL.  YOU KICKED ME IN THE HEAD.

B-  Oh man, I am so sorry.

R-  WHY DID YOU KICK ME IN THE HEAD BEEL?

B-  Well, you have kicked me a time or two...

R-  NOT IN THE HEAD BEEL.

B-  Sorry.

R-  Okay Beel.

R-  But we are still out of hay.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

We've Been Elv'ed

We got home late last night from our adventures in Arizona to find this ....
... and this ...  the Lodge tree with the Christmas geese ....
... and this ... the stockings hung on the fireplace with care ....
... and this ... left over stockings in the library ...
... and the 'special Charlie Brown' tree, in all its glory.  Notice it has three - yes, three - trunks!

What a pleasant surprise, along with a neat stack of firewood and fresh cookies on the kitchen counter - and I mustn't forget the pretty bows tied on the poles (from the youngest elf) and a Christmas tree made from National Geographic magazines (from the older elves).

Thank you Nebalee and family!
Bionic Grandma

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Well, it's 42* and sunny here in southern AZ .. and I just heard on the weather channel that it was 20* and snowing in Denver, which means probably colder in Allenspark, since we are 3000' higher!  Our last day here and we are planning a ride to Ft. Bowie in the Chiricauhua Mts.  The guys are catching and saddling horses as I type this; us 'girls' are supposed to be packing a picnic lunch.

I just wanted to show you the fun stuff we have been doing.  A and I spent a couple days playing with Christmas chocolates - namely homemade chocolate covered cherries and chocolate mice. 


 We thought the kiddo would have fun helping with the mice.  Aren't they cute?  Did you notice that they were also disappearing pretty fast - but that's what they were for.
These will get to help grace Christmas platters in both AZ and CO.

Well, horses are being loaded in the trailer, so ..
Adios from sunny AZ.
Bionic Cowgirl

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Couple Days O'Freedom

Well, the horses have been loose on the mountain for a couple days now.  So today after our guests left, we went out to check up on them.
  Washoe met us at the gate, and the rest were right behind him.


All seemed to be okay.

After a couple bites of apple and some dried pancakes most wandered off.
Except for Jesse.



She seemed to have something to say to us before we left.

I think I've been insulted.

Bill

Friday, November 30, 2012

Just One More .... Then Gone

Yesterday was our scheduled day to release the horses for some winter pasture fun.  We were fortunate enough to actually find a really nice sized, treed, mountain side for the gang to hang out for the next 4 - 6 weeks.  But a certain Beel kept dragging his feet about bringing out the trailer.  When asked what the problem was, he said, "I really want to go for one more ride on the mountain."

"It's sunny, but there is a darned cold wind out there.  Are you sure?"

""Yep!"  So we grab the two boys and head out with just halters and bareback pads, on the premise of looking for our herd of Rocky Mt. Bighorn Sheep.  It was a great time once we got past the windy meadow part.

Then .... today we loaded up the whole crew of four - Ranger, Jesse, Washoe, & Estes.  We discovered that by removing the stall separators in the trailer, all four could just walk right in and stand side-by-side without even being overly crowded; certainly nothing like the sardine can situation that happened when we used to put our three horses in a two horse straight load.  And off we went for their new adventure.  They have never been in this area, although it is mostly across the road from another one they liked.... and only 15 minutes drive time from us, so we can hike in to see them weekly (or more).
video
It became obvious pretty fast that this was an acceptable area .....
video
We couldn't leave without giving them a good-bye treat.
video

Have fun guys.  I miss you already!
Bionic Cowgirl

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Black Friday Success Story

When any of our guests here at the lodge ask me what I did before we bought the lodge, I tell them I played the piano in a bordello.


It's just too embarrassing to tell them I repaired computers for a living.

When we came up the the lodge, the new great system was Windows 98.  And I haven't touched the inside of a computer since.

I think the kids feel I have fallen out of touch with the high tech world (the only text message I have sent was the letter "A" to my friend Amanda, by accident).

Well, I am going to prove them wrong this Christmas.

I braved the BLACK FRIDAY crowds today to pick up something for the four of them.  These are things  I have been hearing them (and many others) talking about. I don't fully understand why they are such a big deal, but who am I to judge.

I give you...........................................








They are going to be AMAZED!

Bill

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sometimes I Scare People...

A group of folks came the the door this morning while we were cleaning. One of them asked if she could show her visiting friends the lodge because she had been talking about it for years to them.

As they were coming in the door the neighbor's German Shepard, Ingrid, came running up. I hollered at them "DON'T LET INGRID IN!!"

All of the people came in except for one lady who stood on the porch with the neighbor's dog, looking hurt and bewildered. I said "Come on in." again.

"But I'm Ingrid." she responded.

Oops.

Bill

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hall Ranch on Horseback

  Earlier this week, Juanita and I hiked the Hall Ranch open space with a friend.  Almost the whole walk we were wishing we were there on horseback.

So, we did.

  We went with Compass, the gal that runs the livery across the street from the lodge.  Ranger, Jesse and Compass' horse Cinchy were the designated modes of transportation.

Cinchy is one BIG mare.  Ranger and Jesse were very polite the whole trip.
















One great ride.

Bill

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

On Foot

Bill had an old school friend come to visit for a few days, so we decided to go hiking - at Hall Ranch, an old favorite riding place of ours.  It was cold and windy up here so it seemed 'proper' that we pick a lower location, and it was indeed warmer and less windy.  We were able to hike in shirt sleeves; the temp was 47*.

We chose a different trail than we had ever been on, since we weren't on horses, anyway.  Lots of fun new scenery and the footing was great.  Of course, I kept thinking, "If only my horses were here!"  We chanced on deer several times, in groups of three to six.

L. really wanted to see if the Black Tailed Groundhogs were still in the higher meadow, so that was our goal.  We found the Groundhogs, but all signs about their type have been removed and they don't look true to the species any more.  We think some locals probably moved in and it's now a 'mixed race'.  They were fat, plentiful and happy looking, but only had a small black tip on the end of their tail, instead of a completely black tail.
We came across a couple more groups of deer and on our way back we found rabbits...
... but the 'piece de resistance' was this ...
... a Bobcat.  Actually, there was a pair of them; young, big, and fat.  They were beautiful!!!
Another hiker ahead of us was signaling to us; thinking he was seeing mountain lions.  We explained they were Bobcats, but he was still pretty excited...and so were we.
Bionic Cowgirl

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

With Friends Like Me ...

It has been brought to my attention recently, by our own daughter, GunDiva, that upon occasion we can treat friends a little 'mean'.  In October, a good blogger friend was kind enough to bring her husband and young son to the lodge for a visit.  We also had a group staying at the lodge, so GunDiva planned the recreational activities - mostly.  I decided that she, Rachel and myself needed a 'girl's ride', and that since we knew Rachel rode bareback at home a lot, it would be OK to hop on sans saddles and hit the hills.  Now three years ago, said girl had come to Colorado for our first High Country Rendezvous and got drug all over trails much more 'difficult' than those to which she was accustomed, which she attested to later by referring to herself as 'the greenest rider there'. (Very hard to believe, by the way!) 
Does this girl look that upset?
 So without even giving it a thought, we haul her out there again, this time bareback on that wild mustang, Ranger.  And how does she repay me?  After hearing of the plight of my camera on our trip (buried in the mud at the bottom of a creek), they present me with a super waterproof camera so I can continue photographic documentation for our blog.  What great people!

And just to prove to Rachel that she is not the only one I have picked on, today we just returned from visiting a friend out on the plains of Colorado, with the horses.  I met this friend eight years ago at a Mark Rashid clinic; she was the same age then that I am now.  We hit it off right from the start, maybe because we were the two oldest ones there - by quite a ways!  At the time, I remember marveling how wonderful it was to see someone that gung ho about striving to better her horsemanship - and I thought she was much closer to my age!  Now that I am that age, I don't marvel at it anymore; I just consider it normal activity. 

Six years ago, we invited C. to come ride with us when we brought the horses home from winter pasture.  She met us at the lodge to spend the night, arriving shortly before we did.  She was surprised to see all three horses 'stuffed' into a two horse trailer.  We unloaded them into their corral, then had a fun evening together.  We awoke to a blustery, windy day determined to ride.  To make matters worse, I put her on Washoe, a four year old at the time - still sort of green, but she was an experienced rider.  Right?  I found out later, I was the one determined to ride, as she does NOT like to ride in wind.  She went along so as not to disappoint me.  To make matters worse, we find out she is afraid of heights.  Duh!  We have just made her ride up a cliff face ... and back down it!  She blanched when she found out how old Washoe was, er, wasn't.

Today, I had to marvel at her again.  She has a young-er horse that she desperately wants to ride.  She purchased him four years ago, at the age of four.  He had only had four rides on him at that time (a lot of fours here) and she saw lots of holes in his ground work, so she started working on that.  Since then, she has had a lot of personal misfortunes - and with her other horses - and has not been able to ride.  Now she is determined to get back to riding, so we hauled our horses down to see if we could be of any help.  Bill did get on her horse bareback, to make sure he wasn't going to buck or bolt.  She's done a great job with him and he took it in stride. 

Bill also threw her saddle on him a few times, which he also took in stride.  Then she climbed aboard Washoe, bareback, to 'get the feel of it again'.  It's been closer to 20 years since she has ridden bareback, but it would be so much easier for her to ride that way, than throwing a 40# saddle on a tall horse.  She now knows what steps to work on with the horse, and what conditioning she needs to make it enjoyable.  That's a lot of first steps for them today - and they did a great job.

Oh, and Rachel, we got some great pictures and movies with the new camera, plus we found out C. is sending us some waterproof camera covers.  Bill will never live down losing my camera in the creek!

Thanks so much,
Bionic Cowgirl

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

All Set for the Hallo-day





Oh no.  Now what, Beel?




What is a hollow-ween, Beel?


What the hay?


Things look funny.


Horse Fly




I hate you.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Vay-kay-shun

This is Ranger.  The horse.

Some sleeps ago Beel and Waneeta taked us- the horses- and put us in the rolling shed for what they called a "vay-kay-shun".

Vay-kay-shuns mostly seem to be a lot of work for us- the horses.  But when we got to the far away place it was no work.  And it was only fun and eating.  It was good.

The far away place was called "Misery" I think.  I do not understand why they would call it that.  Riding in the rolling shed behind the stinky truck through "Kan-suss Chitty" and "Ain't Loo-is" was no good.  But when we got to the farm it was VERY GOOD.

You may think I am crazy like a dog but there on the farm GRASS GROWS OUT OF THE GROUND.  It grows EVERYWHERE.  No matter where you look there is grass.  It is the most good place ever.  The first thing I did when I got out of the rolling shed was roll and roll in the grass in our new corral.

  So much grass grows they ROLL IT UP IN BIG ROLLS SO YOU CAN EAT IT LATER.  I have never ever see'd such a thing.


Beel only sat on me for a little while while we went to another big field that was covered with grass.

 Then we- the horses- just walked around and ate.  Beel went and played with snakes and turtles.  Snakes I know and they can be bad.  Turtles are rocks with legs.  Very strange.  It made me very happy that Beel was busy walking with the people and chasing worms that bite and legged rocks.  I got to just eat and sleep.  It was warm and sunny there.

We did not stay in Misery very long.  Only a couple of sleeps.  Then we got back in the rolling shed and went to work in Kan-suss again.  Then we wented home.

When we gotted home a lady came and rided in the mountains on me.  She was called R-H-L I think.  She is a blogger like me.  She was nice and not as strange as Beel. On the ride there was not so much grass growing out of the ground here like always.

For the last couple of sleeps the white-cold falled out of the  sky.  Beel sayed we had "a foot of snow in the last couple nights".  He is wrong.  It was WAY over my foot.


The trees are moving so the air goes fast and it gets cold.

I think I am ready for vay-kay-shun again.  I liked being in Misery.

Ranger



Thursday, October 25, 2012

Eisenhower State Park-KS

I think Bill left us having just arrived at our friend's place in Cape Girardeau, MO.  My initial goal had been to ride the horses on/near the Mississippi River.  Well, we made it that far and L & B graciously took us in, pretty disheveled from spending three hours sleeping in a rest area about 1 1/2 hrs from their house, having driven over 10 hours to make our 'escape'.  The plan had been to advance to Eisenhower State Park to get nearer to our goal, camp there a night and continue to our friend's home for dinner the following night.  Upon arrival at Eisenhower, it was foggy and rainy; we had NO desire to try to set up camp in the rain and Bill felt rested so we made the decision to continue on and pull over in a rest area just shy of the MO border.  Did you know that you are not allowed to unload livestock at any rest areas in Kansas?  So we crossed over into Missouri, headed for a rest area just on the other side, shown on our trusty 2012 atlas.  Rest area?  No?  Our friends later explained that due to lack of resources, many of Missouri's rest areas have been closed down.  We kept driving to the first one we came to - that close to their place - but it was 2:30 a.m., so we pulled into the only spot left between some mighty big semi trucks, crawled into the bunk in the trailer and crashed for three hours.

Our horses are such great travelers; a little hay, some water and a few short stops to rest their legs and they stay in great humor.  We have a camera installed in the trailer, so I can turn on a monitor in the cab of the truck from time to time and check on them.  Imagine our surprise when we pulled into L & B's place, opened the trailer and found - a brown butt standing at the door!  Ranger loads first, so he is at the front of our three horse slant load trailer, then Jesse, and finally Washoe, with stationary panels locked into place between all of them.  I had checked on them 20 minutes before arriving and they had been in place, standing quietly.  How did Ranger get to the back of the trailer?  All four of us stood with gaping mouths and all three horses stood calmly in the trailer, but NOT where they belonged!  Finally getting our wits about us, Bill unloaded Ranger on voice command, we lifted out the panel that was now on the floor leaning between him and Jesse, then Washoe backed out on command, and finally Jesse backed out, leaving the last panel still on the floor leaning against the wall.  It could have been such a wreck had any one of them panicked; tangling their legs in the panels or just getting tangled up themselves, but they stayed calm and just waited for the unload commands.  I can't say enough about the great training methods we have been taught and the trust these guys have in us... and us in them!

All we can figure is that Jesse (who lifts wooden corral fences with her neck) lifted the panels off their hinges and let them slip to the floor.  The gravel road had been really bumpy and may have jostled one loose and she just 'fixed' them.  She does those things.  Anyway, they weren't the least concerned and had a good roll in the round pen that was set up for them.

It was drizzly Saturday, L is a cross country coach and his team had a meet that morning, so we just hung out and napped until he got home.  We had planned to be on the road this day anyway, so it seemed like a great way to relax.  Sunday we went to church with them, then headed out on a sight-seeing tour.  We drove down to the Mississippi River and walked the flood retaining wall.  They have painted the town side of it with murals of local history, making a cement wall really attractive.  This was my favorite of the paintings. Doesn't look like cement, does it?
We continued on the drive to Point Cape Girardeau, where we could get a good look at the local foliage, but look how low the river is!  All that sand should be under water.  In some places there are islands in the middle, causing a lot of difficulty for the barges delivering goods.
We decided riding the river was not a good idea and headed back to L & B's.  L offered to let the horses loose in one of their pastures so they could just run, eat and enjoy.  We agreed and headed out leading the horses, when I looked back and saw Bill.  This is the only 'ride' that occurred in Missouri!
See the cute little dog following Bill?  That's Dingo - who looks so much like Sophie that we often had to look twice.  They ran around the place together until they wore each other out; Dingo is a couple years older than Sophie, who's eleven.  While the horses were out we hiked all over the place; it was such a beautiful afternoon and their property is breath-taking.

Bill says he could live in MO, 'cause it has lots of play toys.  He got to play with a Missouri Black Snake, about an eight pound snapping turtle, a big box turtle, and a garter snake.  The six year old in him was delighted!!!  B & I picked pecans off the trees next to their pond, so I got to bring home fresh pecans, which are now drying on our counter - with snow outside the window.
This is some of the pasture on the back side of the barn; Sophie and I were walking out to meet the horses.  The trees were so pretty!  They had four different pastures like this; this one, the one above it and one to each side;the horses were in one off to the left of us, but they met us at the gate when I called them. It's a good thing L loves to mow, because in MO this could get ahead of you in just a few days from all the growth we saw.  It looked like spring here, except for the fall colors.

The next day we headed back across the state and into Kansas, for Eisenhower State Park.  This scene was along the way.
It took us about eight and a half hours to get back to the state park, but still after hours for the visitor center, so we found a camp site - still daylight this time, and sunny - put the horses in a pipe corral with our number on it and cooked ourselves a feast for dinner.  Since this was actually our anniversary, we treated ourselves to a movie, "Back to the Future".  Bill remembered that in the movie, this was the future date on the 'time machine' car.  It was funny watching what they had considered it would be like right now.  I think the only major difference being kids nowadays don't ride hover boards - but wouldn't that be fun?  We thoroughly enjoyed putting a disc in a laptop and kicking back in our camp chairs and having the whole park to ourselves.

The next morning we unhooked the trailer and drove back to the pay station, got officially checked in and was told we should stay through Sat. so we could do their benefit ride that day.  Bill and I just looked at each other and laughed, then explained to the rangers we were on a mission to avoid people for the week.  They gave us the heads up on the best trails, which had just been groomed in preparation for the ride, and asked for our feedback on anything they might have missed.  We only found one little snafu - signs pointing in the wrong direction from one trail to the next at an intersecting campground.  We spent some time hunting and back tracking until we located the trail.

We opted to do the trail backwards, as it wound around the edge of Melvern Lake, which is made up of lots of 'fingers', so you were weaving in and out along the woods at the edge and then ending with three miles of meadow riding. This picture is for Ranger's 'ear' album.

There were a couple of places that you could actually ride down to the lake's edge.  I was riding Washoe this day, so we left Jesse tied to a nearby tree, not knowing how the horses would take the waves with the wind.  Washoe preferred staying near the bigger rocks, as his feet would sink up over his fetlocks in the smaller rocks when the water came in.
Neither horse seemed bothered by being walked right up to the water, though.  I think they are now officially deep-water certified.
On the second time down to the lake, Bill ponied Jesse along with him and she marched right down and stuck her nose in the water, until a wave splashed her face.  The wind was blowing really strong, creating a lake's version of whitecaps.  Ranger was trying to figure out what they were.

There were intersecting trails and we thought we could take one of the short cuts back if the horses got too hot or we got tired, but we did the whole 10 mile planned ride, plus 1.5 miles each way to our particular campsite, in just under four hours again. The horses did great and came back as energized as they had left.  The new sights and sounds seemed to revive their interests.  I really liked that they had marked these trails with mileage markers, every half mile, so you had a good idea of where you were on the map (markers on map, too) and how far you had gone.  We are very impressed with the condition of the equestrian trails in the Kansas State Parks.
This was just another glimpse of the lake, over our shoulder as we rode cross country back to our camp, located on another arm of the lake.  We hit the showers, watched another movie and got ready to head back home the next day.  We couldn't have had two better ride days.  The 50% chance of thunderstorms that day never materialized, as you can see from the blue sky.

After putting over two thousand miles under our tires, we were excited to get home, as blogger friends from Washington state were meeting us the next night, to stay at the lodge for the weekend.  As you already know, Rachel and Mr. Daddy and IttyBit got to visit.  Wow!  A great way to end a great trip.

Bionic Cowgirl and Beel