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

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thou Shalt Not Eat .. and Obstacles and Monsters! (long)

Yesterday we had our first 'day off' in five weeks ... and we intended to spend it on horseback, so after feeding breakfast to our guests (and literally kicking them out at 11:00 a.m.), we had planned on a LONG ride - as in three weeks we will be doing multiple long rides with a horse group staying with us - and had not done a lot in continuing conditioning, for either our horses or ourselves.  Due to several surprise appearances of friends and relatives, including getting GunDiva's horse chiropractically adjusted, we managed to leave the lodge parking lot at 1:00 p.m., complete with lunches to eat at Calypso Cascades - our goal.

GunDiva went with us to exercise Washoe, her favorite Wonder Idiot, as she calls him.  As usual, they started off with a few disagreements as to what is appropriate feeding technique while on a ride.  (I know, he's 10, but he's still always hungry!)  Our other horses are allowed to snatch a bite as we go along because that's exactly what they do; snatch a quick mouthful without stopping.  Washoe has to bury his head in everything he thinks might be tasty; kind of like a salad bar.

This is what a glorious day it was!  Yes, you see a bit of yellow on the trees; it is already getting close to freezing at night at this altitude.
Along the way, GunDiva spotted a deer, who stood and watched us for the longest time ...
No, Mr. Daddy, you may not shoot her.  We are in the National Park and they know they are safe.
A little further along, GunDiva spotted bear claw marks on the aspens next to the trail.  This should have been a scavenger hunt - and GunDiva would have won by default!
Look, Washoe's decided to be a good boy and work well for GunDiva.  He really doesn't eat ALL the time.
He really showed his stuff when we got to the first set of stairs.
Jesse contemplated the second stairway - remembering all too well, I think.  Notice how pretty Mrs. Mom's halter looks on her.  Yes, Washoe has his on also.  Both horses like them really well, I think because they are so light and don't chafe under their headstalls.
We had such fantastic views!  It looks like we are going to walk right off the ridge.  More than a few times, GD was pretty sure they were going to go off the edge, accusing Washoe of walking right on the very edge.  All the horses did in some spots; haven't figured out why but they all did it.  In other places they would hug the wall.  I think part of the problem for GD was the lopsided wear on my saddle she was using.  When my hips were bad, I rode off to one side a bit and apparently the saddle reflects that, which caused her to feel like the saddle was crooked when it wasn't, and causing a tiny twist in her back (just enough to be annoying).
I know there are a lot of fires destroying a lot of our beloved forest lands this year.  Just a shot to show you that it will rejuvenate and become beautiful again.  This is one of our burn areas.... and the haze you see in the distance is smoke from the fires in the Pacific Northwest right now, which has come all the way down through the Rockies.
 Washoe deciding if the trail just drops off the face of the earth.  Such spectacular views, even with the new tree falls.
Jesse and I maneuvering one of the trickier down-hill corners.  OK, Jesse did all the work; I was playing with my camera.

 This was an interesting trail obstacle:  an uprooted tree that had been trimmed back to open the trail - with dirt still clinging to the overhanging roots.  We thought it looked monstrous and the horses walked by like it didn't exist. We finally got to the hitch rack at Calypso Cascades and are getting ready for lunch. 
Notice the look on Washoe's face; now notice the horn bag on GD's shoulder.  About 3 seconds after this shot was taken, he had snatched that horn bag off her shoulder and slung it 20 feet over the rail to Ranger.  We all roared with laughter because we were sure he was saying, "Watch this!  How do you like having YOUR food taken away from you?!"
We discovered a new tripod - Jesse's backside.  We wanted a picture of the three of us, but the horses wouldn't leave the camera alone when it was sitting on the hitch rail, so GD set it on Jesse, told her to stand still and she stayed motionless until it was removed.  The timer was set and ...
The Park is doing a lot of repair work on their roads this summer, making some of the favorite spots less accessible ... and our trails more popular, so the Park installed an new latrine, just a few feet from the hitch rail.
I know a few people who would have been much happier with one of these on our HCR ride a couple years ago.  GD even gave up some of her precious toilet paper to a mom and kids that passed by while we were eating near the horses.
A clap of thunder just before we arrived at our spot made us decide to go down the Wild Basin trail to avoid doubling back right into the storm.  We had just started out when we saw more damage from last winter's wind storms.
Jesse's ears say it all:  "Would you look at that tree?!"  It had been uprooted higher up the slope and slid down to the trail.  The Mustangs were certainly being tested on their 'sensitivity' on this trip.
Since Beel is in the picture, I suppose we should mention that he and Ranger tagged along, too.  Bill is already getting set for hunting season with his florescent orange stirrups.
This was the real surprise of the day; running into a couple of 'boulderers' with their drop pads strapped to their backs.  In our 15 years of riding these trails, this is probably the most surprised we have seen our horses of 'creatures on the trail'.  As you can see, Washoe is already well off the trail.  Ranger was off in the trees on the opposite side, where Bill felt a little safer from his future reaction.  Jesse was trying to decide, but she finally 'braved-up' and sidled past them when I asked her to "touch" the scary objects.  I think the guys were more fearful that she actually would try to touch them, so I was happy to just let her slide by with a soft snort.

See what Ranger puts up with?  I think Bill was celebrating not getting unloaded by the monsters, and played cowboy going down the stairs.
We finally got to the river and I was very pleased to see my horse who used to be very afraid of water, step right in like a pro - although he was in for a surprise later.
You see how much deeper the water gets for the second half of the stream; Ranger plods along enjoying the water.  Poor Washoe didn't like getting the whole bottom half of his tail wet, and he spent several minutes after getting out slinging his tail around and getting water all over us!
We figured that was about the last of the excitement and the horses were quietly walking along the final part of the trail.  I'm sure Jesse was half asleep when she caught sight of this....
a tree stump cut off in the middle of the trail and cross-hatched so it wouldn't grow back.  I can't tell you how many times she has seen/stepped over these things, but this one sent her skittering backwards.  At least she had the good grace to act somewhat embarrassed ... once she finished waking up!

All in all, it was a super day, with lots of unexpected surprises - especially the weather and perfect temps!  I hope you all can enjoy some end of summer times before this short season ends.
Bionic Cowgirl


  1. Thanks for taking me along on the ride! Beautiful pictures!!

  2. Absolutely stunning trails. Wow. Thank you for taking us along :)

  3. wow trails look gorgeous! and the views are absolutely stunning. Thank you for the pictures and taking us with you they are gorgeous! x

  4. We feel exceptionally fortunate to have such great trails to ride - and to train on. Our goal when we got the horses was to be able to ride them in as many federal and state parks (or any public lands) as we could get to. Our own trails have been perfect training grounds! We will gladly share anytime any of you wants to come ride our trails.
    Bionic Cowgirl

  5. That was wonderful and so interesting! Love the stream. I remember I ususally land on the other side of them. LOL. Beautiful pics.

  6. What a nice adventure, really good photos as well, perhaps thanks in part to the help of Jesse's backside tripod. Your horses are so beautiful. This seemed to be a pretty long ride being that your traversed through ravines, stairs, and water crossings; exactly how long is your upcoming "long ride" going to be?

  7. Thanks Funder.

    Marc, this ride was 5 hrs ride time and we covered 12.5 miles (not endurance speed, by any means!), although I will challenge anyone with the complexity of our trails, including beasties along the way. LOL
    The upcoming rides will be 6-8 hrs long and go up to the lakes in the area at an altitude of 10,000 - 11,000 ft.; we will be riding everyday so I want to give our crew a leg-up.

  8. Just listing to you tell us about your adventure at the lodge you painted such a vivid pic...Thank you for sharing! Can't wait to read more ... bringing MO back to CO through your blog ... PRICELESS - and relaxing!


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