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

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Rare Thing

Yesterday, Bill and I took some personal time.  Yep, even lodge owners occasionally need a getaway.  We live in such beautiful country that we can get pretty 'out-of-synch' if we don't get to see it now and then.  Now those of you who know us - or who know of our business - know it is pretty tough to get a day off during the main season.  We don't have staff; instead we have grandchildren who we use as 'slaves' (although they get paid) on most weekends.  They are a great help ... back on subject:  in order to have time to do something, we really have to close for two days; the first day we cook breakfast and do minor cleanup until guests leave at 11:00 am.  The rest of the day is spent doing chores which cannot be done with guests here.  This time it was replacing a water heater that had gone out last week, doing the normal grocery and banking.  Stuff like that.

The second day, we try to catch up on a little sleep.  However, that didn't happen as a local bear decided he could make an appearance in our parking lot - mainly our own car!  Now I tell people we have the cleanest cars in town because we make sure nobody leaves anything attractive to them in their car - so there have been NO instances of bear problems with guest cars.  Apparently, when we got home from grocery shopping at 9:00 pm, one of us inadvertently left the van slider door open.  We made sure we had all the groceries in; no food was left in the car.  Very early the next morning, one of our hiking guides was knocking on our bedroom door to announce that "something has been in your van; the passenger slider is open and the driver's side door is open - and it's a little messy."  Out of bed early (did I mention wanting to sleep in?).

We are assuming it was a bear as nobody actually saw or heard it; this is a pretty normal mess.  It was a kind bear.  It entered through the open slider, checked out the middle consul and exited through the driver's side door.  Now the amazing thing is, we KNOW that door was not left open.  However, there is not a mark, scuff or scratch anywhere on that door.  So ... do our bears now know how to use door handles?  We have decided that we keep entirely too much stuff in that consul:  3 flashlights, 2 pair of winter gloves, way too many napkins, some change, lots of sunglasses, sun screen ... you name it, we probably had it.  We did discover that whatever it was liked 'fruity' antacids, but left behind the normal, minty kind.  It also really liked the toothbrush that was pretty chewed up (maybe remnants of toothpaste on it?).  All in all, we were very lucky and will be much more careful about shutting doors from now on.

So, first order of the day was to pick up this mess.  The plan of the day was to take the horses on a longer ride; maybe head for a lake.  By noon, we were packed up with picnic stuff and on our way.  We chose Finch Lake, a nice little jaunt of 5.4 miles each way at an altitude of about 9,912 ft. (about 1500 ft. elevation gain).  We started out down the road toward the Allenspark Trailhead; I was riding Washoe and ponying Jesse, Bill on Ranger.
The Allenspark Trail was cool and inviting, but has some challenging spots.  One is a rather steep staircase (not shown) where Bill took over Jesse.
 When we got to Confusion Junction, we dismounted to give the horses a break.  We had been riding for about two hours.  The views from this are spectacular.
Mounted back up, we headed the last 2.2 miles to the lake.  I had Jesse in tow again as we went through some fantastic country.  We haven't ridden this trail in over six years, so it was a pleasant surprise at how well it had been kept.
There were a few rocky areas, but our guys handled them with ease, even barefoot.
And of course, we have our own version of trail challenges.  I really, really want to try a Competitive Trail competition this fall.  I just don't know if I can get the two grays up to it speed-wise.  The distance would not be a problem, nor the 'challenges'; but we don't do anything 'at speed' with our type of trails and at our altitude.
We did have to do a reminder training at a water crossing.  We came upon one of the creeks feeding out of the lake; maybe 10 - 12 ft. wide and about a foot deep, running quite rapidly.  Washoe was pretty sure he didn't want to get his feet wet.  There was a foot-log crossing for people to use, so I dismounted and tried leading him by walking on the log and having him step down into the water.  No go.  So I stepped into the water and then the lightbulb came on and he walked right in behind me.  I stepped back onto the log and finished leading him across.  By that time, Ranger decided he didn't have to; he just plain doesn't do what he calls deep water (over 4 inches).  I tied up Washoe, took Jesse from Bill and proceeded to ask her to cross.  No big deal - except she wanted to use the foot bridge.  Bill said 'no' to that so I asked her take the water route.  (She learned the foot log thing when she was very young.)

Well, Ranger, that leaves you.  After a few stubborn attempts at not getting wet, he decided it was best to follow Beel.  Beel got quite wet as he had to stay in the creek the whole way.  And to make sure, they crossed it several times!  Good thing it was a nice warm day.

An hour after leaving the junction, we arrived at the lake.
Bill spotted some ducks on his way in.  I totally missed them so I was glad he got some pictures.

 Here's a better picture of the lake, with Copeland Mountain in the background.
We had a nice picnic sitting on that log in the foreground.  The horses were snoozing at the hitchrack.
We rode through a lot of wild flower patches.
I threw this picture in just for fun.  Did you know a horse could bend their neck like this?  Jesse can be pretty determined when chasing a fly biting her.

We had a super ride day and came back pretty refreshed, albeit a tad sore from 5 1/2 hours in the saddle.  OK, most of my soreness is from taking a spill on the trail - not from my horse - from my own two feet.  Sometimes my rigid tailbone causes my feet to fall asleep when I ride for extended times.  The last 1/2 mile of the trail I decided to hike on foot;  Washoe seemed to be getting a little foot sore so I thought I would give him a break.  I dismounted fine, took about three steps and found myself sprawled on the ground with a  big white horse standing over me like I was nuts.  So I now have two bruised knees and a bruised elbow to prove that I'm not too great without a horse under me.  The rest of the walk to the trailhead was uneventful.  At the road, I hopped on Jesse bareback and rode the last 1.6 miles home.  When I unsaddled Washoe I realized it wasn't his feet causing the problems; he had gotten dehydrated.  The goof preferred eating grass at the water crossings when the other horses drank.  I will watch him closer next time.

Bionic Cowgirl

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hay There

B-  Hiya Ranger!

R-  Hello Beel.

B-  What's my horse up to today?

R-  I am still about fourteen of the hands.  Just like always Beel.

B-  No, I mean... never mind.  I've had a pretty busy few days here.  Sorry I haven't been around to bug you much.

R-  That is good Beel.

B-  A couple days ago I went down the mountain to buy some hay.

R-  My hay?

B-  Yeah.  I split a load with our oldest daughter.  It was 99-101 degrees while we were loading a ton of hay onto my truck and another ton onto their trailer.  Hot-hot-hot.  As I pulled away I was glad the truck has a working air conditioner.  But as I drove along, it didn't seem to be cooling off any.  In fact, I was getting hotter and hotter and HOTTER  and then-  SATAN'S SKILLET! MY ARSE IS ON FIRE!!!

R-  Beel?

B-  I really hate it when those stupid heated leather seats get turned on by accident.  It can ruin your...

R-  Beel!

B-  Yeah Buddy?

R-  Was my hay okay?

B-  Yeah, but some of the bales were kinda soft and the load kept shifting.  In fact, our daughter lost about 20% of their load on a "round-about" in one of the small towns on her way home.  Fifteen bales hit...

R-  But my hay is okay Beel?

B-  Yeah, I just had to tighten the straps a couple times more than usual.  So just when I got up the mountain with the hay, a lady from a near by town showed up at the lodge saying her car had broken down across the street and Juanita asked if I could give her a ride home.

R-  Did you take my hay?

B-  No Ranger, the truck stayed home and I took the minivan.  After I dropped her at her home, I started back to the lodge, when I saw another car broken down beside the highway.  I offered the 2 gals in the car a ride back to the lodge so they could call a towing service.  When I got back to the lodge, it looked like it was going to rain  before I could unload the hay, so I...

R-  Did my hay get wet?

B-  No, our grandson and I tarped the hay before we took the gals back to their broken car.  Their car only had 700 miles on it.  This was its' break-in trip.  Break down trip is more like it.  When we got home the grandson and I unloaded and stacked the hay.

R-  So my hay is put away?

B-  Put up just fine, Ranger.  The next day Juanita and I went into town to visit her mom, play with our daughters horse "Skeeter", and buy the weeks' groceries and some parts for a plumbing project.  We got home, unloaded the food, and then I stayed up late replacing a water heater that had started leaking.  You know, it drives me kinda nuts when I call them "hot water heaters".  They are "cold water heaters" and I guess it's just a pet...

R-  It did not leak on my hay?

B-  No, we don't keep your hay in the kitchen, even though it's food.  So it was after midnight when I finally turned the hot water heater... crap... water heater on and went to bed.  A little after 5:am this morning, the hiking guide staying with us knocked on our bedroom door and said it looked like a bear had gotten into our van and dug some stuff out of it.

R-  Beel.

B-  I guess we hadn't fully closed the slider door on the van after unloading the groceries and the bear had climbed in and snooped around for something to eat.

R-  Beel.

B-  Yes Buddy?

R-  Did the bear get my hay?

B-  Naw,  we don't keep any food in the van over night in hopes of keeping the bears out of it.  I do think he got a couple antacids though.

R-   Okay Beel my hay got loaded and did not burn up or fall in the road or get rained on or break down or get wet or get eaten by a bear.  WHERE IS MY HAY BEEL?

B-  Oh yeah, huh.  It's dinner time, isn't it.  Sorry, I guess I got kinda wrapped up in my story.

R-  It was a good story Beel.  I really liked the part about my hay.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Ballerina

You should always have a camera with you - even if you are 'just feeding the horses'.  This morning was pretty routine, except maybe the weather.  We've been having several nice, sunny, warmer days with afternoon thunderstorms; pretty normal for us at this time of year.   This morning was cooler, overcast, and a tad foggy - not much.  Anyone who has had horses knows what this means to a horse.  They love this.  As I was getting their food measured out with my back to them, I heard a bit of play noise.  I glanced over my shoulder to see Jesse standing on her rear legs doing a wonderful pirouette.  She used to practice rearing for fun when she was young; at about four years she had pretty much quit of her own accord.  It was never threatening; it always just seemed a joyful expression.  So today, at 13, she showed me she still had it in her.  It's always a good reminder that even though our horses seem to get pretty sedate as they age, they have the strength to still surprise you!

I understand blog rules state that if you don't have a picture, it didn't happen, so I talked Bill into doing the honors.
Bionic Cowgirl

Friday, July 4, 2014

Fan Club

B-  So Juanita, I see you have your horses over at the hitch rail so you can clean them up for the 4th of July parade.

R-  Heeeyyyy!

B-  Jesse and Washoe are looking pretty good.

R-  Heeeyyyy!

B-  But it sounds like Ranger is DONE with being alone.

R-  Heeeeeyyyyyy!!! 

B- Say, a family is coming across from the livery across the street.  Why, yes.  We are Bill and Juanita.  Oh really?  You follow our blog?!?  How wonderful!

R- Heeeeeyyyyyyy!!!!! 

B-  So would you like to meet Ranger?  He's lonely and having a fit over there.  Maybe your grand daughter would like to give him some carrots?  How old is she, 4 or 5?  Ranger likes little kids with carrots...

B-  Hey Buddy!  TREAT!

R-  Hello Beel.

B-  These nice folks wanted to give you some carrots.  They have followed our blog for years now, and stopped by to say hi.

R-  The carrots are good.  They have good tastes.

R-  I am glad the peoples like my posts on the blog Beel. 

B-  Now hold on... what makes you think they like YOUR posts the best?

R-  I do not see you eating any carrots Beel.  They gived them to me.

B-  Ah...umm...

R-  The peoples have good tastes too.