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

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Friday, June 25, 2010

First GPS Ride (Long)

As a graduation gift from my Mom, I got a GPS; something I was saving to purchase this summer so we could ‘track’ the trails across from us in Roosevelt National Forest. I finally figured out how to use it well enough (I thought) to try tracking with it, so Bill and I saddled up Jesse and Ranger, headed out and started wandering around the local trails.

We were only out about 20 minutes when we spotted 3 young deer just off the main trail, who thoughtfully watched us ride by. Love being on horseback so the animals don’t spook and run away!
We thought we would first just follow Trail 932, as it was the only marked trail, but we sort of got carried away, wandering off to the beaver ponds.

After circling them, we decided to have lunch at the confluence of Rock Creek and Fox Creek, which also happens to be at the base of the goat trail.

On our way along that very heavily overgrown trail along Rock Creek, we spotted a herd of 10 Rocky Mt. Big Horn Sheep on the side of the cliff, watching us. They weren’t bothered by our passing and Jesse was quite interested in what they were.

I’m sure glad we ride barefoot ‘mountain goats’, because these particular trails are really rough and overgrown from last year.

After lunch by the waterfall, we decided to go on over the goat trail, a real workout for horses and riders alike, climbing boulders and scrambling up steep sections. While crossing the creek confluence, we were ducking low trees at the same time as our horses were picking their way through and over downed limbs in the water! I started laughing as I remembered an article I just read in a horse magazine about teaching your horse to step over logs while trail riding. I told Bill we had forgotten to do that lesson before we started and he said that was OK because these logs were under water.  No pictures of this; our hands were too busy hanging onto mane and controlling reins, plus Jesse really likes to off-road on sections of this trail. She will choose rock over shale on the trail every time, so I am glad she is barefoot so I don’t have to worry about slippery metal shoes on the rock slopes. This horse will caterpillar up or through almost anything; Bill calls her the bulldozer!
 Enlarge this picture.  The spot of water you see towards the upper left quadrant is the beaver pond we rode through.  On the other side, at the base of this cliff face we are on top of, is the waterfall we were just at, probably 500 ft. below us.  The trail up is just off the picture on the bottom left.
This is headed down the other side of the goat trail; watch your knees on the boulders.  Notice the slant of the slope Bill is riding.  At the base of this trail we make a U-turn to get to the picnic area behind the waterfall.

The trail to the picnic area was also very overgrown and a lot of ducking and dodging was in order, but riding along Fox Creek is so pretty, it’s worth the extra effort.

After coming out of that area and passing by the regular Fox Creek crossing, we spotted the fattest Marmot next to the trail. It was a great day for wildlife. He scooted under a bush before I could get the camera turned on.

We continued to the farthest west end of the trail and headed up to the little lake, where we couldn’t resist a nap. Just so happens we had brought our picnic blanket along and the horses picked a really nice spot right next to the lake, nestled in the aspen grove there. They had a great snack and we got sunburned! I guess when you fall asleep, you should make sure the shade from the trees will still be in that spot an hour later.

I had turned off the GPS while napping, to save battery power, then turned it back on when we started riding again. I had also done this while we ate lunch. After uploading the tracking to my computer, I discovered that it worked great the first time, but not the second. I did it the same way both times, but the GPS had added a really different route to our path, then picked it back up again correctly, so I think it added a couple of miles to our trip. My guess is that when I turned it back on after an hour, it picked up a different satellite and the coordinates were slightly different until we got back to the same spot…unless of course, the horses stole it off my hip and went for a walk-about while we were napping. I just can’t see them leaving that luscious grass to do that, though.

Anyway, after I found a good stump to mount from (stiffened up immensely laying on the ground), we finished the loop around the little lake, and went back down the same trail, after Bill had rolled up some downed barbed wire crossing one of the other trails.

We then re-crossed Fox Creek on the west end, headed up Pinkie’s gulch trail, down to the meadow and back across to Trail 932 again.

Umm, I guess we sort of followed it for a while longer, then veered off on another tangent toward Alpine Mt. Ranch and finally home. We were gone 6 hours (one of which was sleeping) and covered more than 8 miles on some very steep and tangled stuff. The horses did great and I sure hope they weren’t as sore as we were the next day! We didn’t win any endurance ride stuff but I would challenge any horse to follow our course. It would make a great trail challenge course.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer Fuzz

  Today is the first FULL day of summer.  That means for the next six months, it will be getting dark earlier each night.  Great.

   Sophie the Lodge Dog gets brushed twice a day this time of year.  Each brushing nets me a wad of hair the size of a chihuahua. I tell her I'm going to save it and knit me a GOOD dog out of it.

                                            This weeks catch

  If she isn't brushed a couple times a day, we don't get dust bunnies, we get dust walruses.  They hide under the furniture, reach out and drag small children into their lair and don't release them til the kids are gray and fuzzy.  Good thing we don't normally take kids under fourteen.

  The horses have finally locked onto their hair and aren't dropping it by the handful any more.  Wish I could figure out how they do that (I'd try to keep a little more of mine...)


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Autobot's Birthday Ride

Our granddaughter "Autobot's" birthday is in March; not good for riding our rough terrain, so we promised her she could take a friend riding when the weather turned good. Finally, the day came (after 2 postponements for weather) and we headed out.
 Jesse wasn't sure about the extra, wiggly girls explaining she needed to follow that brown and white horse in front of her...and just who does that horse think she is being in front?!  Thanks to the Livery across the road for the loan of Gizmo, a wonderful little pinto who charmed grandson "Kyzzer" right to death on the whole ride.
Soon we were well on our way with a happy crowd.
How's this for proper equitation?  Once Jesse realized Dys wasn't falling off whenever this happened, she plodded along like the great horse she is.  The girls were so intent on their conversation, I think they forgot they were on a horse. LOL
This is 3 happy girls motoring down the trail.
After looking back at this view for too long (notice the leg out), I finally asked, "What's wrong?  Are you just trying that hard to keep your foot in the stirrup?"  The kindly wrangler had tried to adjust the stirrups to fit without going to the kiddie-ups, so Kyzzer was trying his darnedest to use them.  I told him to kick his feet out and enjoy the ride.
This is a much happier camper, sitting level and a big smile from here on out!
Happy belated birthday, Autobot!  Love you,
Grandma & Papa-razzi

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

Recipe: Blueberry Pot Pie

Bill said he was looking for Boiled Goat recipes, so I figured I had better beat him to this month's recipe. This is probably one of the absolute most favorite (except for the cookies) recipe at the Lodge. Juanita

Blueberry Pot Pie 325 degrees/45-55 min.

6c. Blueberries or 1 bag frozen blueberries, thawed
4 T. Grape jelly
1 T. Sugar
1 T. Flour
Mix together, pour into glass casserole dish.

3 T. Country Crock
1/3 c. Sugar
½ t. Mexican vanilla
1/4 c. Sour cream
3/4 c. Flour
3/4 t. Baking powder
1/8 t. Baking soda
1/8 t. Salt
Mix together until creamy.

1 ½ c. Pecans, chopped
Add to above mixture, then spread on top of blueberries

Bake 45 - 55 minutes in 325 degree oven.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

South Dakota Trip

Bad blogger.  Bad.

Juanita and I just went on a short vacation up to the Black Hills in South Dakota.  Neither one of us even took  our cameras out of their cases.  Not once. So I am forced to illustrate this posting by hand.

We loaded up the car with the dog and a couple suitcases and drove up to Custer, SD to visit our friends Bucky and Andrea who are running a riding livery outside Custer.

We arrived late in the afternoon during a rainstorm and spent the evening catching up with Bucky, Andrea and their son Jake. And we spent some time talking with Barney and Linda, the owners of Spirit Horse Escape, where the livery is located.

Tuesday the sun came out and Juanita and I went for a short one hour ride with Jack, the head wrangler.  Beautiful area.

We got back just in time to help load up a family of 4 kids (3 boys, 5-8 years old and their 11 year old sister) along with mom and dad.  Jack had lost his voice to laryngitis, so I went along to answer questions and tell lies.  Mom and Dad commented on his lack of voice, and I told them he was a "hoarse whisperer" (I crack me up).

Forty minutes into the ride, the kids had settled down and were finally comfortable on their mounts.  As we were heading back we had to pass within fifty feet or so of a VERY large Black Angus bull.  "The Boys" were hanging within a couple inches of the ground, and he was having a minor testosterone fit at being separated from his cows.  Snorting and pawing and bellowing and chuffing.   Just being a jerk.  I quietly worked my horse to get between the ride and the fellow, while keeping up a quiet banter with the guests in the hopes of keeping the kids calm.  "What is THAT?!?" asked the 6 year old.  "A cow"  I replied, and started talking about how nice the weather had finally gotten."Like HELL!" croaked Jack "That is one big @ss bull!!"  Thanks Jack.  "OH NO! WHAT DO WE DO?!" chirped a couple of the boys.  "Ahh, don't worry about him, he's just looking for a woman" I replied and we just ambled on by (I wish I could have heard their dinner conversation that night...).  We rode through "his" herd a couple minutes later and made it back to the livery happy and healthy.

  We headed home before another ride could show up.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

An Ominous Warning

A couple months ago I posted on my new stolen coat I acquired from a couple, both Florida cops.  I have just received a package from them, which I opened with some trepidation.  Inside was a letter stating they had just bought property in Colorado, and they may be moving here.  OMG!  They can bring their sidearms!

(Thanks again, Greg and Corey!)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Another Ride of the Week

Click over to this weeks Ride of the Week for the further adventures of the "Inept Cowboy Gang".

It was a cold and fairly miserable October day, and I had gotten roped into going on a cattle hunt for a ranch that a couple of my friends were working at.  "Come on!" said both Ham and Gary.  "It'll be fun!"  So we rode out into the national forest looking for fifteen or twenty lost head.

  Ham and Gary were well mounted on their personal horses, but I was on one of the horses that the "livery" branch of the ranch owned and rented out in their dude string.   "Oreo" was a ten or twelve year old black and white pinto, and not a complete waste of hay, but wouldn't have been my first choice of a ride.  After four or five hours of cross country riding in the rugged mountains looking for cattle, I was getting pretty tired of my borrowed horse and saddle, and was all too willing to stop when one of the guys suggested a break.

  We dismounted and I tied up my mount.  Ham and Gary both KNEW that their horses would stand "ground tied", so they just got off and just left their horses to graze on their own.  

   Now, any of you that have spent much time in the Colorado Rockies may know that the grazing is sparse, at best, in the high country (which is why the cattle were so hard to find) and a little traveling may be necessary to find grass. The two ground tied horses looked at one another and said, "Forget this, there is HAY back at the ranch".  While we stood in the freezing wind, we all watched the two horses wheel and head down the trail at a ground eating long trot.  Umm, crap.

  "See you later, boys!" and I untied my horse and took off in hot pursuit.  Okay- maybe not so hot.  I was still freezing my pommel off. 

  The trails in the high country are often old game trails that have been "improved" for use by the public.  Their path isn't determined by the views, or the shortest distance to the destination.  The trails are placed not so much by where you WANT to go, as where you CAN go.  Cliffs, steep hillsides, rock out-croppings, heavy brush and deadfall timber all conspire to keep you on the trail, and keep the trails narrow.  Narrow as in "one lane, no passing, you can't get around me, alrighty then let's REALLY RUN home" narrow.

  After a few miles of trying to "head 'em off at the pass", I finally got in front of the runaways.  They stopped and looked at me like I was some kind of jerk, trying to ruin their day, and I discovered my next problem.  As the horses had been standing "ground tied", their reins were left down on the ground, and as they were SO GOOD at standing ground tied, neither were wearing lead ropes or halters.  After their aborted bid to make it an an early day, they had about three-fourths of a rein between them, the rest having been pulled out of their bits by their feet (man, that musta hurt).

  Leading a horse in heavy woods can be a challenge.  Ponying a horse by its mouth rather than a halter can be a challenge.  Guiding a horse that is still excited from a bid for freedom can be a challenge.  Taking a horse for a walk beside your horse, because your lead is too short to let it walk behind you can be a challenge.  Leading a horse AWAY from home, when he has already decided that it was time TO GO home can be a challenge  If you add all these together, and multiply it by two horses, it gets really tough.  The sky was gray, overcast and snowy, but the air near me was blue. I'm sure that if the horses or any cute little woodland animals nearby could understand English, they would have been thinking "Nope, that's just not anatomically possible."  The Ham and Gary heard me coming nearly twenty minutes before I finally got back.  They had started a campfire, and were getting prepared to settle in for the night.  They seemed glad to see me, certainly happier than the horses were to be back where they started from.

   We had found where the cattle had gone down a steep canyon to get down to water just before the great escape, but now were losing daylight fast, and were out of time.  I had stopped and picked up the pieces of reins I spotted on my way back, so we cobbled together enough "steering" for the trip home, and called it a day.

  I was busy at the lodge, and couldn't make the trip the next day.  They found the cattle right where we thought they were, and brought them back without incident.  I'm willing to bet they never got off their horses that day.



Thursday, June 3, 2010

Barebackin' with Autobot

The Autobot granddaughter had put in her first day of work for us this year and was ready to go riding.  We decided to bareback on the grays around town.  We have a 1.5-2 mile loop that we do, so off we went.  Yesterday, GunDiva and RCC had come up for a ride but both Estes and Washoe were being more than a bit bratty, so instead of riding, both horses got to spend considerable time standing at the rail, saddled.  Not happy campers.  They were plenty ready to go out, with Washoe having been ridden at least 2-3 hours each day for the last 3 days.  I think he was just fine-tuned and raring to go...just a bit too much.  It's amazing how much they can calm down when they have to stand a bit.  Today, I rode Washoe and he couldn't have been more of a gentleman.  We had a great, albeit short, ride.  Take a look at this happy face.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lodge Breakfasts

   We serve a pretty good breakfast here at the lodge.  "Family style mountain breakfast" our ad copy says. We ring a brass bell and everyone comes down and sits around a couple big tables and we pass the platters of food around.  I tell folks we're not trying for the best breakfast they have ever had, because that should be the first one they had with their current significant other, that first morning together.  You remember, the one with the weak coffee and burnt toast?  "Yeah, the GREATEST, honey! "   We shoot for "Best Lately" or maybe "Top Ten This Year". 

   Rules for our recipes are:
1) Its gotta taste good.
2) Its gotta be easy and consistent to prepare
   And most importantly-
3) Its gotta make good leftovers

   We eat a lot of leftover breakfast foods, so our breakfast menu will often contain ... well... "different" foods.  Bacon and scrambled eggs are far less likely to show up than Huevos Rancheros and sausage cheese balls.  But when we do cook pancakes or waffles, we always cook extras.  Our horses love them.  I mean REALLY love them.  Leftover breakfast "biscuits" make them all very happy.

Beats the socks off of burned toast, right buddy?