Monday, May 18, 2015

Waterton Canyon

J and I adventured together yesterday, with a goal of reaching the dam at the top of Waterton Canyon. We were awed by the beauty of the canyon in spring and I was a little surprised that the water level wasn't higher, but very happy the canyon was open. (Although I have to tell you I had a couple of cut off the river and head to higher ground scenarios in my mind in case of a powerful Thunderhead up river. The forecast called for no rain, but this is Colorado, so I packed my new raincoat along with lunch and we headed out.

Ashke walked right on the trailer even though we had hauled out the day before. When we got to the trailhead he stepped off the trailer blowing through his nose at being somewhere new. I set him up with TC Senior and Amplify dry (I am tired of having slimy green mash dribbled down the middle of my back and wiped on the seat of my breeches as I try to get his boots on). I groomed him and then got his boots on. I'm beginning to really hate having to put boots on him. I know this is a product of the trim from my ex-farrier, and I know there is light at the end of the tunnel (Friday) but I am tired of the boots making him more uncomfortable sometimes than being barefooted. We struggled during our ride with moments of footsoreness, especially on the way home, due to traveling downhill. All I can figure is the down hill pushed his foot forward into the boot and pinched whatever he was feeling. His frogs and his soles are shedding and his feet are a mess. I'll be really happy to see what the new farrier thinks/does with what he has. I'm pretty committed to riding him barefoot, but seriously sometimes I think I should just throw in the towel and put shoes on him.

I got my stuff strapped on the saddle and swung up. We crossed the road and headed up the canyon.

 The first stretch of river.

 Ashke was not as happy as I was on parts of the ride.

 The canyon gets warm when the sun is out.

Worshipping the sun.

I thought this canyon was stunning in the winter, but it is magnificent in Spring.

 J said she could see the thought go through both of our minds "I wonder what's up there?"

 We rode by a small rattlesnake, which I heard and turned around to locate. Ashke and I were well out of the snake's strike range, back five or six feet. He was a couple of feet long, curled up under a bush, behind the roots that provided a strange sort of screen between us. Ashke wasn't bothered and I thought the rattler was pretty cute for such a pissed off little guy. I tried to talk J into taking a picture, but she flat out refused to even consider it when she realized I was teasing a rattlesnake.

 So we went on.

 Some of the walls tower straight up.

 This is the sluice way where T had so much fun throwing huge rocks onto the ice that was built up behind the sluice.

 Ashke really doesn't like bushes or large rocks. Makes riding in this canyon a very suspicious activity.

 There are three goslings in the grass. Parents were very protective.

 That big tree on the middle right of the photo, set next to the road, is the white one I took a pic of during the winter.

 Tail up.

 Ashke drank briefly on our way out and was not real crazy about the sound of the water once we crossed the bridge and it was on the other side. 

 He was about ready to stop and eat lunch. We will never make endurance riders. 

 The rocks in the canyon are incredible.

 The rocks in the river are pretty cool too.

 Small little waterfalls every where.

 The dam and our goal.

We stopped and ate lunch at the dam. Ashke got to graze for a good 30 minutes. We saw a big herd of Bighorn Sheep just up the road. We were tempted to continue exploring up the road until we saw the beginning of the Colorado Trail, but common sense prevailed and we headed back.

 Grey clouds blew in on our way back. I broke out the rain jacket for a short time. The temps in the canyon dropped by 20 degrees when the storm started pushing in.

 Ashke making faces at me riding with my feet out of the stirrups.

The full waterfall effect.

At the trailer, I pulled Ashke's gear while he munched on wet mash. I found a small piece of sole that had worked it's way free, which seemed to have been bothering the poneh. He was sound walking on the trailer and sound when I pulled him off at the barn. He got rinsed and squeegeed, a touch of Bute in his feed and Magic Cushion on his front feet when I turned him into his stall. 

We did 13.25 miles in exactly 3 hours.


  1. That canyon really is even more beautiful in spring! Loved the photos. That wide trail just made me think, "Gallop!!!" I hope Ashke is good as new after Friday.