We got a really late start due to an early morning vet visit for the cat, who needed a shot of depo for his allergies. It was almost 11:30 by the time we met K at Garbonzos for lunch, then headed for the barn. Ashke loaded easily and we headed to get Eddy. Eddy raced onto the trailer. I think he likes our adventures. It was about an hour and a half to the trail head, but it was a good thing it was late in the afternoon, since they had been running a century Mountain Bike race on the trails we wanted to ride.
The flies were horrible. I used all of the fly spray I had spraying the boy three times before we rode out.
Cute horse being cute.
J getting her gear on.
Tia trying to get her bike computer fixed.
We headed south on the Forest Service road from the parking lot.
Ashke moved out barefoot and sassy. His tail was up all ride.
You'd think the name "Nice Kitty" would be an easy trail.
(We met a guy on trail that told us to try this trail because it was easy. We were so not ready for the complexity of this area.)
A lot of the Nice Kitty trail is soft gravel and sand, some of it over slick rock.
The horses did okay, but it was pretty rough on J and Tia on their bikes, both up and down.
Both horses were sweating freely by the time we had made it a quarter mile up the hill.
Eddy was very sure footed and K is not afraid of heights, which was a good thing.
There is a creek crossing just below the slab of granite.
This was the scariest part of the trail. The path dropped sharply about two and a half feet down to the water. The last five feet of the trail to the water was slick rock at a very steep angle. With encouragement and a lot of leg, Ashke managed the slick rock and the water at the bottom. Eddy was not as excited about it and at one point he swung around and tried to climb the side of the mountain. I thought of Saiph and Lily's ten foot leap up the bank at one of her rides, and really hoped Eddy wouldn't try to climb the thirty foot then I saw Eddy overbalance and was terrified that K would lose her balance and pull him over on top of her. She managed to get him turned around and I got off to lead him across the creek. He did the expected and jumped, but was good about not coming down on top of me. I got back on and we continued on our adventure.
The trail was very beautiful and it was moderately warm in the trees, with enough shade to cool us off.
The trail wound up by those rocks in the foreground and by the time we reached there I knew we needed to turn around. It wasn't going to be fun for J or Tia with the kind of climb we were doing and the trail just kept going up. K and I turned around and found the bike riders pushing their bikes up the trail.
It was time to head back down.
I was really happy that Ashke was barefoot, since his hooves are more grippy than the gloves. There was a lot of small patches and a couple of big patches of slick rock.
The Forest Service road was great. It had great footing and the elevation gain was not horrible.
There was a lot of private property on the left side of the service road.
Eddy was pretty happy. He has really become quite the trail pony. At least with Ashke.
K has had some issues with going into "scary" areas alone, but I think they will resolve as he keeps going out.
The trees are gorgeous.
J having fun on the trail.
This was about the time we met a guy who told us of an easy trail called "Nice Kitty".
The trail pretty much went up. Not steep and not hard, but up.
The Forest Service road went along the creek, which was high. We tried to get down to it once and Ashke sank almost to his hocks in the mud.
We turned around.
We did some trotting on the way out, and a couple of brief canters.
It really was a beautiful area. However, I killed four horseflies that landed on Ashke during our ride.
There was a fire in 1996, and the distant tree bones on the distant hill top are the burn area.
J enjoying the ride much more on this trail.
Tia leading the way.
Access to the water
There was rock at the edge of the river, which allowed us access.
Ashke drank and then wanted to walk out into the water.
I said no. It was too deep and running way to fast.
We got out of the way and Eddy went down.
All he wanted to do was splash though.
We took a break and ate some snacks.
The water was awesome.
We headed back.
The bikes liked the downhill. K and I alternated walking with an extended trot.
Both horses powered at the trot.
Ashke was headed back with his tail still flagged.
Some of the best slab climbing in Colorado, according to the website.
We did eight miles or so.
Our next ride here, in three weeks, will be along the Forest Service road to Wellington Lake and back. K estimates it will be 18 to 20 miles, round trip.
On the map, it will be from the yellow arrow to the blue patch of water.
There are also some of the side trails we want to try, that aren't as difficult as Nice Kitty.
It was an hour and forty minutes from loading on the trailer at the trailhead to being unhitched, with Ashke rinsed off and put away. It will make a nice place to ride when temps in Denver are 90+.