Sunday, June 14, 2015


Several months ago I purchased a couple of books about Horseback Riding Trails in the Front Range by a woman who had ridden them, taken pictures, and then wrote up little blurbs about the trails in these two books. One of the areas, Greenland Open Space, is the site of the Heritage Ride that the Colorado Horse Council puts on every year, plus, this year it will be the site of an Endurance Ride in October. The Heritage Ride is next weekend, but I wasn't sure of our welcome if J were to ride with me, so we decided to try the trail this weekend. After reviewing what was said online and in the book, we thought it would be a trail T could ride with us. Our plan was to ride to Palmer Lake, eat lunch and then ride back. Round trip would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 miles, give or take.

J and I would give it a two out of five stars.

Not real impressed.

Don't get me wrong, there is some beautiful country we rode through, but the two and a half hours in the car to get there and two and a half hours to get back (it's 30 miles from Chatfield, so why did it take so long) made it a trail we won't be going back to. The traffic was horrible. We went on a Saturday, in the middle of the day, and traffic going south slowed up by at least an hour and a half. Traffic on the way home was even worse. It added two hours to the drive on the way home.

There was a ton of trailer parking and the lot was really nice. 

It was very green and the trail was really nice. I rode without boots.

We came to a fork in the trail. The Park Ranger I talked to recommended going up to the top of the headland and then coming back around the edge. When we got to the decision making point, I didn't even suggest going up, mostly because I didn't want to upset T. However, in hindsight, we should have bit the bullet and gone up. Once you are at the top, the rest of the loop is downhill.
(Much better for the bikers)

It was only 81 out, but it felt like 95.

Black cows and Black cows with white faces.

It was almost all up hill. T had a great attitude until heat and hunger got the better of him.

There were mud puddles and T rode through them.
I don't think it had the effect he wanted.

There were some short scrub oaks, which were magical to ride through.

No Shade though.

We started having heat issues at about 4 miles, but we needed to press on so Ashke could have water at the Lake.

We hit the end of the Greenland Open Space and had to cross the road to take the trail on the other side. It dumped us up into this neighborhood area where J had to Mapquest the lake because it seemed like the trail went on forever. We did find it. And shade. And respite from the heat in the form of increased cloud cover.

We were all cranky and hot by the time we got to Palmer Lake, which was a real disappointment.
Ashke was happy though.

He kept eating the vanilla oreos I had out of my mouth.

He is a front pocket kind of poneh.

Palmer Lake.
Not very pretty. Not worth the almost six miles in the heat that we rode.

Downhill on the way home. 


T did walk one of the really tough uphills, then he blasted all of the downhills.

A little over half the way back.

I don't think he was pooping - I think he was swishing flies.

There were moments of deep sand and walking.

Pelican on a catch pond.

The last of the uphills.

Even Ashke was done.
We've done harder rides but I think the sudden heat and humidity was a factor in our over all dissatisfaction with this ride.

T entertained himself with the black cows.
They were intrigued.

T saw the trailer in the far, far, far distance and took off.
J went after him. 
 Ashke and I made our way back.

At the trailer, Ashke drank a little bit, ate four or five bites and then dragged me over to the trailer and launched himself inside. He was so ready to go home.

Two and a half hours later we had covered the 50 or so miles to the barn. He got rinsed and tucked away with his mash.

Glad we did it. Got the T-shirt. Won't be doing it again.


  1. I can feel your exhaustion over this ride just reading about it. Sounds like it was both mentally and physically trying for all of you. And that's crazy about the traffic being so bad on a weekend that it added an extra 1.5 hrs to the driving time! That's just like DC in the summer.

    The photo of T's expression after going through the mud puddle is hilarious though. :)

  2. Seems like a really hot weekend all over the place. Gem and I ran into some real bad heat issues ourselves this weekend. Your pictures make me really want to ride in CO. SC has some nice countryside, but all trails are mostly wooded or flat sandy lanes without any views.

  3. Glad you did this write up! Reminds me I really want to get in a ride there or at Hidden Mesa this week before I taper before Shamrock. It was hot this weekend, and weirdly humid feeling to me with all this rain we've been getting! Luckily, we had weekend plans so I had a handy excuse not to ride and not be a slacker. And about the traffic, I come in from highway 83 (Parker road) on the backside because I-25 right through there is hit or miss and kinda out of my way anyways. I'm thinking maybe due to the traffic on and off at the Larkspur exit (which is old, small and doesn't handle traffic well, it really needs to be replaced because that area has grown). The Renaissance Festival or any other events they hold there always bog things down in a area that already doesn't flow well for some reason, it always drops below the speed limit there even in good days. I have honestly seen people 4-wheel it off the side of I-25 to the frontage road there (and seriously considered it myself waiting on a accident once)! Anyways, if you even venture this way again email me and we should meet up at Hidden Mesa in Franktown. It's a great spot, nice views, the up would be a bit challenging for the bikes but once your on top it's great.

  4. Bummer on the lake not being better. T's got a pretty great moo!