We decided to take the Forest Service Road to the top and then follow the trails down, thinking it would be easier on J. It still kicked her butt, but she powered through.
My rock star!!
Downhill is better, but the trail left a lot to be desired. The start of Steven's Gulch.
Mountain Trail Ponehs.
Doesn't Ashke look great?
Smoke from the fires in Washington and Idaho.
Such beautiful country.
There was a fallen tree with a leaning tree a couple of strides beyond. I got off and hand walked. Eddy just stepped over. So, I got back on and we went back so J could get video.
Video proof our ponehs rock.
J's "between Coyote's ears" shot on Steven's Gulch.
Perfect example of perseverance - K didn't give up on a very difficult horse and now he is a great, willing mountain trail pony.
The Steven's Gulch trail went down a lot - like all of the elevation we had climbed up.
The trail was really rough, with a lot of deep mud, rocks and sand.
J ended up walking a lot of the trail.
Another of the logs we stepped over.
Eddy stepped over, and Ashke had a small jump.
Eddy led for a while and Ashke followed behind on a loose rein.
Much better trail etiquette.
J lifting Coyote over another large log.
The Eds walking calmly over the large log.
It was taller than his knees.
Ashke locked on the log, picked up a lifted trot and gracefully went over the log.
He prefers a small jump over stepping over the log.
The trail was hard. Thick undergrowth and not intended for a bike.
Not really intended for a horse, either.
The trail in places was a couple of feet deep.
With thick mud in the bottom of the trench.
For about a mile, the creek was the trail.
It was beautiful.
It was great training terrain.
It was also what I would consider advanced mountain biking.
We did 7.75 miles in about three hours. J walked a lot of the Steven's Gulch trail (very heavy undergrowth and she couldn't pedal her bike). And by the time we started up the uphill back to the trailhead, she's was pretty exhausted. We did 1400 feet of elevation gain, according to K's app. Both horses were moving strongly when we reached the trailer, and finished strong.
J was pretty much at the end of her energy, which we fixed with cold gatorade and a snicker bar. We loaded up and headed home. The trails are absolutely stunning, but just like Buffalo Creek, it's a bit above J's ability at this point. We are thinking that the next ride we do, K and I will ride to Waterton Canyon to meet J as she drives around. Maybe the boy will come with us.