Sunday morning dawned late. Both J and I were moving slow, as was K. We prepared a lunch, packed our bags and set out for the barn by 9:30ish. The plan was to ride the 14 mile Indian Creek trail. When I got to the barn it was a moments work to get the trailer hitched and loaded. We had a slight detour when I pulled Ashke out of the stall, but the rinse off at the wash stall was brief (there was no way I was riding without rinsing him off first - he had rivulets of urine running down his body). He loaded easily after that and we were on our way to TMR.
K and Eddy were waiting by her car when we pulled up. Eddy started to pull a little when he saw the trailer and I made a comment that he seemed eager to go. K agreed and decided to see if he would self load. Poneh trotted onto the trailer while the rest of us stood around and watched with sloppy grins. So much better than when we started.
We were at the trailhead about an hour later, which made it close to noon. We opted to eat lunch before setting out, while the ponehs were still eating their mash. Once that was done, we were just about to swing on when a camping ground attendant swung by to remind us to pay our day fee (we did) and to warn of a barn near Roxborough Park. Eeeep. Not interested in making his acquaintance. Then we set off.
My wife is a Rock-star bad-ass, but this trail kicked her butt.
Eddy did awesome. We only had one big spook and that was entirely my fault.
Little dude can go sideways in a hurry.
I honestly think this may be the prettiest trail we have ever ridden.
There was pine and aspen and a lot of scrub oak.
In some places the scrub oak formed a tunnel of sorts.
The trail is fairly challenging, but the horses handled it like troopers.
It was slightly overcast with rolling thunderstorms passing overhead. There was some thunder and lightning, but nothing that was real close.
At the apex of the climb, we turned and headed down the Forest Service road.
There was no way J could go on. Her legs were spaghetti.
It's unusual to find so many in one place.
The views were breath taking.
After we made it back to the trailhead by way of the forest service road and the campground, where we paused for a bit while K schooled Eddy. He was acting up a touch. We hadn't ridden far enough or fast enough to really expend his energy and both of us are working on control and obedience leading, following and do what we ask. Neither of them wants to leave the other and Ashke struggles when Eddy is in the lead. These combined problems led to rearing (Eddy) and bucking (Ashke), but we both dealt with the acting out appropriately.
We decided to explore the horse camp grounds and see what the accommodations were like. Each site has a double corral and a place for a tent. Some of the corrals have shade from nearby trees. At the far end of the campground we found the other Indian Creek trail trailhead and rode down it for a bit. It headed steadily downhill (which would mean an uphill climb at the end of the day for J) but the trail was not as aggressive as the one we took from the parking lot.
Ashke is not happy being second.
We went back to the trailer having ridden just a bit more than 4.5 miles. By that time it was after 2, so we stripped tack and sponged off the horses. K, J and I talked about how neither horse was happy to have returned to the trailer and then was forced to ride out again. That is something we need to work on if we ever want to seriously consider a 25 mile ride. A couple of women rode up as we were getting ready to take off and we chatted for a bit. They told us of a loop they had ridden that was 7 miles (J is willing to try to tackle that) and it has water (necessary) for the horses, plus several creek crossings. That will be our next ride up there, maybe in a month or so.
The other ride I have planned for the area will probably happen in September. I want J to drive us up, drop us off with the horses and then drive back to Waterton Canyon, where she will park and ride her bike to come meet us. K and I will ride from Indian Creek up to the Colorado Trail and then down into Waterton Canyon. It looks like about a 14 mile ride one direction. J will ride from the Waterton Canyon parking lot up Waterton Canyon (maybe with the boy) and meet us somewhere between the dam and the connection to Indian Creek. It could be as much as 16 miles for her, but the return is all downhill.