Was this the ultimate experience? I guess I would have to put it pretty high, mainly because I spent so long watching westerns with my dad. Some of that ‘culture’ is bound to rub off, and there I was riding in the high country wearing the hat with a guy who would no more look at sheep than shoot his foot – proper man stuff this. Trouble is Angela got loads of photos and most of them don’t show the upright riding man that I was convinced I was, more of a stooped shoulder chalk dusty type that I might actually be – darnit.
We spent the kids school shoe money on this trip, but it isn’t going to happen again. Every one admitted that it was good, we got more than a humph from Jacob so that must have been good. We now all want to buy a horse, oh dear.
What happened? All we did was saddle up with Cowboy Ron and ride for 8 hours for a couple of days into some huge mountain landscapes where the only sound pollution was that of snow sliding of the tops (it had snowed the day before we left) and wolves howling in the night. The stars would have been fab too, but I was asleep. Yes I do have photos but they always put a border around everything, so squint in the middle of the screen with your nose 4 inches from the computer.
There were no ponies (this bein’ big country) so we were all on horses. Everyone managed, Louise looked tiny mounted up on Steel. Jacob had an indian style house while Angela had to help out leading the pack horse, Chocolate. Chocolate started on the ranch, then spent 3 years out and about in the wild but had recently returned, hence his demotion to packing bags. I had the best horse, Ransom, we got on well.
The first day treated us to fine blue skies. I kept on my long sleeves to try and stop the biting insects get too annoying, Jacob opted for the deet solution, now why didn’t I think of that? As we climbed the long sleeves were not a problem, 6000ft has a tendency to do that. Our riding companions (as well as Cowboy Ron) were a couple from Nottingham, David and Lynette. David, a cyclist had real problems in the saddle, no yoga you see. I told him of the magic of yoga as he walked fro a lot of the 14 miles or so that we covered. He seemed to be convinced by the 3rd hour. Mind after 8 hours in the saddle even I was a bit sour.
Cowboy Ron got onto tea straight away and with the addition of a little distilled medicine we were well on the way to recovery. He then served up super, cola marinated steaks done over the fire – delicious, the addition of cowboy beans and other vitals made an excellent meal. Just a touch more medicine thank you Cowboy Ron and I’ll be ready for bed.
The next day was not quite as blue but we were all up at 7 (ish) for breakfast and lashings of coffee. We were to go back the same route but I was convinced it was a different one, vista after view opened up before us. I began to be quite jealous for Cowboy Ron’s daily grind. The inevitable happened and it started to rain, a short lunch and we pushed on. Luckily David had found a way of riding that did not involve amputation. He seemed to be riding side saddle. It looked very much like riding the camels in India. Cowboy Ron led the way in a dark fug of contempt for his English party; first lamb and now this!
Just for the finale a thunder storm opened up for the last 15 minutes. The horses moved so that their head was down wind and tried to side step. Angela’s horse got spooked by a clap of thunder and was away. She hung on and managed to steer away from the road but in doing so pulled back on the reins. Back means back, the horse stumbled and fell backwards and off came Angela. Luckily she landed on the hummock that the horse stumbled on and only her pride was hurt. Blow me though but wasn’t this the time that a wolf would take the chance to run across the road too. We got back shaken and a bit stirred. It was good to be down but I do like getting up on the tops of the mountains.
Right, 10:45p.m. time for a slide show.