What is it about new trails? the new vista's? anticipation of what's around the corner? facing new challenges? I don't know, but oddly enough I'm discovering that I really like heading out on new trails. It's not like me. I'm more of a familiar places type of gal, not much of an adventurer. But out on a new trail, like the one we rode Saturday, I'm one happy camper - 'er trail rider.
My boys & I rode the outer loop at Governor Dodge for the first time! We've ridden other parts of this beautiful State park, and I've always wondered...and heard...and now experienced - the outer horse trail!!
We were able to forgo the first part of the trail, it saved us an hour, by taking an inner multi-use path that intersects with the remote section. We've ridden it several times. Why would we want to do that, you ask? Once your on the remote part of the loop, you can't get off. It's a long ride, known to be used by local endurance riders.
It was a beautiful summer day and the park was buzzin'. We did come upon a few riders along the trail, including an endurance rider running her mule. Koda found out it's not always ideal to be in the back. He felt their energy come up from behind, long before I knew what he was "dancing" about. Further out on the winding varied terrain, except for one group, it was just us...surrounded by nature.
We rode up, and up, once in a while we went down - but mostly up. Not sure how that works, but you felt like you were continuous going up gradual hills. We rode along several area's with steep drop-off's, the kind your just glad you're safely past. Some had large beautiful rock ridges, typical of the area. No photo's of these, they required my full attention. We were reminded of our rides in the mountains of Colorado, on a smaller scale. We took breaks, sipped on water - and soaked up the serenity.
|riding around the marsh|
We trotted a bit through prairie's, rode mostly in remote shaded woods, through a marshy area - and my favorite part of this ride...we rode above the dam. What a view!!
There was a huge pump, it got louder and louder the closer we got. Koda wasn't too sure..glad he was a good boy. We were really high, you just can't tell in pictures...
|view of the other side|
...and just like that, it was over. We rode down off the dam crossing, around the lake, close to the water edge....L.O.V.E.D. it!
Shortly after, we faced another challenge. We rounded a bend in the woods and came upon a group of five riders that had passed us earlier, sitting in a circle eating lunch. I couldn't believe my eyes, they were completely blocking the path. What were they thinking? There was no way around. Lucky for them we were walking our horses. They scooted to one side of the path, and sat all in a row - stating they were ready to watch the parade. Okay...we'll walk right next to you. Hoping our horses didn't step on them, or worse. Nemo didn't think it was funny, even tho they were being nice. Koda was just trying to figure out why the humans were so darn short!
There were miles and miles of tranquility, before we came upon another sticky spot. A small water crossing with water over a large rock. I asked Koda to go first, but he wouldn't follow my lead. Nemo wasn't willing either. It wasn't big or deep, but apparently was weird to them. Brad dismounted and led Nemo across, then we both rode across a couple times.
Nemo led on the trail most of the time. I frequently had to ask Koda to NOT follow his brother nose to tail, then out of the blue my boy would get his walk on. I always wonder what brings this on? I rather enjoy it, and as long as we don't get too far ahead - I let him go to town.
The outer loop eventually led us near the park entry building. I thought we were close to the end of the trail. I was wrong. It continued on, and we rode for another good hour. The last stretch was a path we've taken several times, and is the hardest trail in the park. Ideally it wouldn't be at the end of the loop, which is over 15 miles. Regardless, the outer trail now ranks among my favorites!
Much to Koda & Nemo's dismay, we came upon another what should have been familiar, water crossing. I thought Koda would walk right across the little stream. Nope. Ugh! Why can't he trust me? We had to wait for Nemo to cross first, then had no problem. Enjoy a short video clip (sorry about the quality) of my silly boy in the water. Turn up the volume. I couldn't get him in, and then he didn't want to get out!