10.15.2013

Fall colors me happy ~ part 1 of 4

We returned from our annual Fall Horseback Riding Trip feeling tired and happy. The trip was fantastic! Full of all the things we dream of, and more. Instead of cramming every wonder spinning around my head, into one long marathon post, I'm going to break the days up. To reflect, and hopefully inspire, both you and I to do more of what fuels our souls.

The long awaited day to head north to explore the Nicolet National Forest finally came. We packed everything we could think we might need, and then some. Rain coat, warm coat, light coat - it's better to have it, then wish you did. In Wisconsin, Fall weather is anybody's guess - and you might need all three coats on any given day!


With the truck & trailer loaded we headed up to Iron Horse to pick up Koda & Nemo, eager to put the traveling behind us. We arrived up north to find our cabin just like we left it. Warm, clean and welcoming. The cabin is not really ours, but it feels like it.

The boys were anxious to get out of the trailer. Koda & Nemo seemed to instantly recognize where they were, before they even stepped out. We got their paddocks set up, with hay bags & water, and quickly unloaded the truck. We saddled up, and headed out - wasting no time getting out on the trail. It was mid-afternoon, and there was only so much daylight left.  


In years past, heading out on the trail was a much lengthier process. We would typically lunge, then warm up riding in the outdoor arena, and then head out. We started coming to Spur of the Moment Ranch when the boys were three, they are six now. What a difference a couple years makes! From being young bug-eyed, thinking rocks and everything else are going to eat them, snorting at everything, high-headed, random backing/refusing - to being generally aware and wonderfully willing. I am so very grateful, we have such wonderful horses in our lives.

All rides start out on the multi-use trail, an old railroad bed. You have to take it to get into the forest. We weren't on the trail headed south for even five minutes when we came upon our first ATV's. I thought "great way to start off on cold horses" not fully realizing how much our horses had grown-up. But you know what? Our horses didn't care about the ATV's this time either. For the past three years, all the four wheelers we have encountered slow down, giving friendly smiles or saying hello. It helps that the trail section we ride has a 10 mile per hour speed limit posted. Most of the time the multi-use trail looks like this...






...as we shuffle along my hubby notices something on the ground. Whoops, whatever it was I rode right over it. Brad double-backs, wondering what it could be? Turns out to be a rusty old railroad spike. Cool! I think to myself, I'll pick it up on the way back. It would make a great souvenir. 


It wasn't too long before we made it into the forest along beautiful route 64...where a mosaic of trees intermix. Birch, evergreen and hardwood co-exist in an ever changing pattern. A soft carpet of red, orange, and yellow leaves blanket the greenish paths. Some more pronounced then others. Brown leaves crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch methodically, as we walk along with a familiar steady beat... 




route64


...we round a bend, and everything changes from a golden yellow glow to a warm red glow. Sigh. Notice the difference in the trees...I am absolutely fascinated by them! There is no place I would rather be...




(no color enhancement)
 

...this first ride is pretty quiet, as we soak it all in. We get to the end of 64, and resist the urge to forge onto another trail. Getting lost in the forest in the dark, isn't something I aspire to do. Instead we turn around, and the shadows get longer...  






...looking up, the trees are sooo tall! Hard to capture height in a photo. 
Majestic trees tower over us, reaching for the sky, in all their colorful splendor... 







Funny how the same trail can look so different from year to year, add changing direction & light - and it's a new trail all over again! 


We head back to the ranch the same way we start, and get passed by another ATV. Nice guy, clearly a local puttering along. Wait - what is he doing up ahead? He stopped to pick up that railroad spike we saw earlier. Bummer! I tell Brad I was going to do the same thing, apparently he was too. Oh well, can't lose what you never had. 


The ranch is quiet. It's mid-week, and we are the only ones in the cabins. Koda & Nemo go back to munching hay, and we go out to eat to do some munching of our own. After the past rainy week, we are blessed with beautiful Fall weather and a great start to our trip! Tomorrow we head out and ride north...



3 comments:

C-ingspots said...

*sigh* I swear I was right there with you!! Absolutely heaven, I agree...such a beautiful trail and such a relaxing place to ride. And those colors - magnificent aren't they? :) Breathe in the cool, clean mountain air and feel your soul rejuvenated. I love it. We have an old railroad line turned trail, but it's not that far from the Portland crowd, so lots of bicycles, hikers and such. Mid-week would be much better I think. Can't wait to read more...

fernvalley01 said...

So pretty, I wish I were closer would love to take Johnny out for a ride with you folks

aurora said...

Lorie, we use vacation days (well, I used to...) and always start our trips during the week. it is SO worth it! When everybody is rolling in on the weekend, we are rolling out.

Sherry, I would love that too! We could make a Koda sandwich outta the two look-a-likes ;)