10.16.2013

Fall colors me happy ~ part 2 of 4

In the mornings, I grab a cup of coffee and head outside to find the fire pit stoked and happy horses munching. I really enjoy the start and end to our day's up north. The smell of wood burning, the soft sound of our boys just a few feet away munching hay, the fresh nip in the air, and being all warm inside...

We used to bring muffins, but have since found a favorite breakfast spot called Four Season's. It's in a quaint renovated church. Like most everything up north, it's a family run business. When we go there, they recognize us and ask about our trail rides. If that isn't welcoming, I don't know what is. The reasonably priced food is sooo good & plentiful, it holds us until supper - perfect for riding the trails! 


As planned, we head north to take the trail marked by the "big rock". Which is pretty humorous, considering the area is known for it's big rocks - 'er boulders. We instantly noticed someone's been clearing this trail. All the fun logs to ride over have been removed, and deeper in some selective cutting had been done. I know it's good for the forest, and will eventually fill in...






...the northern part of the forest gets slickery when wet. The previous rainy week, left multiple puddles and water holes of various sizes. Some crossable, most not. There is mud, and then there is slippery mud - and this part of the forest has the latter. We were reminded of that when Nemo's back legs slipped crossing the first mud puddle we encountered. His concern about mud lingered for the rest of the trip. Can't blame the guy, it's unsettling to have your feet go out from under you. He didn't fall, instead lunging forward and crossing them safely.


There are a fair amount of hills in this area, and it didn't take long for Koda to get winded. Not sure why, we've been riding them consistently. I wondered if he was just being lazy & playing me? However I watched his breathing, and when warranted, erred on the side of caution. Needless to say we took lots of short breaks on the first part of this ride. At one point Nemo got tired of waiting for us, and suddenly decided they should go off the beaten path. Silly boy! Maybe Nemo knows how much his human loves riding off the trail? When our horses are being mindful, we will let them make some decisions. After all, it's their fun too... 





...Nemo & Brad riding way ahead...





...after a while the breaks were getting ridiculous. We walk 98% of the time. I could see Koda's breathing was no longer labored. The next break he asked for, I stopped and simply didn't ask him to go. We just sat there. Watching Nemo & Brad ride out of sight. Koda wasn't too thrilled. I told him if he doesn't like it, then it's his job to keep up!  Sometimes I think Koda understands English, because that sluggish horse I was riding disappeared for the rest of the trip. It wasn't too long before Koda decided to take the lead... 


...we came across some unusual things. An old girls bike was displayed up on a mound. The American Pickers in us came out, and we had a good time telling tales about the bikes history...




We explored several less traveled paths, where there are always turns and decisions to be made. We crossed a road, and entered a different section of the forest...





...someone was having waaay too much fun, when I tried taking blind pictures behind my back...





...I noticed the path was worn with tire marks. Eventually we came across something we haven't run into before - logging...






...thankfully it wasn't active. But it did raise a couple questions: Do we turn around and ride allllll the way back? Are we going to get in trouble, and more importantly, is it safe to ride through? I didn't see any posted signs telling us to stay out, so we took on new unexpected trail challenges. Challenges that raised more then questions, they raised our horses ears. 


Koda wasn't too sure about the stacked logs. He prefers his trees standing, me too. The further we rode, the higher the stacks got. He bravely led us through, and we rode around and over some challenging obstacles. At one point, we rode among towering piles of logs, and side passed over a couple huge logs left on the ground. We were very careful, and so proud of our boys! 







We thought the logging was behind us until we rounded a corner, and found gigantic downed trees, blocking a sloping curved downhill path. One, two, tree - I stopped counting and wondered if we could get past them all while going down a muddy hill. We decided to try, and our trusty mounts carefully took us down safely.




last few trees at the bottom of the hill


It wasn't long before we were back among a beautiful mix of birch trees, surrounded by cheery yellow. I love birch trees! They remind me of our years riding among much larger Colorado aspens...






...we saw sheets of birch bark, worthy of artful words, and singing birds high up in the trees. We were surrounded by natures golden glory. I couldn't help but take a silly selfie, just look at the colors behind me! 



no color enhancement

Recognize my hat? Kinda hard to see, but I know at least one person will recognize it! Know that if your a regular on this blog, you ride the trails with me...you guys know who you are.

This was one of those days to remember. It ended up being the longest ride of the trip. By the time we got back to the ranch, all four of us were tired. We fed the boys, cleaned up and headed out for our supper club night out - always fun & delicious!


Hoping the weather holds out one more day, tomorrow we ride up to the lookout...




5 comments:

C-ingspots said...

You look adorable in your pink ballcap!! :) Sure looks like you guys had a lot of fun on this trip - and what could be better than spending time in the woods, riding horses in the autumn splendor AND sleeping in a cabin and going out for meals!? Damn girl! That's my kinda trip! Those trails look perfect for rides with either Eagle or Missy because they're so wide and flat. Around here, our trails are narrow and always up and down, steep mountains around here. We are always on the look out for more relaxing terrain, that's why we like to head for Central Oregon. Your country is beautiful, and very different than ours. We have almost nothing but giant Douglas firs and cedar trees, and our forests are very dense by comparison. I bet your horses are having as much fun as you two are! And...I'm convinced that they understand our language. :)

Dreaming said...

Thanks for taking me along on your ride. I could smell the leaves and hear them rustle as you walked. How beautiful!

aurora said...

Thanks Lorie, you are too kind! I almost didn't post the selfie shot. I hate most pictures of me, this one included, but I really wanted you guys to see my hat (I stopped saving it for "good" and wore it on all three rides) and know certain horsey things remind me of my blogger friends. I have tent camped plenty of times, but these days I have no problem admitting I prefer "camping" cushy style!! This place just fits us to a T in so many ways!!

Dreaming, I am so glad you joined the ride! I love hearing from you & reading about your adventures.

fernvalley01 said...

Looks good on you girl! I knew it would! thanks for taking me along , beautiful country!

aurora said...

Thanks Sherry! It was fun taking you with on the ride, in more ways then one. As you can see, I love my Fern Valley Appy hat!