….. Continued From Yesterday……
So we got to the switchbacks and were wondering how these could be labeled as horse trails. They were certainly not for the average horse rider, though I suppose the average horse rider never comes up here anyhow. The first hair raising trail was across a rock slide. Not just any rock slide. It was, of course, incredibly steep, very wide, completely covered in boulder to fist size rocks, somewhat unstable, and wouldn’t you know it- the trail was ridiculously narrow?!
I love my father dearly, but he worries way too much. He’s not a man of many words, so he often expresses his care for my brothers and I in advice on how to stay safe in our daily lives. I often find his worries unnecessary, but this time, I heard his voice in my head over and over- “If you get to any drop offs- get off and walk.” Advice he gave after our accident in California. This time, I listened to him. I saw that trail, saw Tiska tumbling over an over in my head, and immediately got off Apache. Apparently I was more traumatized by that event than I realized. Now was as good a time to get some exercise as any- even if I was waddling in all my layers!
Richard, though, did really well. He intentionally rode over some of the drop off areas just to show himself that he could do it. He even pulled Satchmo behind him because he was trying to pass Tiska on the narrow areas. Satchmo needed more constant attention than I could give him three horses back. It was a day of victory for Richard- the first time he has ponied a horse while riding on steep trails, and he did so with poise.
The next many miles of trails were apparently unmaintained. There were many down trees we had to go around and under, and the trails were in desperate need of some attention. In many places, they were literally one hoof wide with deadly drops off the side. Apache was not in the best of moods, so rather than deal with him on such terrain, I did a lot of walking today. We held our breath across many areas, praying the horses would step carefully. There was certainly no turning around to find a better trail.
We made it down to the valley between ridges and decided it was time to find a camping spot. Our nerves were fried and another thunderstorm was looming. A successful day in the mountains- scary and memorable- but thankfully uneventful.
(more pics below)