We left our little meadow to continue our climb up the mountain. It was an exciting day for us, as we knew that 11 miles into our day we could officially be called “long riders” as we would hit our 1,000 mile mark! We are super excited about reaching this milestone!
The switchbacks up the mountain were through the largest aspen grove we have ever seen. It was spectacular! Now aspens are great for carving your name in, and this trail was like riding through a hall of fame of past hikers. I’d never done this before- but I decided to commit the crime of putting graffiti on a tree. I wrote with a knife “R + J coast to coast on horses 2010.” Maybe we’ll come back in a few years and see what it looks like!
The entire day today was on a mountain trail and it thrilled us to the core. What a perfect day to celebrate our 1,000 miles! We even had fun when we got stuck for 45 minutes by 3 trees that had fallen across a narrow and steep section of trail. We couldn’t get around them so we used our “pocket chainsaw” for the first time and cut our way through the trees and cleared the trail. (A side note to my family- yes- it really is worth carrying a chainsaw in your pocket! It worked great! ) The trail was a bit challenging to follow, as it apparently was not well used. Out in this remote area of trail, I saw a nearby brown patch through the trees that I thought was a deer- until it took off and I realized it was a bear! It was really quite a pretty brown bear with a cinnamon colored back. Unfortunately, it ran away so fast I didn’t get the camera out in time.
We came out to a humongous grassy meadow up on top of the mountain and met some four wheelers there who gave us pure gold in my opinion- chocolate! I considered it a 1,000 mile mark celebration! The descent down the mountain was quite fun- it was a lot of steep switchbacks with sweeping views of the valley below. It was the first time we have been on anything even close to the terrain where we had the horse accident back in California, and Richard handled it very well. So did Tiska for that matter- though I did hold her lead rope out stating “if she goes over- I’m not going with her!” But we didn’t have any problems other than finding places to let 4 wheelers by that we had been h0lding up. We also got our first view of some red rock cliffs that we rode under as we got close to the bottom.
When we got to Circleville, we had no idea where to stay and no contacts. Water was not plentiful, nor was feed for the horses, so we literally rode around town looking for people who had horses, chose a “friendly looking” house and knocked on their door to ask for ideas or suggestions. Rather than directing us to a good camping spot- the Newby’s invited us and our horses to stay. I’m telling you, this country is filled with kind people! They are not few and far between- they are your neighbors!