We woke to a soggy morning, but the rain had finally quit. Everything was damp though; our sleeping bags, clothes, saddles, tent, horses…. We had a hard time getting out of bed- I mean tent. But the day was glorious. It turned sunny and beautiful- and one of the most beautiful riding days we have had on the entire trip since the beginning. We rode through forests of pine trees, groves of aspen that dwarfed the last grove that we claimed to be the largest we had ever seen. It was incredible and gorgeous. We were filled with pure joy and nearly moved to tears with the beauty and the reprieve from the desert rock and sand. Our hearts really do belong in the mountains and pine trees. That’s where our souls sing with joy and the part of the Lord’s creation we enjoy most.
In addition to the beauty and views to entertain us, we had fun reading all the engravings on the aspen trees. Aspens are known to have the perfect tender bark to carve names, messages, and love notes in. If done right, they callous over beautifully and leave a legacy that lasts as long as the tree lives. There were many names, hearts with lovers names, people who felt the need to carve their name on every other tree for miles, and we even saw Ole Lindgren’s name many miles from his home as well as one inscription from the early 1900’s. One traveler even carved an inspiring message- “go where no man has gone before.” It sparked my imagination and I decided to carve “Follow your dreams” on a tree. I’m turning into quite an aspen graffiti junky!
We encountered a couple more gates whose makers did not consider pack horses when they were constructed. We carefully guided our girls through as the sides scraped the edges of the gateway and barely- I mean barely- fit! We found our way down to a valley with a creek that actually had a corral too so the horses got to relax for the night. We’re in bear country now, so we had to hang anything that had a scent that we couldn’t fit in our bear canisters. We think we saw a glimpse of the Rocky Mountains in the distance, so that was an exciting highlight to our day!