Friday, January 06, 2012

Death Defying Trail Ride

I saddled up Opal...the sun was shining. The driveway had turned into a muddy quagmire as it does with each thaw in the spring...
this was January 6th!
It was nearly 45 degrees!

I adjusted her crupper, checked the cinch, and the breastcollar. We were ready to go. We walked out of the sloppy driveway and headed towards a narrow path that twisted through the trees in the woods.

The trail was icy. Slippery.
For a moment I hesitated thinking that this could be really really stupid.
Opal found footing. She plugged along as if this was just another day on the trail. She walked a bit more carefully making sure she had her footing while stepping over large logs...

Coming along the side of the hill was quite tricky.
A few times I felt her front feet slip as one would cross in front of the other.

I can tell you ... my butt puckered a few times.
Not Opal she shifted her weight and did some quick shuffling.
We remained upright and going forward.

I was happy when we got to the valley floor and were able to walk the meadow along the creek.
Yes there was still ice, but it was flat and not treacherous.

I considered going up the old logging trail road, perhaps the warm weather had melted the ice off from it.

The old crossing was absolutely not a choice.
And the hill road was iced over as well. The warm weather had melted the south facing hillsides but only glazed and refroze on the north hillsides.
I dismounted from Opal and let her graze a bit while I looked around and enjoyed the 'talking' of the creek.
For us, it was a short trip. Normally Opal and I would wander over to the other valley and see if we could find the ice cave. I thought it prudent not to. Bad enough we had to return over the icy trails to get to home anyway.

The sky had filled with clouds and it looked like it could rain or snow.

I decided to head back home.
A short video of what some of that ride was like...until the batteries died!

All in all we had a ride that was just over a mile long with elevation changes of almost 500 feet.
Some of the slopes we contended were 35% to 29%, averaging out to about 6 to 7% over the whole ride.
Yeah..I brought my GPS and thought for kicks I'd measure one of our 'easy' rides.

All in all, it was an amazing ride.
I felt like a million bucks when I got home.

I let Opal graze in the yard for a bit before I put her back in with Badger. She seemed totally un-rattled by the whole ride.
After all she'd been there...done they say.


Rich Ryan said...

How cool! Age and experience prevail!


Val said...

Thanks Rich. I always have wonderful adventures no matter which mule I end up riding!