Now you are asking how those two things relate. Give me a minute or so.
First I saddled up Opal determined to get a ride in. I wanted to see if the 'mule' trail I had through the woods was damaged or grown over. I'd walked part of it the day before.
In hindsight. I should have walked 'the second half' of that little trail to the creek before trying to ride it.
Oh well, hindsight is 20-20 right?
Let's also say thank you to Opal [don't mind the mangled mane, I cut it with scissors...].
Opal the experienced mule.
Opal who knows where the 'short' cut is supposed to be even if it is so overgrown that you cannot see it below her hooves.
Thank you to Opal for soldiering on through the mud, slop, and stuff she encountered. How she delicately picked her way over fallen branches that were hidden in the undergrowth.
Thank you to Opal for peering over the washout bank and looking down...when my butt puckered in the saddle..
and she just put her hooves on the bank and slid straight down. Without batting an eye she scrambled up the other side.
Just when I thought all was good we came to the last washout crossing.
She stopped and looked. She dropped her head and seemed to be peering down. Where there used to be a trail was a huge dropoff. I saw it from the saddle and tried to see a way around it.
This was our old trail that led to the creek. Normally a cake walk.
From the creek we had access to 100's of acres of forest.
She slowly backed away and sighed. I sighed.
We turned and decided not to give up but go onward up the hill and around the hillside to where it meets the camp road. Not an easy ride on a dry day.
We ducked tree branches, stepped over logs, followed deer trails, and eventually made our way above the camp road.
Down through brambles, ferns, limbs, and slippery footing underneath. I gave her her head and let her pick the way. It was steep enough that the crouper was tight on her tail. She concentrated on keeping her feet underneath her and me on top.
Next thing I know the woods literally exploded with noise. Two hen Turkeys erupted from the underbrush a few feet away. I felt my insides quiver and my butt pucker once more.
Opal sighed and continued as if my spook was but a mere nuisance.
We safely made it to the camp road and the rest was easy.
Now there are no photos of the butt puckering part.
I think you should know that I was just concentrating on staying calm and collected.
I was concentrating on where we were going and what we were doing. So many things have changed on the old logging trails. They are nothing but single foot trails now. Mother Nature is taking the woods back.
I rode above the 'back valley'. You could see where the water had blazed through the bottom.
I left that exploration by Mule Back for another time when I had another person with me.
No sense in taking risks alone right?
The rest of our ride was rather uneventful.
How is it that a mule can have horrid terrain and not spook one bit? Give them an open easy field and a track to follow...and even the weeds begin to look suspicious.
Or maybe it is just Opal.
Anyway. It was a great ride.
When I got home I put the ol' girl away and hopped on the riding mower. My second ride of the day. I wanted to help my husband out who was clipping The Merry Meadow.
I made one pass and looked down.
So ended my day of riding.
But all in all it was a great day.