Monday, August 08, 2011

Riding the Spotties

Fall 7 times.
Stand up 8.
 ~ Japanese Proverb

Have been sleeping like a dead person since returning from my Oh So Fun Bucket List Cowgirl Vacation.

The horses had as much fun as the humans.
Borrowed a beautiful black and white spotted Appaloosa to ride through Idaho and Montana, along the historic Nez Perce trail.

It may appear we're on our lonesome, here, but there were 190 riders on this adventure.

Trotted into West Yellowstone 100 miles later. Exhausted. Sore. Bumped and bruised. Feeling old as those proverbial hills yet 20 years younger than I felt just 5 days before.

Happy as all get out.

Closest thing we got to a 'shower.'
Because I did it! I survived!

Kurt, the farrier. (Horse shoe dude.)
Having been bucked off a horse earlier this summer, and fracturing ribs in the process, I was shaking like a leaf as I saddled up.

Cotton - you don't find Texas gentlemen like this very often.
I was so fearful of another accident. Crossing fingers and toes that nothing would go wrong.

So, of course, everything did. It rained buckets. Then it hailed. Thunder. Lightening. Freezing nights.

Indian Paintbrush on a foggy morning.
 My little horse was a trooper and so was I. Overcoming my fear. Realizing that marching bravely out of my comfort zone was precisely what this cowgirl needed.

This is Doc, our trail physician. We should all aspire to be this fit when we're 85.

Age, I am learning... it's a box people put you in.

When you're looking down the barrel of the big 5-0, growing old is all friends can talk about.

But, when I'm on these rides, I never hear such nonsense. Out there, age is irrelevant. Probably because we've stumbled upon the fountain of youth.

I loved these people. They were warm and wonderful, traveling from as far away as Norway and England to ride the spotted horses along this magnificent trail.

And, now that I've overcome my latest bout of cowardice, I'm signing up for another ride. Just as soon as the budget allows....

26 comments:

Lona said...

Oh, I am so glad you had a wonderful time Kate. The scenery is just so beautiful and the wildflowers.Thanks for sharing it with those of us who fear for our backsides. LOL!

Alison said...

Good for you for conquering your fear and having a great time despite the weather. I fell off a horse about 25 years ago, and haven't been back on one since.

Tufa Girl said...

Looks like a wonderful way to spend your days. It is nice to get out where the numbers don't matter.

ProfessorRoush said...

"Age, I am learning, is a box people put you in" is a quote for my wall... I sympathize, having passed that same marker myself not too far back.

Laurrie said...

Spotted horses, flowering abundance, Idaho skies, wet misery and great people.... and overcoming a bit of fear. This was more than a trip, it was a journey in the real sense. I am an east coast girl who thinks she was supposed to have been born out west. This post let me be there for a few minutes. I would have loved this ride (and its significance). So glad you did it!!

Susan in the Pink Hat said...

I vacation in this part of the world every summer. I envy you your trip! You comment about being nervous with the horses reminded me of a conversation I had with a fellow who grew up on a farm with them. I asked him if he missed having horses and wanted to have some. He said, "Nope. I prefer things with an ignition. They don't throw you, bolt, kick, or bite."

Marguerite said...

Your photos say it all, what a wonderful ride! Beautiful horses, beautiful scenery and what a sense of accomplishment. congratulations.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

woooooo hooooooo. What fun. What beautiful country. What a handsome horse. What great people. You are a brave lady. I am so glad you survived and had a good time. Your horse must have been tough too. I guess he was used to such long rides. ?

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Good for you! That sounds like such a wonderful trip... thanks for sharing the highlights with us. :)

Yael said...

The scenery is absolutely stunning. I am struck by the fields of wildflowers. Is that actually lupine blooming. It has long since spent here. I am envious of a trip like this.
Yael

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Lona!
The wildflowers just took my breath away. Entire fields of them along the trails. AND - surprise, surprise - no sore butt. Just very sore knees. (I guess it's always something! :)

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Thx, Alison;
The idea of getting on an unfamiliar horse was very scary. But, it all worked out. And, I completely understand you not wanting to ride again. Falls can be very painful.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Tufa!
I had no idea that 'Texas Cowboys' were still so plentiful. I was amazed at how many Texans made the long drive, with their horses, to do this ride.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Thx, Prof;
Perhaps I'm overly sensitive to it but I am weary of people complaining about growing old. If you just get out there and have some fun you realize, so very quickly, that it's just a number...

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Well, Laurrie....
You've got a whole year to get your ducks in a row! Take some time off and join us on the next one!! The 2012 ride takes us through the back areas of Yellowstone National Park and should be even more spectacular.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Susan;
I think you'll be amazed when you get up there this year. Our plentiful rains have inspired the wildflowers to go absolutely nuts. I saw entire fields of Sego Lilies!

Re: your friend. I fear that's the general consensus of an entire generation. :(( ATVs are easier, cheaper, safer... though IMHO not nearly as entertaining.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Thx, Marguerite;
Here it is, 4 days after the end of the trip, and I'm still all giddy about it. I guess that's a sign of a good vacation.... :D

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hey, Lisa;
Oh, I am most definitely not brave. I think that's always been my problem... But it's a good feeling to try to be brave once in awhile. Yes, sweet Sable, the horse, is in much better shape I am! She took good care of me...

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Thx, Kim!
If I could create a dream job... It would be doing wildflower rides, on horseback, with all my gardening friends.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Yael;
Yep, that is a wild Silky Lupine. They were plentiful along parts of the trails but those mountain sunflowers are so aggressive they crowd out the purple flowers in the sunny spots.

If I can get in gear I'll post some wildflower close-ups tomorrow for Worldless Wednesday. :)

Rilly said...

I'm following the blog of a 69 yr old friend who just hiked the Resurrection and Devil's Pass Trails near her home in Moose Pass, AK and after seeing the photo of her feet I'm sure she wished she'd had a horse. Power to both of you. http://gullible-gulliblestravels.blogspot.com/

Janie said...

Wow, that's some beautiful country. You and your horse really are troopers to hang in there through rain, sleet, etc.
I'm looking down the barrel at the big 6-0, and I refuse to be older than I feel, which (most of the time) isn't very old at all.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hey, Rilly;
Well.... it was being gullible in the first place that got me into these grand adventures!

I am not sure what drives us to ride and hike such distances. But, I do know... we're better for it. :)

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Janie. Soul sistah that you are...

I saw your note regarding Strawberry and I love the idea. Sorry I've been so slow in responding.

It's a hard ride. Harder still, since you're not on your own horse (unless, of course, you own an American Appaloosa) but it is well worth the effort.

I'm hoping you and I can hit the trails in September. Geez that sounds like months away but, in reality, just a couple weeks.

I appreciated the note and I'll be in touch.

Hope all is well.

sweetbay said...

What beautiful country you were riding in! Beautiful horses too. Sorry to hear about your earlier accident. Sounds like you had the perfect partner to help you through!

Melospiza said...

Wow! What an awesome trip!