Jett and Carrie, a wildlife biologist and Jett's second-in-command, headed our caravan, leading about six mules loaded down with camping gear and cooking equipment; we tourists followed single file on our horses. Bringing up the rear was the third guide, Caitlin, who served as cook, guide, and wrangler. There had been thunderstorms during the night and in the early morning, and the weather was windy and cool. After riding through the open countryside for about a mile, we rounded a corner and saw two hikers heading in the opposite direction. They stopped to wait for us to pass, but as soon as the line of horses and mules were abreast of them, one of the hikers raised his walking stick in greeting.
The next thing I knew there were two mules running back the way we had come at full gallop, and the other horses abruptly turned and started to follow them. I have never ridden on a running horse before, and I will tell you right now I never want to again. I was scared to death. I didn't know what had happened to my husband or children; all I knew was my horse was running as fast as it could, and I was doing all I could to try not to fall off. After my horse finally slowed down, I looked back and saw that two of my kids were still on their horses, and they seemed to be standing still near where the horses first bolted. Finally I saw my husband and oldest son on their horses coming toward me with Caitlin the wrangler. Their horses had run farther than mine. Finally we got everybody back together, hats were retrieved, and the mules re-packed; although I don't think my legs stopped shaking.
The horses rest after a stressful ride. Electric Peak is in the background.
Our campsite offered beautiful views!
After our little evening rain and hail, there was fresh snow on Electric Peak.
Someone put this elk skull on a stump to greet hikers and riders when they arrive at camp.
On Wednesday, Altitude Boy woke up feeling much better, but wasn't too excited about the idea of riding around on horses all day, so he and hubby stayed behind and did some fishing. Jett and Caitlin took us seven miles to the northwest (I think) toward Fawn Pass. It was a long ride, and we didn't quite make it to the top because the horses and riders were getting tired. It was a beautiful ride, though, and I am happy to say my legs and my behind were starting to get used to being on a horse for hours at a time. On the way back, about two miles from camp, I was admiring the beautiful wilderness when I suddenly heard the sound of my youngest son crying. When I looked up I saw his horse, and he wasn't sitting on it; he was on the ground rubbing his head. Turns out that his horse either kicked the one behind him or was kicking at a pesky insect and the kid just wasn't holding on tightly enough. He was fine though, and got back on his horse and rode the rest of the way back--holding on tightly to the reins and the saddle horn.
At the end of the day we had yet another DELICIOUS dinner by the fire, and the kids roasted marshmallows and ate s'mores. It was a clear night, and we spent some time looking at the stars before going to bed. This was the first time they had seen so many stars in the sky, and I'm not sure they had ever seen the Milky Way.
Hubby and Son had a good day fishing
What's camping without roasting marshmallows?
Needless to say, this was a more exciting adventure than we thought it would be. Would I do it again? Absolutely!! (That reminds me--it's time to start saving up for the next one.) Our guides were fabulous, the food was delicious, and we made some new friends. Other trail rides I had been on were only hour-long rides; I realize now that if I'm going to ride a horse for four days, there is bound to be a little bit of excitement. (Jett told us that this trip was more eventful than usual, too.) And now I know I can ride on a galloping horse without falling off. As long as there is a saddle horn for me to hang on to.