Ain't nuthin like ridin' a fine horse in a new country - Augustus McCrae – Lonesome Dove

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Final Desert Ride

On our way~
We planned a long exploratory ride for our final one...  It felt almost bittersweet, as I saddled Farah for the ride.  It's hard to describe how amazing it feels when riding in country so different from any I've experienced.  Farah was forward all week & interested in our surroundings from the first ride.  
The climb was deceptive~
 Heading north, it wasn't long & we were climbing, climbing...
Looking back at Pioneertown~
The last opportunity to look back in both time & place - at the consummate Western town...  Once we crested the bluff - the view was like something out of a cowboy movie!
Black Hill on the right, 4,630 ft.
The topography here reminded me a little of parts of Wyoming - just not as high in elevation.
Patty & Freebie head over the edge~
As the trail dropped over the edge, it was heavy with small pieces of broken Basalt & not easy going.  The wind was blowing our direction & the next obstacle was a large pile of tumbleweeds...  that had been caught up against the face of the wall.  The trail here suddenly narrowed & was totally obscured under about 3ft. of the weeds.  I dismounted & started swatting them off the side with my stick :-)  In just a few feet - the trail widened again to a two-track that soon ended at a turn-around.

When I rode over to the edge to see if there was a possible way down - Farah - took the opportunity to 180 from a standstill - leaving me hanging from the off-side.  Patty said all she could see of me was my foot on the bucking roll & was waiting to see me hit the ground.  Since Farah Did Not Move a Muscle...  I grabbed mane & managed to pull myself back into the saddle. She was not as happy as usual this ride, I'd purchased a snaffle in town - about the only bit in town - & it was slightly small.  Nevertheless - No excuse for that behavior!
Burned Pinyon Pine (some were over 1,200 years old)
As we turned back - I decided to walk down & try to keep my stretched ACL from locking up.  The view of Pipes Canyon was stunning.  At the bottom, we found the building that looked like a small jail - that our neighbors had mentioned to Patty & followed their prints along a large wash.
We head east~
Before too far, we saw the bright green of healthy Joshua Trees!
Farah expresses her displeasure with the bit~
Of course it was another photo op!  :-)  At that point, we could either follow the miles of sandy wash, or turn east & take another trail through the rocks.  The rocks sounded like the better way to end our last ride.
Northern end of the boulder field
The blue of the flowers was such a contrast to the stark black & white of the burned pines...  Surreal, the levels of environmental change that are happening - the changes in plant communities - forever altering a landscape that had been changeless for generations...
Hole in the Rock
It was a real treat to look up & see this amazing formation!  Since these trails have been closed for over ten-years - & there are on-going threats to close them again to horsemen - I feel very lucky indeed to have had the opportunity to ride here.
Town from the east!
It was late in the day by the time we again saw town in the distance.  The day had gone fast & even if this ride wasn't as spectacular as our "Rim" ride, it had as it's own special beauty.
A new flower for this day!
As we started down out of the rocks, it was so beautiful to watch the clouds over the mountains as the light dimmed in the sky above.  (During the day - the brightness, even with a Salamander Beak & Maui Jim's sunglasses was very white & strong.)
John greets us from his saddle shop~
"We rode into town."  How often do today's horsemen get to say that?!  :-)  We'd been strangers in town, but during our stay - we'd met some really fine people.  John was a wonderful help in getting us settled in.  Jake, I met shortly after he was thrown from his horse & took a very hard blow to the back of his head - knocking him out.   Once he'd recovered, he came over to introduce himself & admire my mare :-)  The very next day - he lead a group of riders out on the "Rim Loop " ride!  He gave me a rare copy of a map of the National Park, made by locals for locals.  Maybe someday Butch & I will visit & ride some of those trails!

A huge THANK YOU to Patty for letting me accompany her, on vacation to a special place - that she was kind enough to share with me~

1 comment:

  1. A part of the country that I hope to visit one day. Unlike anything I've ever seen. Amazing photos, of course.


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