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

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Rim of the World~

Map of the area~
This was the ride that took us by surprise!  The day had been really hot & bright - so we decided to take another hiking excursion into Joshua Tree.  (I may eventually post some of our hiking photos too - but really want to get these ride stories written.)
Not far out!
We'd heard "stories" about this loop - it was the most difficult & the most beautiful.  It was just 3 p.m. when we were saddled & heading out.  Ten-miles?  No big deal - should be able to knock that out & get back before dark - right?  Well - great plan - until you start oohing & awing & Connie has to stop every 50-feet to take photos!
Burned Joshua Tree & "root" system~
It was the perfect time of day to be out!  A soft, warm breeze, amazing light & the most incredible country we'd yet seen!  I could fill pages of this blog with just photos of the wildflowers, but will refrain...
Nature's arrangement
 Soon, we were climbing & I do mean climbing!  Once we were in over four-miles - we had to make the decision whether to turn back, or continue on & plan to get out before dark.  It's as treacherous as it is beautiful & anyone would be a fool to think otherwise.  Of course the unanimous decision was to continue on!
The trail was deceptive, first a good climb up, then back down through a gully & again back up even higher!  The last - almost two-miles were straight up!  Switchbacks, over boulders, around boulders & between them.  Both of us thankful for breast collars & tight girths!  Toward the top - we were pretty sure there would be a territorial view & we were NOT disappointed.
Farah surveys the world from the top~
With Freebie in the lead, the mares had to scramble cat like to get up the final push & over slip-rock to the top!  Both were covered in sweat!  It truly was a "Rim of the World" view!  Sadly - now, we were pushing the limits of how much daylight there was remaining.
Boulder fields~
What goes up...  We were now going down, down, down...  slipping, sliding & we even found an area with beautiful tall grasses growing & one tiny spot of moist soil.  No stopping for photos though - we pressed on.
Toad Rock
Well, maybe a couple more stops :-)  I couldn't resist "Toad Rock" as we named him.
Tombstone Rock
Then, here was this beautiful stone, with the flowering shrub growing right in front as though planted.
Far end of town up ahead~
The trail used to connect to this end of town & it would have been very nice to have gone that way...  But we think that landowners in the area decided that they didn't want riders going past - so it's all be fenced off with barbed wire.  The trail stops at the wire, so we had to turn & follow it back to the trail that we'd come in on.  Freebie was setting a great pace considering the trail, rocks etc. & we were flying along - with Farah throwing in a buck here & there to voice her displeasure at being in the rear.  She has yet to figure out that pitching a fit over it does nothing to contribute to forward motion!
We rode back into camp just after 6 p.m. with enough time to wash the mares down & blanket them.  The sunset & was glorious as they were most every evening while we were there.  Then - there were the incredible sunrises - that I usually saw from the warmth of my sleeping bag & Patty enjoyed when out walking her dogs :-)  Perfect end to a spectacular day in the high desert!

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