We parked where Paradise Park trail crosses into forest service land, near the corrals. A ranger came by while we were saddling up. Since those guys have never stopped to chat before, we thought we were in trouble. However, he said we were fine, he was just feeling a little lonely up there on a holiday weekend with no one around. Bad weather had scared off all the customers. Steve was able to quiz him on trails, so that was somewhat productive.
Mounting up, we followed a trail past a spring, uphill to a rocky road that we followed the rest of the way.
The road and trails were very wet and slippery. Before long, we ran into pools of water, then into snow along the trail. The horses plowed through both. When we reached the spot where we were planning to go cross country, we found lots of snow in the trees, lots of blowdown, and no sign of a 2 track or animal trail to follow. There may be one, but the snow obscured it. We’ll have to check again in better weather. Some snow fell on us, and the wind blew pretty hard in that area. Luckily, we wore our Aussie dusters, which are good windbreaks, waterproof, and quite warm.
Boss began acting squirrelly about the time we ran into the first snow on the trail. He even hung back and let Mischief go first, which is unusual behavior for him. After we realized we couldn’t reach our destination and turned back, we saw bear tracks in the snow, somewhat obscured by Daisy’s tracks. Boss must have smelled bear on the way up. Guess he figures he’d rather let Mischief take the lead at those times than risk being eaten by the big old scary mountain goat… er, bear. Or whatever gives off the unpleasant smell he fears.
As we neared the spring close to the trailhead, we stopped to take some pictures in a picturesque clearing with sunrays and Indian paintbrush in abundance and a beautiful mountain backdrop.
Surprisingly, we saw another group of horseback riders, 3 riders and a dog, after we gave up Mosby mountain and took a little 1000 foot climb sidetrip to the top of Lake Mountain. Up and down took a little over an hour. Boss again hung back and let Mischief take the lead on the way down, maybe upset over more bear smell. When we returned to the trailer, he was sweaty under his blanket. Mischief was dry. Is it possible that my horse is too dumb to be scared? No way. Not my highly gifted horse. He's just more experienced, I maintain.
Overall, a nice ride on a less than stellar day.