When we reached the trailhead to Gray Head Peak this morning, the temperature was upper 30’s, and an inch of snow covered the ground.
As was the plan, we took the road that goes downhill toward Avintaquin Canyon. Footing was bad due to wet and snow, so the going was slow.
We had to leave the trail to reach the creek and canyon. Some of the creek was ice covered, but Steve build a little dam to collect the melt water.
After the horses and Daisy had a drink, Steve and Boss led us over a hill (again slippery, with no trail), intending to go to Sick Cow Spring on the other side. Doesn’t sound that appetizing, actually. We never got that far. The way down was rocky and steep. Under those conditions, where we have to get off and walk, I usually let Mischief follow Boss on his own. This time, he got all Mavericky and went his own way, mainly back to the fence gap we’d come through at the top of the hill. Steve went back to find him, and Mischief was calmly waiting there, assuming we’d all be back eventually to return the way we’d come. Pretty smart of him, considering that, after another try at the hill, we ended up going back that way after all. Here’s Mischief returning after proving his Maverick-ness:
We followed the fence back down to Avintaquin Canyon, then rode the canyon almost to the Tribal Land border. There was water in the creek most of the way, and nice groves of cottonwoods. Of course, the leaves are gone now, but the area would be lovely in spring and fall. Here was a unique rock chimney formation:
The snow-covered mountains behind me will probably stay that way: until spring:
On the way out, we tried climbing a different hill, hoping to avoid the slippery snow patches. Unfortunately, the alternate choice was covered with loose rock, and the going was even more precarious. The horses did fine, although they didn’t like it much. At one point, Mischief slid gracefully down a rock slab for a few yards, and amazingly came off on his feet.
At Mud Spring, we passed a group of 3 hunters sitting on their ATV’s waiting for deer to show. I thought deer and elk seasons were over, but I guess not.
Altogether our ride was 15 miles, 3000 feet elevation gain and loss, in about 4.5 hours moving time.