December 2, 2008

Moonlight Ride

Monday was our first full day home after our trip to Connecticut. Steve went in to work, only to find that he had the week off. Surprise! A surprise and shock to me, too. I was kinda counting on some down time to recover from the trip.
Nevertheless, not wanting to waste one of the last riding days left this year, we hitched up the trailer for a jaunt up Tabby Mountain. We had never been there and hoped to do a little exploring before the snow and cold sets in for the winter. The day was unseasonably warm. When we left the trailhead at 12:30, the temperature was above 50. Up top, it was more like 40, but with a 10-15 mph wind, it felt cold. The trail was alluvial on the first part of ride, but moderately rocky for much of the climb and rocky up top. We traveled through some aspen groves that would be lovely in summer and autumn.

The lower elevations have several springs with nice pools of water, mostly frozen at this time.
The shady areas had snow, up to 6 inches in a few spots, and snow dusted the top of the mountain. We had some pretty views from up there.
Due to miscalculation on our return route, underestimating how much the rocky areas would slow us down on the descent, we didn’t get back to the road until 6:30. Since the sun sets at 5 this time of year, it was way too dark to go back to the trailer the way we'd come, since that would take us through a forested area with lots of tree limb hazards. We tied up the horses at a gate on the road, and Steve trekked a half mile down the road to fetch the trailer.
For the last hour, our ride was completely in the dark, especially for me, since I had on sunglasses and couldn’t take them off because I didn’t have any regular glasses. Without specs, of course, I can’t see a thing. I was riding basically blind for over an hour, trotting and even cantering much of the time because we were trying to get where we were going before the darkness made Steve blind, too. During my blind sojourn, I relied on Mischief to choose the footing. He did very well, bless his sweet Arab heart.
After dark, the sky offered the slender light of a crescent moon, with Jupiter and Venus alongside. (I could actually see them, even with the sunglasses.) My attempt at a photo was inhibited by not being able to actually see where the moon was through the camera lens... Here's a photo I nabbed off of :

My friend Mountain Mama also has a great photo of the astronomical phenomenon on her blog.
The stars were out in great numbers last night, too. I could even see some of those.
Fortunately horses have good night vision and a good sense of direction, so they were fine. Steve lit up his GPS bright enough to read in the dark, so we also had the trackback to go by.
Made it home at 8PM, starving and wiped out -- in other words, a typical Steve outing.
Daisy had just been retrieved from 10 days in the kennel. She had even more fun than usual chasing rabbits and deer, and racing around to double or triple our mileage. She was snoring in the back seat on our drive home.
In all, we rode 20 miles, with 3400 feet elevation gain and loss, in under 5 hours traveling time. Quite a little trek for what I expected to be no more than a short preliminary exploration!


  1. That does sound like quite a trek! I'm glad Mischief took care of you. What a good boy. You must be taking a day off today though, hopefully you're all recovered.

  2. Wow, what a ride after a long trip home. That Steve!

    Hope you had a fabulous time with the grandkids.

  3. Hi there!
    Just found your blog through Many River To Cross and must say that I am amazed at the wonderful trails you've been riding!!! We go trail riding here in the Niger bush - which is a huge expanse of never ending land dotted with a few trees and charming clay villages, but no mountains or water :-) And we don't stay the night! Anyway, just wanted to say hi, and that I'm looking forward to your next trail!

    Greetings from West Africa,



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