December 17, 2012

A Winter's Path

In mid-November, we rode along Rabbit Gulch, near Tabby Mountain.  You can see a sandy trail heading toward Tabby in the photo above. 
Pockets of water along the gulch were frozen. 
But the day was sunny and warm enough. 
The first week of December, we celebrated a granddaughter's 3rd birthday.  While we were putting together her new kitchen set, she thought standing in the sink was lots of fun. 
Back at home, a couple of escaped goats attracted a crowd.  The horses were curious and wanted to make friends. 
Snow is predicted, so maybe we'll be cross country skiing soon.
We wish you peace and love during the holidays and always. 

November 30, 2012

More Atlanta Fun

Good thing I had a lot of help blowing out all those birthday candles.  Otherwise, we would have needed a fire extinguisher!
My eldest granddaughter was a trooper on our hike to Amicalola Falls.  She floated up the 500 + stairs like a butterfly.
While some of us hiked along the Chattahoochee River, two of the kids led the way on their bikes.  One grandson spotted this red-bellied water snake.  Grandpa Steve did the catching.
We found time to visit friends at the Georgia Aquarium,
read stories and play games,
and practice our wild jumping skills.
We paused for a group photo, pre-stuffing.  Besides our oldest son and family, our second son and his wife also joined us for the day.  The framed painting behind us appears to be a bit askew, but the house looked amazingly good, considering the workout our group had put it through.
Then we all dug into the delicious turkey dinner that my daughter in law had prepared.  We were fortunate indeed to have such good company.  We enjoyed it all with thankful hearts and grateful bellies.

November 27, 2012

Sope Creek

We spent a lovely Thanksgiving week in Atlanta with our son and his family. 
One of many adventures featured a walk down Sope Creek, a branch of the Chattahoochee River and part of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. 
The trip involved lots of barefoot rock hopping,
a great blue heron,
and the ghostly ruins of a 19th century paper mill. 
The mill was built in 1855, utilizing the creek flow for power.  Burned down by Union troops during the Civil War, the mill was rebuilt a few years later and operated until 1902. 
After so much excitement, some of us were worn out!

November 12, 2012

Footprints in the Sand

Driving home through the San Rafael desert, we see a vast emptiness of sand.  In the distance, the Henry Mountains peak above the horizon.  Some person or animal forged a path across the dunes.  If we had more time, we could follow and see where the trails lead.

November 10, 2012

Back in Time

The morning after our outlaw ride, we travel back in time, down Horseshoe Canyon, through which Barrier Creek flows.  The 3000 year old pictographs found in the canyon represent a unique style.  Archeologists called this Barrier style because of the expansive panels of rock art found along this creek.  
Here's a view looking into the canyon from a Phillips Petroleum Company road built in the 1920's.  The "road" on the east side of the canyon is washed out in places and is now only passable on foot or horseback.
Golden cottonwood leaves are in their glory.   
Imagine living in this canyon in 1000 B.C. . There is year round supply of water in the canyon, even today.  Hunting must have been good around these clear pools.  The women and children would have harvested Indian rice grass seeds, sunflower seeds, and berries. 
This panel of rock art is known as The Great Gallery.  Some of the figures appear to be battling each other, so perhaps the era was not entirely peaceful. 
The above photo provides size perspective.
Did these ancient people celebrate Halloween?  I see at least one spooky figure. 
Here's another panel of pictographs.  No doubt a careful observer would find much more rock art in this canyon.

Who are these desperadoes?  They appear to be on the run.  (Actually, Mischief got bored with photography and wandered off toward the water hole.  I had to go fetch him.) 

November 8, 2012

On the Outlaw Trail

On a trip to southern Utah last week, we had some great riding in the San Rafael desert west of Canyonlands National Park. 
We parked off the Hans Flat Road and went north, dropping down into Trail Spring Canyon and eventually into the main part of Horseshoe Canyon. 
We followed one of the many "outlaw trails" used by rustlers and robbers in the late 1800's and early 1900's.  The remote, rugged terrain tended to discourage lawmen.
Some of the trail is hard to follow and/or downright gnarly. 
We found a couple of small springs, lifeblood to the dry canyons.
Daisy thought the water was fine for a dip. 
But any stagnant pool was equally fine.
Steve saw a giant sand dune and imagined himself as Lawrence "Stevie" of Arabia. 
Above shows the location of the outlaw Matt Warner's camp.  Matt did some cattle rustling in Utah in the late 1800's, and hung out with Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch for awhile, participating in various robberies. All that remains of the camp are a pile of rusted tin cans on a sandstone shelf. The sight was well chosen with a view of the only approach via Horseshoe Canyon. 
  Matt never went to jail for theft, but he got in major trouble over a shootout with a couple of fellows. Matt was the better shot.  Two men died, and Matt was arrested for murder in Vernal, Utah.  Butch Cassidy (of the Wild Bunch) heard his old friend Matt was in trouble.  He and the gang robbed a bank to provide Matt with money for an attorney.  Matt got 5 years in the Utah State Penitentiary for manslaughter.  After serving his time, he moved to Price, Utah, where he was elected justice of the peace and became a deputy sheriff.  As an older man, he gave up his wild ways except for a little whiskey making and bootlegging.  He wrote a book about his exploits, even drawing a crude map to show where he'd hidden out in the San Rafael desert when things got too hot in the more law-abiding areas.  Matt died of natural causes at age 74.
We rode about 23 miles on the Outlaw Trail, over rough country and through some deep sand in the creek bottoms.  We abstained from robbing any banks and kept the cattle rustling to a minimum.
Back at the trailer, the horses made themselves at home on a high line.  As usual, Boss wanted what Mischief was having.  Hay cubes and oats were plentiful for both. 

October 28, 2012

Ready, Set, Go!

On a sub-freezing October morning north of Moab, Utah, an entire camp of eager endurance riders are up before sunrise.  The LaSal Mountains are outlined against the brightening sky.
After bustling around, feeding,watering, and saddling, the 50 mile riders and their dancing Arabians are ready to go by 7:30. (A few quarter horses and other breeds, and even one mule, join the fray.)
And they're off!  The 25 milers (us!) leave an hour later. 
Here I am about mid-way through a ride.  Sorry, the photo is a little blurry.  Both stops and photos are few and far between.
It's big country.  We traverse shifting sands and wind around Navaho sandstone formations.  Above, look closely for 2 riders on the left hand side of the panorama. 
We have views of the LaSal Mountains in the distance, but not a lot of leisure to admire the scenery. 
All in all, we learned a lot and rode some beautiful trails.  On our drive home, we stopped for a photo of Canyonlands geology.

October 14, 2012

Golden Cottonwoods

We ride toward the painted hills on the rim of Diamond Plateau, 2500 feet above our starting point on the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument.
Cottonwood gold makes water sources easy to find this time of year.  In this case, the strip of gold grows along an aptly named Cottonwood Springs.
Coco enjoys his water, even when there's not much to be had.
At Boone Springs, he greedily slurps his fill from an old cow trough.
Mature deer don't grow very big in this dry country, judging by the size of these antlers.
A photo stitch taken from an overlook shows the Green River meandering through Island Park.  This two square mile horseshoe shaped curve of the river was first named by the Wesley Powell Expedition that passed through this area in the late 1860's.  Island Park is a popular launch location for rafters beginning a float through Split Mountain.
Poor Daisy had to stay home.  No dogs are allowed in the National Monument, more's the pity.


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