January 30, 2011

Trails for May and June

The open trail on Little Mountain (8600 ft) was mostly snow-free on May 4, 2008:
Lake Mountain (9,000 ft) is usually accessible in late April, but it's a lot more fun in May, once the trails are dry and the snow is gone.  Here's Mosby Creek near the trailhead on May 10, 2009:
The grass is green, but the cottonwood trees haven't leafed out yet.
Taylor Mountain (10,000 ft) is a May favorite.  At about 8500 ft, Mischief and I found some aspens in new leaves on May 13, 2007:
On May 18, 2009, we were able to amble up the Two Roose Pass trail to about 11,000 ft, but we did find some considerable snowdrifts near Baum Lake:
On May 26, 2008, the aspen leaves were out at 8000 ft on Mosby Mountain, and wildflowers were blooming.
High desert (6000 ft) rides are still comfortable in the morning and evenings through June.  On June 11, 2009, we enjoyed the arid environment's variety of blooms:
Buck Ridge tops out at about 10000 feet, but its shady paths open up a little later than the more open mountainsides.  Here's the Buck Ridge view down into Whiterocks Canyon on June 14, 2008.
On a June 15, 2008 ride to Rock Spring, off of Paradise Park Road, we saw new aspen leaves on the trail at about 9400 feet.  Finally, spring comes to the high country:

January 28, 2011

March-April Rides

Since I'm reminiscing and dreaming of trails we have traveled in spring, I'll continue with the locations we can first visit in late March and April.  Here's the view from a ridge in Tabby Mountain Wildlife Management Area on March 21, 2009: 
We saw a herd of elk on this ridge, but they were gone by the time we took the photo.  The lower reaches of Tabby (6600 ft at the lowest trailhead) to this ridge at about 8000 ft were open, but Tabby's peak (10,000 ft) won't be accessible until late May, most years.
Big Pack Mountain (6600 ft) is in the desert south of Ouray and makes a nice training ride.  This photo was taken April 10, 2009:   
On a trip to the Book Cliffs, Jack Canyon Wilderness Area, we had this view on April 13, 2008:
Red Mountain, just a 20 minute drive north of Vernal, is low enough to be accessible early in the year.  Here I am at the top on April 15, 2005:
A spring favorite is Lake Mountain (10,000 ft).  We got high enough for a fine view on April 21, 2009:
Behind Steve, Marsh Peak (12,240 ft) is still covered with snow.
We like to ride Wild Mountain (8600 ft), located on the Colorado-Utah border, in late April before the catch ponds dry up, because water is scarce up there.  Here I am on top on April 28, 2007:
During the last week of April, 2006, we rode on the Colorado side of Dinosaur National Monument, north of the little town of Maybell.  Here's the view from Zenobia Peak (9000 ft), the lookout point for the region.  We had to leave the horses and climb through some snow to reach the top:

January 26, 2011

Planning Spring Rides

While the temperatures are well below freezing, Steve spends a lot of time studying maps, figuring out where he wants to ride as soon as weather permits. 
The snow melts first at the lowest altitude.  The lowest land close to us is at about 4600 feet, near the Green River. In past years, some of our earliest rides were in the Ouray Wildlife Refuge, where there is lots of room for galloping along the river and overlooks. 
It's truly the land where the antelope play!
With luck, and if the snow, or lack of it, cooperates, we'll be riding there in February. 
Soon after that, we can usually ride in the desert near our home:
We like to go down to southern Utah in February.  A couple of years ago, we rode on BLM land near the Canyonlands Hans Flat Ranger Station:
And also rode along 50 Mile Bench in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument:
Yes, we're dreaming of hoofbeats every night.  Only a little longer, and we'll be in the saddle and on our way.

January 24, 2011

Daisy and Oz

Whenever Daisy goes outside, she looks longingly toward the neighbor's house, hoping Oz, her B.F.F. (best friend forever), will come out to play.
 He rushes over for a romp. They sniff and bow and race and dance.
Sometimes with all the growling and mock attacks, it's hard to tell they're best friends.
But since they repeat the same cycle day after day, I have to assume they enjoy it.

January 22, 2011

One Season Following Another

Swiftly flow the days....
Especially if you have a chance to get out and sniff for rabbits!

January 20, 2011

Good morning, Moon!

She glows like ghostly embers of the night, even as dawn's rosy fingers lure her to the horizon, and out of sight.

January 16, 2011

Grass is Always Greener

Can the forage really be so much sweeter on the other side of the fence?
Apparently so.

January 14, 2011

Snow Vacation

The lazy days of winter are excellent for communing with neighbors,
relaxing indoors,
or catching some warm morning rays,
That's what we're up to around here.  What are your favorite January thrills and chills?

January 11, 2011

Daisy with Friends

Daisy has always been a friendly pup.  Here she is meeting Boss for the first time:
This young elk was friendly, too:
The trout, not so much:
Sometimes a girl has competition, even when she's trying hard to play nice:
Some of you may recognize the photo reruns.  Can you tell I'm dreaming of riding season? 

January 8, 2011

Flying High

Grandpa's styrofoam airplane attracts a crowd: 
 He patiently demonstrates technique:
Grandson #1 quickly masters the skill: 
Grandson #2 is working on it:
And, of course, Dad gets into the act.  Observe his high perch, his statuesque form.  He sends the plane sailing through the air, out across the open ...
Well , darn!  Who put that tree in the way?

January 6, 2011

Only in New York

Steve and I had never toured an aircraft carrier, so so when our son propsed a trip to the Intrepid with the grandkids, we were ready to go.  The Intrepid is docked at Pier 86 on the West Side of Manhattan.  First commissioned in 1943, the Intrepid served in the Pacific during WWII, and later in Vietnam.  It was also a recovery vessel for Gemini and Mercury space missions.  She has been docked in her present location since 1982.
A carrier deck with a big city skyline looming behind it is a sight to behold:
The kids enjoyed the helicopter with teeth:
And practicing their flying skills:
But my personal favorite was the view out the flight control tower window:


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