April 25, 2014

On Trails, High and Low

There's nothing Daisy loves better than a spring fishing trip on the Green River.  Look, she caught a trout!
A ride to the top of Split Mountain provides sensational views of the Green River  (about 3000 ft below) running through Dinosaur National Monument.
Craggy peaks loom over the split in the mountain.
Yesterday we rode in Tabby Mountain Wildlife Management Area.  The above photo looks down on Red Creek Reservoir.
The best thing about riding on Tabby is sighting the abundant elk and deer populations.
Yes, that's a golden eagle soaring over a scampering deer herd.
It's tough to get a good photo of a soaring eagle, especially while on horseback, but this time, we got one!  The white in his tail feathers indicates it is a subadult.

April 12, 2014

Upper Pasture

We saw a wild burro herd on the next day's ride.  The bad burro was not among them.  Note that several of the burros have deformed ears - maybe from fights, or from frostbite.  This group ran from us, so Coco was not scared.
This beautiful desert spring was not on the map.
While we were exploring the water source, Boss walked into a pool and started pawing.  We had to catch him before he decided to lie down in the water and roll around a bit.  That would've been pleasant for him, but a little hard on the saddle.
The shaded pools were partially covered in ice and snow.
Our destination was an area known as the Upper Pasture.  An old brush fence had been built to keep livestock on one end of the plateau.  It doesn't look much like a pasture now, but it's probably been overgrazed.  Once, it may have had good grass.
Most of the "pasture" is bordered by cliffs, making access difficult. Rumor has it that Butch Cassidy and gang spent time here, training horses in between train or bank robberies.  His gang was known for having an excellent string of horses that could outrun a possee easily.  We looked around, but saw no sign of an old camp.
This is the view looking down from the Upper Pasture to a spring-fed canyon below. In a pinch, outlaws may have been able to skid down the sandslide on the left.  We didn't try it. We'd already had a 25 mile ride with 2800 feet of elevation gain and loss, over some very rough terrain.  That was enough adventure for one day.

April 6, 2014

Desert Pool and the Bad Burro

We finally got in a spring trip to southern Utah.  Above is a view of the Henry Mountains from across the vast San Rafael Desert.
Down the sandy hills we went,
riding past domes
and other formations,
past a brush corral built by cowboys (or outlaws, or cowboy outlaws, depending on which stories you hear).
up to cliffy overlooks
and down to a beautiful emerald pool below a sandstone pour-off.
From above, you can see the deep cut water has carved into the sandstone as it flows into the pool below.
Here's the bad burro.  He scared the socks off of Coco, who whirled and ran away at light speed, unfortunately with Janie aboard, going downhill over rocks and dunes, then halfway up a slope, before finally deciding to stop.  Deciding, I say, because the reins and frantic screams of "Whoa!" did no good at all.  The good news is, neither horse nor rider were hurt, although both were a bit trembly at the end of the run.
The lone bad burro didn't run away.  He stayed close, braying at Daisy and generally being obnoxious for at least 15 minutes.  That's unusual.  Most burros stop, stare, then run off, all within a minute or two. A loner is also unusual, since we've only seen the burros in groups before.  Maybe he was having a bad day, but we'd rather not encounter this particular jackass again.
Speaking of Daisy, here she is, post burro experience.  Unperturbed, she took another dip in the pool, came out clean as a hound's tooth, then quickly corrected the cleanliness with a vigorous roll in the sand, groaning with pleasure.  This is Daisy's version of a luxury spa.


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