June 28, 2014

Kid Magnet

Who would've guessed Mischief would be such a kid magnet?  The photo above was taken in 2007.  He was meeting the grandkids.
A few years later, he gave another grandchild a ride.  He likes the attention.  Kids seem to like him.
He's 24 now, but still plenty handsome.
We often let Mischief tag along on our rides.  He enjoys getting some exercise that way.
Today, as we passed campgrounds in the National Forest, kids came out to see him in hordes.  They were intrigued that he would follow us like a big dog.  Actually, it's not that unusual.  Horses are herd animals who naturally want to stay with their group.  Mischief has been with Boss for 10 years, and with Coco for 4 years, so they're well bonded.
The above photo is of some 4-wheeling kids who stopped to see Mischief.  They were thrilled when Steve allowed them to pet Mischief and feed him a treat.
At one point, we had about a dozen kids, mostly little girls, coming up to fawn over Mischief.  He seemed pleased to be the center of attention.
One little girl of about 5 or 6 asked if she could take Mischief home.
Steve explained that a horse needs plenty of hay and oats.  She thought she could handle that, with help from a big sister.
Then Steve explained that Mischief would prefer to sleep in a bed instead of a barn.  The little girl thought she could handle that, too.  Mischief could sleep in her bed.
Next Steve asked if she had a refrigerator in her room, since Mischief liked his water cold. She sighed, and admitted she couldn't provide that, at least not in her room.
Of course, Steve was pulling her leg just a little bit.
But not much.  Mischief really would prefer a bed and refrigerated treats.  Above, he's enjoying some cold watermelon.

June 24, 2014

50 + 55 = Sweet Success

The Strawberry Fields Forever Endurance Ride was last weekend.  We were conditioned, primed and eager.  There were 125 riders in all, and the ride camp was like a small city.  Some were registered for 25 mile rides, some for 50.  Everyone was ready to rumble.
We rode the 50 miler on Day 1, and the 55 mile ride on Day 2, coming in about the middle of the pack on both days.  We felt pretty good about competing, and even better about finishing with us and the horses in decent shape.  We could have ridden another 50 on Day 3, but since this was the first time we'd tried 2 competitive events in a row, we thought we'd call it good.
Daisy camped with us, but had to stay at the trailer during the ride.  She was sad, but very glad when we returned.  Out of all the places around camp she could lie down, she chose Boss's portable corral.  Boss didn't mind.  During camp meetings, all the dogs were running around, visiting with other dogs and humans.  It was a friendly dog's paradise.
On Day 1, the 7AM start of the 50 miler involved 80 snorting, whinnying, dancing horses, mostly high-stepping, tail-flagging Arabians.  The ride master played the Beatles' Strawberry Fields Forever on his truck's CD as the first competitors rode out. Once we got going, the horses settled down to a good working pace.
Part of the trail wound along a ridge with a rock wall, shown here.
The trail went through a convenient gap in the wall, where elk had worn a path.  The travels included an elevation gain and loss of 6000 feet.
On Day 2's 55 mile event, the competitors were a little more sedate, since most had already competed the previous day.  Here's Steve at the start of Day  2, which also began at 7AM.
We traveled up high, to a mountain ridge with gorgeous views,
and past what the ride manager has named the Elk Gate, probably because a lot of elk hang out up there.   The second day's ride had 6700 feet of elevation gain and loss.
Both Coco and Boss passed their final vet checks with flying colors.  Steve and Janie were feeling a little addled right after the rides, but soon recovered enough to enjoy some socializing each evening.
Wildflowers were in bloom, the mountains were gorgeous, and the bugs were minimal.  Altogether, a great weekend!

June 17, 2014

Mountain Wildflowers

Spring has come to the mountains.  Up on the ridges, above 10,000 feet, some snow remains.
A couple of young bucks hang out along Co-op creek. They are mule-deer, so named because of their big ears.
Daisy loves the high country because she can oversee plenty of territory.  It's fun to be queen of the mountain.
Spring Beauty
Coco and Steve in a field of Buttercups
The earliest wildflowers are in bloom.  After the snow melts, spring beauty, buttercups, and bluebells appear.
Glacier lilies plus Daisy
Glacier lilies are one of the first to bloom.  Daisy accidentally photobombed this glacier lily photo.
Later, we'll see a profusion of  penstemon, lupine, paintbrush, geraniums, and many others, as shown in this photo from a June 20 of several years ago.

June 4, 2014

Deep Creek to Lake Mountain

One way to get to Lake Mountain is from Deep Creek.  This is the view from the trailhead.
We rode through meadows,
and stopped at a handy trough for a drink.
Up in an aspen grove, we found a moose antler, but no moose.
The horses took a lunch break, according to the equine union rules.
while Steve and Daisy explored around Gull Lake,
which was surprisingly low on water.  There was more grass than lake.  Marsh peak is snow-covered in the background.
We explored on the Mosby Mountain side of the lake.  Mischief stopped to eat grass and fell behind.  Daisy waited patiently for him to catch up. You can see Mischief hurrying, just to the right of center.
Coco took the opportunity to snatch a few blades of grass amongst the yellow balsamroot blossoms.  It was a Goldilocks day, neither too hot nor too cold.  Just right.


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