Participating actively in a dude ranch vacation apparently means you have to buck up and do some scary things.
On Day Four, Joe and I rode into the mountains. Kathleen and William were on a shorter ride. But Anna Marie's group was coming up the mountain about a half hour behind us. About a third of the way into our four-hour ride, we found ourselves in a huge electrical storm, complete with sleet and hail. I was wearing short sleeves and was absolutely frozen by the time the group stopped, about thirty minutes later, to retrieve the rain slickers from the packs on the backs of the horses. Having trouble bending my fingers due to the extreme cold and the wind and the sleet, I needed help putting on my slicker. A piece of wet plastic never felt so good. At least it broke the wind.
And then came the lightning strikes all around us. We could hear the big kids (Anna Marie's group) coming up the canyon quite a way below us. And it seems that's where the biggest lightning strikes were focused. The horses were edgy, and we pressed on through the strikes and the rain and the sleet, finally making it back to the ranch.
This photo was taken minutes after we dismounted. That smile on my face... Totally forced. While I was glad to be safe and dry at the stable, Anna Marie was still on that mountain in the thunderstorm. The real smile didn't come out until she was safe and dry.
Joe, Anna Marie, and I can now say, however, that we have been on a mountain top on horseback during a violent thunderstorm with lightning strikes and sleet raining down upon us. It was nerve-wracking at the time, but I'm so glad we did it!
And check out the size of those slickers on the pictured Leone munchkins!