August 9, 2010

Dude Ranch - Part 9

Dude ranch Day Five dawned bright and beautiful, after the storms from the previous day. This was to be our all-day ride, and what an experience it was.

Keeping with the theme of doing scary things, the final upward ascent of our journey to the mountain-top consisted of about fifteen minutes of narrow, narrow (think two-feet) rocky switchbacks with drop-offs into the canyon hundreds (seemed like thousands) of feet below. The horses were slipping and suffice it to say, I could not see the trail edge over the side of my horse. Nope, just air and tree tops and canyon below. Almost paralyzed with fear at one point, I started talking to Danny, the 71-year-old man in front of me (but on the next higher switchback most of the time). I kept saying, "I'm scared, Danny." He couldn't turn around, of course—he was also trying to keep his horse on the trail and off the canyon floor—but he kept talking to me:  "If I can hear you, Elizabeth, I know you're there and you're doing alright." And thanks to Danny, I made it up that mountain. 

I was glad to hear I wasn't the only petrified person on that ride to the top. And do you see that smile on my face in the photos below? That's because, now at the top of the mountain, I had learned that we were not taking the same treacherous route back down the mountain. :)

Joe and me, just before we stopped for lunch (and just after our scary ascent) at the top of the mountain.

Here I am at our lunch spot (so relieved to be up the mountain).
I am enjoying the company of our new friends, Colleen and Jeff, who, as it turns out, were fellow homeschoolers.
Not long after we arrived at the mountain top for lunch, the big kids arrived as well.
Here is Anna Marie with her friends Christine and Chris, having just completed their own frightening ascent. The difference though: Anna Marie wasn't scared. Why does that not surprise me?
Anna Marie poses with her wrangler and counselor, Morgan.
Joe and I stop for a quick snapshot before mounting our horses and heading back down the mountain for the last half of our all-day ride.

1 comment:

Natalie said...

You guys are so cute. It's probably better Anna Marie wasn't scared. I think that is one of the nice things about being young; you are pretty certain you can do anything no matter what. Or perhaps young minds haven't caught up to the wise rational minds of most parents.