Sunday, June 10, 2012

Denver and the Rockies - Day Two - Part One

click on photos for a larger view

Friday we were excited to head up through Boulder to Estes Park. First however, Keith had to pick up his festival stuff at the Denver FedEx so Taylor and I went into Starbucks to grab a coffee. But we didn't just order and go. The line was about 8 people long to order and about 15 long to pick up the drinks. I'd never seen such a crowded Starbucks but I forgot that this was early morning on a business day in the city. Anyway we were soon on our way out of the city.

Our first mission was to find a place that offered a trail ride on horses - with opportunities to see the beautiful snow-capped mountains of the rockies. We found what we were looking for at Cowpoke Corner Corral just inside Estes Park. Upon arriving, Taylor first spotted a pretty paint pony that she said she hoped she could ride. That was the very horse they assigned her. His name was Scout. Taylor and Scout looked good together. Giving us a private 2 hour ride through the Roosevelt National Forest, Chad, our guide, offered opportunities to stop for photos. He was funny and friendly. My horse's name was Rascal and he did prove to live up to his name a few times but gave me a good ride anyway.

We climbed from the stables at 7,000 ft to 9,000 ft. The air was cool and fresh and the views spectacular. The trail was so narrow and steep that we had to duck for trees and lift our legs to avoid hitting big boulders. To say the least, I didn't feel comfortable taking my hands off the horn for photo taking very often, but I was able to snap off a few shots (most of them from the hip) and the visuals are stored deep in my memory. The way down was a little more treacherous and rough. Our horses managed sharp turns and short, deep steps down called The Devils Staircase like masters - they'd being riding this trail for 15 years or so.

My cowboy boots certainly got properly worn in with trail dirt and scratches. And our legs and back ends were a little sore the next day but nothing like I expected. It was a great ride.

This horse is right in fashion with his perfect ombre mane.

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