Tuesday, June 29, 2010 – First Ride Day in Platte River Wilderness

We both slept late this morning, which is very easy to do when you’re in the middle of nowhere (honestly, I don’t know how people sleep with all the noise of the city or suburbs-I have to wear earplugs whenever we are in a populated area), so by the time breakfast was done and we had saddled up, we were heading out about 10:30, under clear skies and perfect temps. We started off on what looked to be an ATV road right across from the corral, because we wanted something fairly easy our first time out. Well, that road quickly narrowed, got covered in water, almost disappeared, and had trees falling all over it. After half an hour, we decided to be wise and head back. We came past the corrals to the trail around the campground, which is the real trailhead for the area anyway. We headed through the pine forest, which is mostly dead because of the pine beetle infestation that is everywhere here (thanks to some zealous environmentalists who apparently sue the forest service every time they want to do anything to manage the forest, like prescribed burning – not allowed – or clear cutting breaks to prevent the spread of the pine beetle – not allowed – , etc.), picking up the Platte Ridge Trail a short ways up the trail. After crossing the creek, most of the trail was quite open, lots of grass, dandelions and clover (perhaps the weed-free certified hay scheme came in a little late?) and seemed relatively flat, or just a little grade upwards. We only wanted to take a short ride today, so we just followed the trail maybe a mile or two, just after we came out of the clearings and into the forest, which apparently was just before the peak of the ridge. We turned around, happy that our three hour jaunt was just what we wanted. We had done some trotting, and on the way back, on the road from the campground to the shortcut trail up to the corrals, we got a good canter in as well. Once the horses were settled in, we did a water run, both to the campground to fill up our numerous one-gallon bottles, and down to the creek to try out our new drill pump. At the campground, we spoke to Bob the host about trail maps, which apparently they had just restocked in anticipation of the big weekend coming up, and he showed us some of the idiosyncrasies of the map from the reality they tried to capture. We then headed to creek, where our attempts to get the drill pump to work were unsuccessful, and we ended up using the old fashioned method (one small portable bucket at a time, into three much larger tubs). It’s only a little battery operated drill, so Hubby thinks we need more power, so next time we’ll try his electric impact wrench with a generator, to see if that works better. Might be more effort than it’s worth, but then again, if it works, it should be easier in the long run, especially if we stay in more horse camps as primitive as this (and it seems as though we might from the research I did on the computer yesterday.) Despite that minor setback, it was a lovely day, a lovely ride, and looks to be a beautiful evening, though there are a few clouds building that look like we might have a thunderstorm, in which case I might just jump out and throw some soap on a sponge and wash down the pickup, which is well and truly filthy at this point!

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