Sunday, February 26, 2012 – OTL Trail Ride and Travel Day

   Well, today’s the day! Since last year we’ve wanted to do the Ocean to Lake Trail Ride (though in reality, it goes from near the lake to near the ocean, but who’s counting?), and though our original plan was to do both Friday and Sunday, it’s probably working out for the best that we only do Sunday, as we have an extremely busy schedule this week and we’re already tired from all the work on vehicle repairs that we’ve had to do, not to mention the pain we were both in from our respective back problems. A quick stop at the McDonalds to pick up breakfast, and off we go to Jupiter Farms Park for the start of the ride. We saddled up in our usual way, then at 8:30, following some last minute instructions from one of the organizers, we headed out the road. Before stayed toward the back, as our horses aren’t used to all those horses and people around, but they’re so calm they fell into step almost immediately. Everything would have been fine except some guy on horseback came rushing up behind us, with a poncho flapping behind him, and my horse, usually oblivious to such things, was so startled he started rodeo-ing on me, finishing with his head down and me landing on his neck before sliding onto the tarmac on my hip. I’m sure if I had been 100% I would have been fine, but with my back twisted from yesterday, I was far from 100%, so I couldn’t keep my balance and hit the street rather hard. Seems I only fall off when I’m already under the weather, last time it was when I had been in bed with the flu for a week! Anyway, after a minute to catch my breath, I climbed back up into the saddle (to the applause of a couple of bystanders), and off we went. The weather was cloudy and a little windy, which, frankly, was better than hot and humid, which it had been earlier in the week, the temps perfect in the upper 60’s for the start of the ride. We trailed along some roads in the neighborhood until we reached Riverside Park, taking trails which, for the most part, we had done before. At the north end of the park, we were directed through an underpass they call a Critter Crossing, to get to the north of Indiantown Road, then followed that a bit until we reached a spot where we all had to bunch up, then the sheriff’s office stopped traffic on the six-lane highway while we crossed the bridge across the river. It only took about 5-10 minutes for everyone to cross, and then we were on our way! The next section we hadn’t been on before, through Cypress Creek Park, until we went through some old groves and under a couple more narrow and dark critter crossing under the Florida Turnpike and I-95. Shortly afterward, there was a water stop, then a water crossing across the Hobe Ditch (which didn’t phase our guys a bit, fortunately), until we were on the well-marked trails of Jonathon Dickinson State Park. It wasn’t too long before we started recognizing that area, as we had ridden there a number of times last year. We arrived at the final picnic area right at 2:00, in time for lunch but too late for the first shuttle back to the parking area where we left the trailer. We unsaddled, watered and fed the horses, then enjoyed a rather large burrito and chips for lunch (included in the ride price), before rinsing the horses off. The whole time I was struggling because of my wrenched back, which I knew some people would interpret as being out of shape for the ride, which, as you know, is about as far from the truth as can be! That part really sucked. Anyway, we killed a couple of hours until the final shuttle left at 4:00, when I got carried back to the park, picked up the vehicles and finally arrived back at JD about 5:00. Got home after 6:00, settled the horses in, finished packing, dropped off the horse trailer, fed everyone, then headed south to Miami. Arrived at our hotel (the Marriott on Biscayne Bay) around 9:00, exhausted, in pain and ready to do NOTHING until Tuesday morning when we have a Workshop to facilitate. We both took painkillers, I had a hot bath, and off to bed we went.

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