Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014 – Ride Day at Pace Bend Park

Got out a bit earlier today, and headed out to Pace Bend Park, slightly farther but still only 45 minutes away. The weather was perfect, even better than yesterday, with temps in the mid-60's and only about 10 mph winds, through the forecast was calling for higher. From the south, though, so at least it was somewhat temperate. Arrived to an empty entry booth, and we couldn't find an iron ranger to leave money, so we drove in and started exploring. We quickly learned that signage was at a minimum, and going by the map I downloaded from the internet didn't help much. We passed the south trailhead parking, eventually find the much more obvious east trailhead parking area. It didn't take long to saddle up and head out, though the trail signage was also a bit sparse. That trailhead also had bike/hiking trails, which quickly became obviously because the limbs of the scrub pines were too low for horses. Eventually we settled on a trail heading south, following somewhat the road we came in, though eventually it curved back more to the center of the park. We passed a conveniently located watering trough which the horses took advantage of, and we continued around the park on a mostly dirt and some rock trail that actually had a few more grades than we've seen in a while. Nothing dramatic, but it made the ride the most interesting one we've taken lately. Some of the trail went along the utility line, and there were several opportunities for cantering and trotting, which both we and the horses enjoyed. They were on their best behavior, even Apollo was perfect today, obviously glad to be out of the corral and on the trail, and making sure I knew it!. We definitely needed boots on the horses because of a few rocky spots, but there was a lot less than we expected. Occasionally we were afforded a nice view of Lake Travis, on which the water level is down many, many feet due to several years of severe drought (though up a bit from some rain this year), and some of the houses above the lake were quite palatial. We took a brief stop at the north end of the trail for a snack, then were back at the trailer in no time after that. All in all, the ride was almost 5 ½ miles long, a little over 2 hours with the stop. A very nice day, particularly after the very negative experience at Pedernales yesterday! Seems the less contact with humans we have, the less frustration, and the more enjoyable the ride!

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