Last weekend Highboy, Miles, and I went with Carol, her dog Shiloh, and Shambhu camping near Pikes Peak outside of Colorado Springs, CO at Mueller State Park. We had been planning to return to Fort Robinson, but the weather looked awful and we didn't want to spend our weekend hanging out in the trailer waiting for the rain to stop. So we headed South and enjoyed beautiful weather on our long weekend.
We were able to keep the horses in corrals near the barn and our campsite.
Our first ride we headed out and up a hill to what we thought was the easier trail. It was incredibly hilly, expected for the 9500' elevation we were experiencing. We ended up going a little over nine and a half miles on that ride, and all of us were tired by the end! To ride my horse in such a scenic place with views of the back side of Pikes Peak was incredible. It was steep enough that we wondered how this was referred to as the less hilly ride by the ranger.
On the second ride we left camp from the other direction to the more advanced trail according to the ranger. It certainly was steep, but also very pretty. We walked through more woods on that side, and found a couple pretty ponds (lakes by some standards!)
Approaching Geer pond on our second ride. The frogs were so loud at this pond that we almost had to shout to hear each other talk.
This innocent looking pond was our first water stop for the horses to have a drink. Highboy walked straight in from the brown path, and had a sip. The pond appeared very shallow, so Highboy turned to the right. Before either of us had registered anything suspicious, he had sunk up to the bottom of his chest, deep enough that my feet were entirely in the water!
My quick thinking horse was a hero. With no drama he rocked way back on his haunches, launched himself jumping out of the water, clearing the logs and landing on the solid ground again just like it was a bank jump out of water on a cross country course. He wasn't rattled at all, though I did belt out a few choice four letter words in surprise. Without further ado Highboy went to grazing while Carol and I marveled at how quickly that pond floor had disappeared. We absolutely could not see it, even after knowing that it dropped off. Highboy wasn't upset, and he even went back into the pond just a little ways to get another drink of water. Apparently he's been taught well how to deal with surprises, going for an impromptu swim didn't concern him in the least.
When we returned to civilization we discovered that it had absolutely poured rain while we were gone. I had a small lake in the outdoor arena, and a good portion of the ranch where Carol keeps her horse was also underwater. We had been lucky to have gone south. Except for a little wind on Friday, we had perfect weather and enjoyed some great rides.
This selfie of me and Carol came out cute...
And this shot of my bent knees shows how much I have to crouch down to get our heads level!
This was the tidiest and best kept park I'd ever camped at. The restrooms were labeled "Comfort Stations" on the maps, and were absolutely spotless. There were tons of volunteers and workers around the place, and all of them were super friendly and helpful. We probably saw more of them than we would have without horses since the stables were near the on site living quarters for people working at the park. The fire pits had cement bases and metal rounds with a grate over the top, and there was plenty of already down and dried firewood to use.
Such a great weekend. Although the horses and dogs were tired and ready to go home by the end of our long weekend, Carol and I both felt rejuvenated. Sometimes a weekend away is just what you need for re-centering yourself and making regular life good again.