Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Cowgirl Weekend, the rest of the story

Wow, I am so glad that I had this opportunity to travel with Tammy and hang out with 18 of my girlfriends. I was a little apprehensive on taking this trip. Mike was out of town and Lolly was in charge of caring for the animals. I also wasn't sure how Cora's arthritic joints would hold up on the ride and climbs that were in store for us. I shouldn't have worried at all as Mike got home late Thursday night and Cora was sound and ready for everything that came across her path.

Thursday morning, I was up early and ready way before the estimated leave time. Got on the road early and was to Tammy's by 7:45. Hit the road to Kansas by 8:00. That is a fast vehicle switch.

Played the "I Spy" game on the way down. Called some of the other ladies that were coming to see where they were at. Found out that some were in front of us by about 15 to 20 minutes and some were behind us by 30 minutes. Thought we'd all roll in around the same time. What a surprise when we rolled in first and we didn't even speed! Monica met us at the camp and helped us unload some things and drag our horse stuff to the corrals. Settled a bit and unpacked and organized camp, just a hair and then waited for the rest of the girls to come in. By 4:00, everyone was there and we were itching to ride. Were on our horses by 5:30 and on the trail to explore.

Cora was awesome, felt good, had a lot of energy and was ready to get out and move. Rode for 2 hours and then headed back to camp for supper. It was Team 1's turn to cook on Thursday so we gathered everything and were eating by 7:30. Crockpots, microwaves, grills were all going. Sam graciously gave up a few of her beers-Land Shark, not too bad either. But then again, most beverages taste good after a long haul and ride. My specialty for the Pot Luck was my crockpot lava cake. YUM! super easy to make, throw the ingredients in the crockpot and walk away. Timers work wonderful to make sure the stuff is done and ready when you get back. I was beat after a long day and not much sleep earlier in the week so I headed off to bed. Later, Tammy came in and said that Sully was colicing and that she was going to go walk him with Jan. Felt awful for Jan, but he was in good hands with everyone that was there.

Got up the next morning around 6:00, fed Cora and then got ready for some breakfast of my own. Again, it was our turn to cook and Breakfast Burritos were on the menu. I scrambled the eggs in the microwave, Tammy cooked the potatoes in the microwave and finished them up on the campstove. She also browned up some spicy sausage. Only thing missing was some Tabasco sauce or Pace. Hit the spot and we were ready to saddle up and ride. Friday we planned on hitting Horsethief Canyon and another loop, figured around 3 hours and then break for lunch and play some games in the afternoon. Horsethief Canyon was very cool. Sandy trails to rock, to limestone formations to stairsteps down the side of the canyon. Some of those stairsteps dropped 18 inches or so. Wish I could have taken photos of them as we were navigating. Had to concentrate on guiding Cora to the best place to descend. Also gave her her head to let her pick throw the rocky spots. Apache had a small brain fart when the terrain turned to yellow/red colored sand. He did not want to step in it.

Once through the canyon, we took a loop that took us up the other side and through a stream. Very pretty scenery and a few more creek crossings. Cora has learned to LOVE water crossings. I think she would have swam the last one if given the chance on Saturday. That cool water felt good and I could feel her start to sink through her shoulders. Didn't really wish to have a wet saddle though so urged her forward.

Friday afternoon was pretty lazy until game time. I rode Cora in the game of Polo, she wasn't too thrilled with a large green ball coming at her and bailed out of the area. Told her that I should have brought AJ!

Friday's supper was just as good as Thursday, but even a tad better since I didn't have to fix anything.

Saturday morning we headed out fairly early to beat the heat. Headed back to the water crossings and a new canyon that ended up being fairly narrow and had some slick rocks. Cora did ok, but a horse that had shoes on slipped and fell. A few minor scrapes and an injured ankle to the rider. Broke for lunch in a nice shady area, Cora took the chance and grabbed a few zzzz's. Shared a Pringle with her and she wanted more. Rode up another rocky outcrop and topped out on the prairie above. It got pretty warm up there and didn't have much of a wind to cool us down. Opted out of navigating back down the narrow rocky canyon and took the long way around. Met up with the rest of the riders and headed back to camp to rest before "Steak Night". Took some cute 20's cowgirl style photos to commensurate the 10th Anniversary of Cowgirl Weekend. Took a short bareback ride with 3 others through camp. Looked at the lake, laughed at the horses not wanting to cross cracks in the road and spooking at their shadows. Listened to coyotes yipping in the distance and loved how bright the stars and milky way were that night. Perfection.

Headed to bed fairly early as we were planning on getting up at 6:00 for a sunrise ride.

I made myself get up early for this ride, the weather was warmish, clear skies and great friends. Almost all of us went on this ride, in the past it's been fairly cool out and I haven't wanted to get out of bed! Kicked myself at Niobrara when the early morning group saw a cow elk!

We started out by having a doe and her 2 fawns following us as we were going to the trail head near the water crossings. Sure glad the horses didn't want to take a dip, it was a bit chilly! We then headed on a trail that we had taken Friday morning and hit another water crossing. Came across a very photogenic area and took photos of us. The rest of the group headed on to Horsethief Canyon and we had to lope/trot to catch up. Loved the lope through the narrow trail that wound around trees and brush. Cora follows that stuff like a dog trailing a rabbit. Hit Horsethief Canyon and had to take the stairsteps back up the side. Cora had a lot of power in her hindquarters that about launched me out of the saddle a few times when she hopped up the rocks. Lots of giggling and talking was going on between us 4 that were in the back. The 2 hour ride ended too soon and breakfast was waiting for us when we got back. Biscuits and Gravy, juice and fruit.

Cowgirl weekend was wrapping up way too fast for us. We gathered around 4 or 5 laptop computers and looked at the photos that were taken over the weekend. Pens were getting cleaned, trailers packed up and campsites cleaned.

Tammy and I were back on the road, heading North by 11:00. Had a nice south wind to help push us home, would have gotten better mileage on the first 50 or so miles IF we had remembered to take the truck out of 4 wheel drive!!!! Dang it. Got to Chester with a few gallons to spare and filled up. Continued up Highway 81 with Kelly and Sam behind us. We peeled off just north of York and hit Hwy 92 to head for home.

I was home by 5:00, AJ was extremely happy to see my rig pull down the drive. He was running, doing happy bucks and just couldn't get close enough to us. He had to check Cora out when she got in the pen. She just told him, ya, I got to go to Kansas and what did you get to do?? Play with the cats??

I know that this winter when the wind is howling and it's too cold to ride, I will pull the photos up from Cowgirl Weekend 2008 and have a few smiles on my face and try to feel the warmth of the sun that we enjoyed. I image too that we will be planning where the next adventure will be in 2009.


Tammy said...

Wonderful recollection of a great weekend! Let's do it again!!!


Tammy in Wakefield said...

Nice blog Julie! Loved reading it even though I was there!! Can't wait until next year. Thanks for putting pictures of Apache & I in there. Maybe next year your spotted boy AJ will be the "chosen one". Give Cora and AJ a hug from me.