I flung open the tent door at daybreak and yelled “Sunshine!” Pete said good, and rolled onto his stomach. I was pleased to see the sun although the old (and I claimed unreliable) campground thermometer read 38 F.
We again got off to a late start, in part because we hand grazed the horses for 45 minutes. There was now no trace of snow, which was remarkable given that so much had fallen the previous night and day.
We decided to ride the trail from Commissary Park back to the Encampment Campground site, along the river. Alas, the trail and grass was boggy, so we decided not to chance it. This was a major disappointment, for it meant that we’d instead be retracing our route back to the campground.
Alys on stump
We continued on Forest Service Road 550, which had a gravel base, some traffic; cars and four wheelers. I put Ryder on her lead and ponied her. Tyra didn’t mind; in fact, when Ryder stepped in front of her, she stopped. I rewarded both animals’ good behavior – I had put dog treats in one water bottle holder and horse treats in the other. I only slipped up once – Tyra got some fake bacon and Ryder an alfalfa cube. This, both animals indicated, was unacceptable.
We soon began the climb back up to what I’d dubbed Snoopy Summit. We stopped one third of the way up, and in a stump forest, ate lunch. Pete told me that he was going to have a section entitled “Every Stump Tells a Story,” in his chainsaw book, adding that this would include information on the way to make proper cuts. And so after lunch, he took photographs of some of the stumps.
We continued on. I of course continued to keep one eye on the sky because I feared getting caught, at higher elevations, in yet another thunder/lightning storm. I was right. The puffs of cloud grew in size then merged, making for some pretty amazing anvil-shaped thunder clouds. Yet another storm moved in, and soon the sky was again gray in color. I pulled my raincoat and rain pants out of my day packs up at the summit in anticipation of the storm. I put them on as Tyra was moving along. A fun challenge indeed.
It began raining and sleeting. We didn’t stop because there was no available shelter, just deadfall. There it was again, the turn off the main road and onto the trail, as marked by Snoopy Rock. The trail was steep in places, rutted and replete with red rutted rock. By now my fingers and toes were cold. Raudi (fortunately) maintained a steady pace. We kept on, our heads bowed, shoulders hunched, at times offering encouragement to our hard working animals.
We made our way down the canyon. The rain let up when finally, we arrived at an aspen grove. We came to the Private Cabin campground where we’d camped four nights previously, and set to unpacking and setting up camp. We quickly removed the gear from the horses and took a close look at Hrimmi’s rope burn, which we had again dressed. It was red, but not inflamed. We put her and the others graze, which they did for 1 ½ hours nonstop, on the thick, tall blade grass.
Tomorrow, we’ll ride the seven remaining miles back to base camp. The horses will then have time to rest up in preparation for the next adventure.
Next: 172. 6/23/19: Back to the Encampment Campground