Today was the best day of riding I’ve had this entire trip. This may have been because I added the word “centered” to my above my head cloud imagery. Yesterday it consisted of the words “competent” and “confident.” All day, I felt good in the saddle. But let me digress.
We decided to take the trail route back to our vehicle; this meant we’d have to ride up Box Canyon Pass, a trail that no one seemed to know much about, meaning that most likely, it was not well maintained. As Pete rightly noted early in the day, Box Canyon was probably going to be easy to ride into, but difficult to ride out of.
Alys and the horses at base of Box Cayon
Pete rode and I walked the 1 ½ miles down road to the Box Canyon trailhead. I walked for two reasons, the first was to keep Tyra fresh and the second was in order to keep a better grip on Ryder. This road, more so than the others, seemed to have more ATV, dirt bike, and car traffic. She did lunge at a few ATVs. Grr, grr, grr had by now replaced the word fiddlesticks.
Across the way from the trailhead was what we call a compound – a “campsight” (yeah campsight) with about a dozen RVs, ATVs, and tents scattered about. Add to this, many children running around, and many adults hanging out in lawn chairs.
Last night an angler inadvertently strolled into our campsite – He and Pete then struck up a conversation. Pete, of course, asked for route information. The fellow told him that his father-in-law, who was in his 80s, was very familiar with the area and might be able to provide us with information about the Box Canyon Trail. Coincidently, he was hanging out with the compound crew.
I held the animals and Pete went to talk to him. The man said that he was familiar with other trails in the area, but not the Box Canyon trail. Upon hearing this, my hope, that this was a well maintained trail, which is one that would take us back to the truck, dissipated like the cloud-like lettering above my head. I looked up, as had in the last day become habit – rather than see the words Centered, Competent, and Confident, I instead saw just a cloudless, robin’s egg blue sky.
The trail (as they all are) was well maintained for the first half mile. It then progressively became more brushy and narrow. The trail continued to follow the canyon edge. A section of avalanche type scree followed. I remained on Tyra and crossed this, and yet another, similar section.
We stopped for lunch in a brushy, shady spot, next to a creek. After eating, Pete, on foot, did an exploratory hike in an attempt to see if the trail was passable. I washed up in the creek and also took my sponge and put water on the horses.
Pete returned and said that continuing on was a no go because it was steep and boulder strewn. I commended him for making this decision – some riders I know, like our friend Dick Stoffel, would continue on anyways.
The confident, competent, and centered clouds returned. I who had ridden to our lunch spot kept them in sight on the return trip down. This served me in good stead because I stayed on Tyra the entire way back down trail.
Pete and I tied up the horses and sat down in the field by the base of the road. As we were talking, I spotted three brand new $5.00 bills. We now had two options. We could either ride the 30 miles back to the trailer, or Pete could hitchhike and return with it. We decided on the latter. We returned to the previous night’s campsite, the one with a picnic table, and we had dehydrated beans and rice for dinner.
Next: 198. 7/20/19: Transition Day