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Trip Dispatch #1: Thursday, May 19: Gulnare, CO to Apishapa River Crossing, CO: Outside the (Alaska) Box (11 miles)

The first days are the hardest days
so don’t you worry anymore.
Life comes on easy street, and comes knocking at your door.
                          Uncle John’s Band, Grateful Dead


It took us a while to pack Signy, having never done anything like this before. We sorted through and discarded gear, and we made sure that both panniers were equally weighted by using a fishing scale. Jettisoned: (among other things) horseshoes, people shoes, extra bridle, and notebooks.

Last minute preparations
Last minute preparations

We agreed that Pete would pony Siggi and I’d pony Rainbow. I was settling into my saddle when Rainbow spotted one of Andrea’s cats. She darted under Raudi’s legs and I let go of her lead. General mayhem was the order of the day as Rainbow chased the cat and Pete chased Rainbow. Pete finally caught her and handed her back to me. Andrea’s friend Loren then showed us a route that took us past the mare pasture, to Apishapa Road.

I began singing the above-mentioned tune moments after we left Andrea’s. Had I been asked, I would have said that I was singing in order to calm Raudi down. But I was actually really singing in order to calm myself down. The horses were intrigued by the differing landscape, some of the sights including horses, a windmill, pickup trucks, elk, and cows. There were plenty of cows. A black heifer, standing in the middle of road, caused Raudi some concern, but not as much as the cow I met up with on the competitive trail ride, a year before. During that encounter, Raudi tossed me over her head into a manure pile.

We came to Spanish Peaks Ranch property, we put hobbles on the horses, Signy for the first time, and attempted to eat lunch next to an alfalfa field. A Twin Peaks Ranch truck pulled up as we sat down to eat. Pete talked to the driver, who said that we needed to move on. So we packed our dry bag with our lunch food, removed the hobbles, and headed back up the gentle grade.

Pete was, of course, very polite. We must have impressed them, because an hour later they returned and gave us permission to camp on ranch property. We first had to sign a waiver. We were pleased; this was a good spot, since it had what we most needed: water, grass, a flat patch for pitching a tent, and trees for the horses’ highline.

Next: Dipatch #2: Apishapa Arch