Monday, July 1, 2013

Columbia Mountain - Alpine Trail #7

Yesterday, temps were predicted to be in the 90's and climbing higher yet into the rest of the week. We wanted to get the horse out for a long ride, so we set out early to go take a ride up Columbia Mountain. It's elevation reaches over 7200 feet and it had been years since we had been on it.

My front windows give me an unending view of this mountain. It's a steep climb but offers some fantastic views.

Not only is the trail steep, but it is also technical, offering steep washed out sections, shale rock slides areas, narrow parts where part of the trail edge has sloughed away from spring run off , and large rocks that are more like stairs that you have to make your way down.

We took Maggie and Brego, "T's" Morgan/Barb gelding who is green and somewhat spooky. I wasn't thrilled with his choice of mounts for this ride but he did need the experience and Maggie needed some hills to blow off some snort after being stuck to arena riding for the last couple of weeks.

Looking down the trail into the water fall /creek crossing. This is so steeo that we got off and walked down. It is also  washed out and at the bottom is a big waterfall to left, drop off to right where water is going..

Brego and T coming down.. T is out of site behind the tree leading his horse. I have already come across and I am up on the opposite side of the trail looking back down.

Brego pauses for a moment before starting his decent..he looks over at Maggie and I as if to say "seriously?? I have to go down this? to get over there ???"
Coming across.. Brego is blurry because he was about the leap..this was a training "moment"

Taking a break to enjoy the about 4500 feet

Brego and Maggie trying to locate their barn...

We climbed to about 5200 feet when we had 3 dirt bikers catch us. Brego was not fond of them but they were very polite and accommodating . We let them by but given how rattled Brego was , decided to turn around and head back. It was getting hot and the horses were pretty tired from the climbing. We met three more dirt bikers on the way back down and again, they were very friendly. By the time we met the last of these on the trail Brego was getting much better about them. It was a narrow trial and meeting dirt bikers on this kind of trail is dangerous at best. They are generally moving pretty quickly . They can't hear over the motors or their helmets so yelling at them doesn't work. If you happen to be coming around a corner ,  they cant see you in enough time.  The first group of riders was this situation and almost proved to cause Brego to jump off the trail but they did get their bikes shut down in just the nick of time. The others, we were able to hear them in enough time to get visible and wave them down.

Had we realized that dirt bikes were allowed on this trail, we would have chosen  a different riding location but all in all it turned out to be a good training opportunity.

The horses were tired so when we got home, they both got a nice hosing off and rub down with Vetrolin.

With the heat predicted, I don't know how much riding will ensue in the coming days.


cheyenne jones said...

Looks like a brilliant ride, one to remember.

Jonna said...

Well Cheyenne, definitely memorable! not sure about the brilliant part on our part for choosing that trail that day!

Dom said...

Talk about a rugged trail!