You can lead a horse to water
We were up at 6am for our day of horse riding in Lumby, BC. We arrived at the Silver Spurs Wilderness Ranch for 9am and spent some time getting the horses and ourselves kitted out (I got to steal our guide's son's new cowboy boots because my own shoes didn't have a big enough heel for the stirrups).
We then headed out on our 7 to 8 hour ride up a mountain to a lake and back again. At this point I discovered that, when Rylan originally booked our trek, even the guides themselves had tried to persuade him to opt for the 5 hour ride instead. He insisted. They gave in. I began to think this might be a bad idea.
Things were fine until lunch time. The horses were very familiar with the steep, uphill trail: all we had to do was lean forwards and leave the work to them. My horse, Diamond, preferred to canter up the steeper parts of the trail, which meant I spent most of the uphill stretch holding on for dear life.
We stopped for lunch at the summit, with a brown paper bag packed lunch and lovely views of the surrounding mountains. We then pressed on for our next stop: the lake. The thing was, our guides hadn't used this trail for a while (clearly, other visitors were more easily discouraged from booking the 8 hour ride than we were) so we ended up hacking our way through the forest. Soon, we were lost. Very, very lost. We had to dismount and lead our horses through the increasingly thick and wild undergrowth in the stifling heat. It was only by chance that, after a lot of false leads, we stumbled upon our original trail and were able to retrace our steps back to the main trail.
We eventually made it to the lake, which was beautiful, and we relaxed for a while before beginning the return journey. By this point, my battered legs were in all kinds of agony and my horse had decided it was going to try to consume every blade of grass in sight. This meant a battle of wills between me and Diamond - one that Diamond usually won.
The downhill journey was slightly terrifying, particularly considering Diamond's tendency to stumble even on flat ground. I spent the steep downhill ride leaning so far back in my saddle I was practically lying down.
Safely back at the ranch, we hobbled to the verandah of the ranch and drank the most delicious home-made iced tea with freshly-baked cookies.
When we'd recovered a little, we drove to Rylan's aunt Linden's house, our base for two nights. We arrived late evening.
on August 18, 2012
from the travel blog:
Canada and a little USA 2012
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