Monday, October 26, 2009

Horseback Riding in Garden of the Gods

Here is the "etc" part of Food Adventures Etc.
Yesterday I took my first horseback ride, in Garden of the Gods in Colorado.

Here I will slightly digress. When I was a kid, my two sisters were horsie girls. They loved horses. our family went through three horses with them. (I'm counting Misty, the little shetland pony) I just totally wasn't interested. The only aspect of the whole thing that I enjoyed was my older sister's plastic horse collection. And that was because the Barbies could ride them. I will give her credit though, she tried to convert me. I was intrigued by her book "The Black Stallion." She wouldn't let me read it until she had given me a couple lessons on horse tack and the parts of the horse. I still know what withers and chestnuts are. And somehow, I ended up on the horse going down the drive once or twice. But it is fuzzy and I'm sure wasn't under my control.

I'm visiting my sister in Woodland Park, near Colorado Springs which is a short drive to Garden of the Gods. We set up a one hour ride Saturday with the Academy Riding Stables there at the park. I made darn sure they knew I hadn't ridden before so they would give me the easiest beast there. The picture they took was in front of Rattlesnake Rock. This big fella's name is Justin and he is a Morgan. Yes, my legs felt a little rubbery when I got off, but recovered nicely. It's funny that today, Tuesday, is when I am feeling a lot of pull in my thighs! (As in, hard to get up off the sofa)

That same day, we toured the Molly Kathleen Mine in Cripple Creek, Colorado. The shaft goes down 1,000 feet. Here is the apparatus that takes the little cage down.

Only my sister and I were on that tour. They only use real miners for guides, so this guy knew his stuff and could answer every question.

I didn't have any claustrophobic moments, but as I looked through the mesh floor of the cage as it dropped and saw the 40 feet of water that lay below the bottom level where we were to get off, I mentioned to the guide that this encompassed 2 of my fears: of deep water and heights.

It snowed that night. Many people might say, "So what?" But to me and those of us from the Central Valley in California, snow is something you drive up to the mountains to see, and then drive back home again. But this was happening... right outside THE FRONT DOOR!

Last night we drove over to Pueblo, Colorado for the state finals high school marching band competition. My niece plays clarinet in the Woodland Park band, which was in the competition. My sister and I drove over, her dad came over from work, and her grandparents drove down to see her compete. So I got a great family picture for them!

It must have been youth and adrenaline that enabled the various color guard flag twirlers to function in their wispy, sleeveless little outfits. It was cold! I kept expecting ice to crunch under my feet, but the mud was soft. I could have sworn it was about 29 degrees, but the thermometer stubbornly insisted it was above freezing all day and evening.

Stay tuned! More to come in the next few days!


  1. That's a HUGE morgan. Which by the way are very nice horses.

    Glad you are having fun.

  2. Yes, it is enormous. Nola had a big black morgan that I thought might be a Friesan at first. They didn't even have us try to mount, but took the horses straight to the mounting staircase. The guide's comment is "He's just a great big Teddy bear."
    Everything felt really heavy. Like plod plod. Like an elephant. Especially going down those staircase-like parts of the trail. But I knew he'd done it hundreds of times.

  3. haha...plodplod is what Blackie feels like lol
    I love the pictures, keep us posted!!