Saturday, March 8, 2008

Four Queens

Thursday March 6 2008

The snow is gone (down here), the cold wind eased, the ragged coughing fits have ended - we're back in the saddle again!

The Four Queens headed up Pickett Creek, aiming for the southeast upper flats. Plan A was to avoid the half-broken gate Carol had to jerry-rig closed the other day, to keep the cows out and our horses in. "Let's go into the canyon and head up on top that way."

There's a nice amount of water flowing at the upper part of the canyon here, and the horses waded their way through the creek into the canyon. It was quite brushy and overgrown in places since the last time we'd been through there in October.

Some places, there was no way around, so Justy just bulldozed her way through thick branches and screens of brush, Carol fending off branches; and after everything snapped back into place, Quickie did the same, bulling her way through while I threw myself down on her neck to avoid getting ripped off of her backwards.

There was more ducking and dodging till finally we came to a downed tree.

We four queens stopped and looked at it. Carol got off to try to pull the tree out of the way, but that wasn't happening. But we didn't want to turn around and go back to That Gate.

Plan B. "Let's try going through the brush back there, up on the bank." The 2 mares hopped up out of the creek and into a thick stand of 5-foot tall sagebrush. Which ended in a solid wall of quailbush. Carol and Justy tried to bull their way through that but after 5 yards Justy had enough and turned around.

Plan C. I hopped off Quickie and bushwhacked around the other way, and came to a wall of rock and impenetrable quailbush. No horses going that way.

Plan D. Carol got off and tried the Plan B non-path again to stomp a path through the quailbush. We just had 10 more yards to get through and we were in the clear! But that wasn't going to happen. We four looked at the thick brush barrier. "If we were real cowboys, we'd get through that." "If these were real cow horses, they'd get through that."

But we are not cowboys, and our horses are not cowponies; we are queens, out for an easy ride. So, though you just hate to turn around and backtrack, we did just that, and headed for Plan E, the bad gate.

Which, after all that thwarted bushwhacking , sure was pretty darn easy to open. It's all in your perspective.

Through the gate, up onto the flats, we cruised through the miles on perfect trails in the cool sunny day, with snow-covered mountains framing our view in front and behind, the horses seeming to enjoy being back on the trail as much as we enjoyed being back in the saddle.

It felt great!

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