Travels

Ridin’ the trail in the hail
7/11/2007 2:35:34 AM by: Elsi

We left at three for the trail ride weenie roast. Diane had found one that offered a wagon ride to the site for "that special person in your party" who can't ride a horse. This is the first year I've been unable to manage a horse, and I didn't want to be left out of the fun, so we leaped on this plan. Drive to Leadville (an hour and several thousand feet elevation from Breckenridge, CO), they ride horses and I ride in a wagon, we roast our hotdogs on the campfire, finish with s'mores, and everyone rides back. Sounds great! And it actually was. Mostly. And God is good ... ALL the time! Our trail guides were a college girl named Christie and a high school senior, Steve. The adult in charge managed to get me up the narrow, steep, rickety steps to the wagon. He then told Steve not to try to get me out on his own, but to wait for Christie to help. I fully agreed with this plan! The wagon ride itself was one of the most frightening things I've ever done. Steve doesn't yet have his driver's license (for cars, I mean), and he's only been driving the wagon a couple of weeks. He had trouble convincing the mules to stay on the barely-a-road, and had no concept of steering around ruts, holes, or rocks. The wagon tipped wildly from side to side, with jugs of water and supplies sliding back and forth across the floor. I was on a bench along the long side of the wagon, so I was sideways to the road. The bench had a little back, perhaps eight inches high. As the wagon tipped, I was thrown forward and backward, with no confidence at all that the bench back was going to keep me from tipping out into the rocks. I braced my feet as best I could and clung madly to the bench seat with one hand and the back with my other. I was quite certain I was going to be pitched out on my head, breaking my back or doing something terrible to myself, at any moment. The horseback riders (just our party and the guide) were directly behind the wagon, so I was being cheerful and positive for them. As we approached the campfire site, it began to rain. First a few sprinkles, then harder rain, and then hail. Christie led the riders into the woods, which offered some protection. Steve, of course, had no choice but to stay on the road. And I didn't dare release my grip on the seat to grab my raincoat, in my pack at my feet! After a few million years (perhaps five minutes, I would guess; I wasn't checking my watch!) we arrived at the campfire site. Christie got her riders into the shelter and tied the horses to trees. Steve tied the wagon's mules to trees. I put on my raincoat. Steve obediently waited for Christie, who hadn't heard the original directions. Eventually Christie got the horses settled and rushed into the storm to get me out of the wagon! Now, the next issue was, how do we roast hotdogs over a campfire, when it's raining and hailing? We had to shout to hear one another in the shelter, because of the force of the hail on the canvas roof. After some discussion, Christie and Steve decided to build a fire in a metal drum/barrel in the shelter; they said they could light the wet wood with diesel fuel. You can imagine how thrilled Diane and I were at the thought of having a lighted drum, reeking of diesel, in a tiny tent-shelter! But by this time the hail had stopped, and the rain was abating. We could see lighter sky ... then bright sky ... then actual sunshine through the rain. And eventually the rain stopped completely. Jake sent Steve back to camp with the wagon and started the campfire, using copious amounts of diesel. (My father would NOT have approved, but it worked!) We roasted our hotdogs and marshmallows and had a great time! Dropped Diane and the kids off, then back to Boulder--just overnight, but long enough to have two great privileges: I got to see my friend Vicki AND her not-quite-a-year-old grandson, and I was able to go to my house church. That fellowship is precious! Next stop? Gardiner, Montana, just at the north edge of Yellowstone!

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7/13/2007 3:43:32 PM
   
  newbie
   
  Danielle V.,  
   
 

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