Our 4 hour ride was led by "Wild Bill," a 72 year old retired power company worker who has lived in this area for his entire life. Married for 48 years, he now enjoys retirement....a theme that resonates with me in this idyllic setting.
After an hour of riding through the most stunning scenery I have ever seen this close up, we ambled down to a defunct garnet mine, last mined by Tiffany's in the early 1900's. Pick ax in hand, I followed our guide's suggestions and hammered away and found several large perfect garnets and many small ones, too. I, who hates to get my hands dirty, scraped at the dirt, tossed out stones, got blisters for my endeavors, and could have stayed there all day!!! I admit, it was also a change to rest my legs, or rather, my knees, before getting back on Becky, my horse. Ron's horse, George Bush, was a solid rider, but, my was skittish if another horse got too close to her. For part of the ride, the ranch's resident dogs, Peanut, Hillary Clinton, and Jeb, ran along side, often diverting up and down the countryside, into the nearby streams and back to us again. Neither of us have seen dogs running free and it was a delight to watch their antics.
We rode over 500 acres, covering 10 miles of trails, up to mountain tops and down into valleys with streams. We stopped to have a quick pb&j snack before heading back to the corrals at 2pm. When we got back to our rv, we took a long nap. As you can see, even Peanut was exhausted.
I am happy to report that this morning I feel great-both knees are functioning and there are no signs of being saddle sore, either.