Yesterday afternoon Horsecrazy Annabelle and I headed up to the Eagle Foothills to enjoy a relaxing trail ride before we embark on horse show craziness for the next few days.
I had originally planned to go ride alone. The kids were at daycare for the day, and I had a rare unscheduled afternoon to myself. At the last minute, though, I threw Grumpy in the trailer and swung by to pick up my little riding buddy. As Desperate Hubby so wisely suggested, I would have plenty of time to ride alone once Annabelle started school this fall.
Once we got to the foothills, I was sure glad she was with me. The hills were green and adorned with wildflowers. For most of the year the foothill ride is dry, dusty and gray, so it was a big treat to see her in her colorful spring dress. Little did we know that these pretty orange flowers would be only one of the attractions we would enjoy.
The hills were greener as we got closer to the top of the hill, and we saw this huge flowering bush growing in a ravine we rode by. I’m not sure, but it looked like wild roses from where we were. The colors didn’t come out really well, but all the bushes in the center of the picture were covered in little pink flowers.
As we rode a little further, we heard a song bird singing somewhere off to the side of the trail. The trill was so beautiful and unique that Annabelle remarked on it, and we stopped our horses to see if we could spot the bird. My little girl has a great eye, and after a few seconds of survey she pointed out this tiny bird sitting on top of a sagebrush about thirty or so yards away.
The picture is a little blurry because the bird was far away and only about the size of a sparrow. It was so brightly colored that Annabelle thought it was a pet bird that had escaped from someone. I’m sure it was a wild bird, but I have never seen one like it before. It serenaded us for several minutes, but when we tried to ride closer to it it flew away.
As we rode along we saw several more beautiful wildflowers.
And this weed, growing up out of a mysteriously placed old tire, that looked just like someone had planted it in a planter.
As we got to the top of the hill, I saw a little pile of deer poop on the ridge. I remarked about it to Annabelle as she approached the top of the trail.
When she got up to the top we sat and let our horses catch their breath for a few minutes, and she examined the pile of poop carefully. “Do you think the deer is around here mom?” I said that I didn’t think so. It was probably sleeping in the bushes somewhere. “Well, is that poop fresh?” she demanded. I told her no, it was not because it was all dried out and whitish from being in the sun.
Annabelle was disappointed. She is completely fascinated by all sorts of wildlife, and asks innumerable questions on every ride about the badgers, whistle pigs, hawks and whatever else we may see evidence of.
We started down the trail. I was ahead of my little girl by a few dozen yards, since she was reluctant to leave the evidence of deer life in the area.
Suddenly I heard a shout from behind me. “MOM!!!! What is that?! WHAT IS THAT? THERE IS SOME SORT OF ANIMAL OVER THERE!” I turned around and rode back to her, but I couldn’t see what she was pointing at. I maneuvered Spice around to be right beside her so that I could look down her pointing arm.
Lo and behold…….it was a deer!
I was completely amazed that she had spotted the animal. I zoomed in with my camera to get these pictures, but this is the size of the deer without magnification. He is in the upper left corner of the picture, by the bushes. He definitely caught the horse’s attention.
See, I told you she has a great eye.
We sat the watched the young male for at least fifteen minutes. He watched us calmly, then slowly stood up.
He turned around and started eating some bushes, stretching his head up like a giraffe to get the branches he wanted.
We finally rode away, and he turned and watched us go. We couldn’t see any other deer in the area, and I thought maybe he was lonely.
Of course, there wasn’t anything for the rest of the ride that could compete with that.
We did see some more pretty flowers. Annabelle thought these fields of white flowers that were on the very top of the hill looked like cauliflower. I agree.
The hillside was covered in them, and it looked really pretty.
These tiny purple daisies also grew at the very top of the ridge.
Winston enjoyed himself hunting for birds and whistle pigs, completely ignoring the hazy view of the city far below.
We saw another pretty bird just before we started to head back down the ridge to our trailer. This one just sat and let me ride up to within about ten feet of him.
There were a few more flowers along the way. These were a little faded,but still beautiful.
I was so glad that I had taken Annabelle with me on the ride. It would not have been nearly so rewarding to experience all the high desert spring splendor by myself. And I would have missed the bright bird and the deer completely.
The world truly is more spectacular through a child’s eyes.