This past weekend Annabelle and I headed out for a nice Sunday trail ride with one of our favoritist people, Christine. We love to ride with Christine because she is smart and funny and kind, and because she knows how to use a GPS so we will never get lost. She also carries a gun at all times.
Annabelle loves Christine to distraction and I think she secretly wishes that I would learn how to use a GPS and carry a gun at all times. Actually, that isn’t a secret wish of hers. But I digress.
Christine was taking us to a new riding destination for this trip, which is another thing we love about her. As Annabelle says “Mom, if it wasn’t for Christine we wouldn’t know anywhere to ride outside of our own pen.” There is some truth to that.
Our destination this Sunday was Grayback Gulch Campground, about 35 miles southeast of Boise near Idaho City.
It was a lovely wooded trail at about 4000 feet, so it was a little cooler than down here in the valley.
We rode up and around the mountain on some old logging trails, diverting to a nice little single track for part of the way where we saw a lizard and some chipmunks.
I was riding Grumpy because Christine sold her sweet little mare Loretta earlier this summer in preparation for her upcoming adventure of a lifetime. But more about that later. Christine was riding Spice, my adored bay more who loves her more than me. Mainly because she doesn’t wear spurs.
Grumpy doesn’t really enjoy packing me around, chiefly because I way almost 100 pounds more than his owner Annabelle. But he’s a good sport about it.
As you can tell by the way he’s gnashing his teeth.
We came to a lovely little rock outcropping that just called out to me, so naturally I forced the girls to stop and take some pictures.
And Christine took some of me and my little woogums.
Then we rode on.
Annabelle had shed her outer shirt about halfway through the ride, and then she procured Christine’s water-filled neck cooler. That girl is a scammer.
But cute, huh?
Yet another of the super-cool things about Christine is her awesome inventory of wilderness knowledge. She knows all about edible plants and berries, and it was she who taught me to eat Rose Hips high up on the mountain at Avimor.
On this trip she identified some little red berries called Thimbleberries. These berries reminded me of a slightly tart raspberry, and they grew all along the trail in almost every shaded ravine. My daughter loved them.
She jumped off of Reno and scrambled up every draw we saw with Thimbleberries growing. She called them Bumbleberries.
She even shared some with the horses.
We rode for almost five hours and it was getting hot by the time we got back down the mountain. Even Winston was stopping at every patch of shade for a rest. He is a smart dog, that Winston.
By the time we got to the truck everyone was hot and thirsty. Christine had brought us a delicious saddle-bag lunch, which we had eaten early on in the ride. She also brought us a special after-ride treat of ice-cold lemonade. It tasted so good after a day in the saddle.
Winston drank and drank from his dish. When he was finished Annabelle gave the horses some water.
By the way, watering horses with a dog dish and cold sports bottles is not the most efficient method in the world. But she insisted.
And each horse got to wet their whistle a little before the ride home.
By the way isn’t my girl Spice a lovely, lovely mare?
Reno didn’t really drink. He just played in the water and splashed it on Annabelle. What a jokester.
We so enjoyed our ride with Christine in the Boise National Forest.
Our day was all the more precious because my friend is about to leave us and embark on a wonderful excursion with her family: sailing from Florida to the Caribbean Islands for one whole year. I am sad she will be gone for a while, but I cannot wait to hear all the stories about their travels (and to read the family’s blog accounting of their magnificent trip). I’ll keep you up to date as that comes along.
Plus, we are keeping their beloved Guinea Pigs, Zoe and Snowy, hostage while they travel. Oh, I mean we are babysitting them, so I know they will be back!