Nov 17, 2008
Finding Common Ground
The forecast called for an unseasonably nice day on Sunday and we were anxious to hit the trails. Not to be dampened by opening season for rifle hunting, we met at the only place we thought we would be safe from stray bullets: Wilderness Park in Lincoln city limits. Imagine our surprise as we were tacking up and two men pulled in wearing full camouflage gear and started to assemble their guns! I decided to hold my ground and walked over to the “would be” Rambos.
“Are you planning on hunting here?” I asked as I tried to look authoritive in my half chaps and breeches and denim jacket; obviously a failed attempt at equestrian chic.
“No,” said Sylvester. “We’re just playing paint ball.” Whew. I didn’t have to yell at them or anything. They gave us a general idea of where they would be “shooting.” Funny how grown men have to dress like soldiers to play! Beth waltzed over and Tanya and I searched for the hooks needed to help her fasten her chaps. I grabbed my helmet and Beth her leather fringed gloves. And we got on our horses.
The rest of our group joined us and we hit the trails. We meandered along, the leaves now under our feet. We crossed water, we walked, and we trotted. And we loped. Beth made an unplanned dismount. Landing on her feet, she scored a perfect 10. Searching for time and miles on a chilly November day, we rode as far as we could in one direction, returned and crossed to the other side and rode that entire loop, too. My son, Case, rode next to me most of the afternoon. We laughed as we ran our horses through the trees along the large creek. It can’t get much better than that.
We spotted many deer who took sanctuary in this city park. Cyclist in their full regalia, who also chose not to dodge bullets on the country roads, approached us on the trail. Dog walkers and their pets were ever mindful to the herd of horses sharing the path. We saw one of our Rambo buddies straddling a tree branch high above our heads. Quiet and waiting... (for what?) We weren’t sure whether to acknowledge him or not; would have hated for him to be “shot” by the enemy. We awkwardly rode on by. Case later said "that kind of creeped me out, Mom," with regards to the tree bound soldier.
It was a mixed bag of nuts in our urban forest, driven to common ground by others who are as passionate about their sport as we are about ours.