On the Wyoming trip, we drove about twelve hundred miles with two horses and was gone Tuesday through Sunday. For the Colorado trip, we flew (frequent flier miles), stayed at a Hilton (with a low Priceline.com price) and was gone just a little over 60 hours. Guess which trip cost more?
Traveling with horses is MUCH cheaper than traveling with two teenagers.
But it wasn't about the price but the time. And as I told a friend, it was priceless.
So I will report on the Wyoming trip soon but in the meantime, I will share with you what I shared with friends about one of the activities on the family vacation.
We just got back early this morning (literally) from Vacation Part 2 with John, Case & a friend. Planes, cars and zip lines were the main theme but John and I did sneak in a ride on the rental string at Garden of the Gods. The scenery was beautiful, the horses knew their job but not much fun for someone who knows how to ride. Wow! I can finally say I ride better than most people who rent horses. I guess that is an accomplishment! I laughed when the guide told us to lean forward and grab our horns when going up a hill and to put our feet out and grab the back of the saddle when descending a hill. We would lose points in CTR for being heavy in the saddle and unbalanced, had we be competing. Alas, these horses have long seen their competitive days.
|My rental horse, EZ|
My horse, EZ (or Easy), was a grade QH type. I think he had hip joint problems, dragging his back legs terribly, especially when going down hill. He was uncomfortable, even at a walk and I was thankful it wasn't an all day ride. But he was a good boy and I gave him plenty of pats and scratches along the way.
|John on Ice|
John was on a white or gray horse - maybe some draft or mustang - huge feet. Her name was Ice (we think it was a mare but none of us ever looked) and she and EZ weren't real fond of each other, giving each other the pinned ears if they got within close range of each other.
|Santa Fe is the roan colored horse in front of this sorrel.|
The PITA horse was one named Santa Fe that was ridden by a "grandpa". Santa Fe had Grandpa's number and stopped every opportunity she got. Since we were in the back with Grandpa, after about the 3rd time she stopped for no apparent reason but to see if Grandpa was going to get her going again, I took to clucking and kissing and finally told Grandpa he needed to use his heels to keep her going! Case and his friend did not ride with us. They planned to and then when he saw adults being lead by the wranglers, he opted out. We were glad because he would have B & M'd the entire time. John and I could make it less about the horse and enjoy the beautiful scenery - because it was.
|I am hanging on for dear life|
Zip lining was not on my bucket list. Ever. Oh, I probably could do the small one at Camp Moses but just saying no where had I ever even thought about zip lining. But made plans for the kids to do it. When given the opportunity for the "classic" or the "xtreme", of course my son would say the xtreme. 40 mph isn't fast enough. He wanted 60 mph with 1,700 foot ranges and a free fall. I agreed he could and I would watch. Some other dad said I should do it but I said I got a bad elbow and a bad shoulder and I am seeing a chiro right now.... But Case insisted I had to do it, too. "You ride horses, Mom", he said. And while riding horses is no comparison to zip lining, I have to admit that when he said that, I felt it was with a sense of pride - that not ever mom rides horses. That perhaps I was a little bit more than just the ordinary 50-something year old mom. I might have stood a bit taller as I ordered up Xtreme Zip Lining for 4!
|Case hot dogging|
The guides were really good, as were the 3 other kids joining us who were from Oklahoma. They acknowledged that they were vacationing with their parents and when I asked how come they weren't zip lining, evidently they don't ride horses because they said their parents would never zip line. Well how about that? So the 20-something year old guides explained how we were buckled in several times for me and what saves us should this buckle break or that buckle break. They encouraged me that while it was alright to close my eyes should that help me get thru it, I should consider opening them so that I can enjoy the scenery. Every time the lines were longer, faster and steeper. But once I left the deck, I did get to where I could open my eyes and maybe even enjoyed it a bit.
Until we got to the free fall at the end.
|No caption needed!!|
I knew it was coming. They told me about it. I could see it in the distance, but never really grasped what they meant by free fall. I thought maybe the line went down straighter and then leveled out when you were maybe 7' above the ground. That sounded real to me. When I landed on the tower which had no way down other than the "free fall", I kind of freaked. My guides, who were my best friends up until this point, now told me I had to jump to my death and die. That is how I felt. Not only that, but I had to go first! WTH?? And in addition, the girl guide said it still freaks her and she has to be pushed. "But after that, it is fine," she told me. Now WTF?? I watched as her partner attached her to what looked like a bungie cord with a carabiner and pushed her to her death. Now granted, she landed on her feet but why couldn't it just "lower me", not have me free fall until it "catches".
I said I needed to watch others first. They said "no". It will just freak me out more. I let them hook me up. Case said he would push me and I must have resembled Satan as I spewed "stay away from me!" I told Dakota, the guide, that no one can come near me and he has to help me. John said it took me longer than 5 minutes, perhaps not 10 minutes for it to happen. Staci was down below promising margaritas, I may or may not have been chanting the Hail Mary. I asked if I could sit and do it and Dakota said I would not be far enough away from the platform. I finally told him that I couldn't do this without being pushed and that he (not Case) would have to push me. I told him when my left toe moved next to my right toe (which was on the edge), that he could push. Even as I type this, I am not sure I moved it or not. I just know I went down, it caught me and I was down. The next thing I knew, Stacy was hugging me and the group above was cheering. All I know is I needed a margarita really really bad!
The rest of the group came down without incident.
That is probably one of the hardest things I have ever done. From the first line to the last jump. I have to admit, I feel pretty good for accomplishing it!
The above video from YouTube is not of us but of the drop where we were at. The first 50 seconds were pretty cool. John and I raced down that line together (I won) but at 50 seconds and after, is the death drop. (Zip lining photos courtesy of http://www.royalgorgeziplinetours.com )
I have a lot of great photos to show you from Wyoming. That will be coming soon. I have told myself I will not become one of those retired bloggers - even if it takes me longer to get things posted. Stay tuned.