Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Out of the Fog

Last Sunday, we loaded up in the foggy, threatening-to-rain late morning and headed north to Brimson.  The big lake was flexing  her weather-making muscles and threw some actual rain at us on the drive up, but by the time we turned off the highway to make our way to our "secret" parking spot, we'd driven out of the lake's sphere of influence, and the sun was peeking out.

We both shed a layer before setting out under a blue sky for what we hoped would be a nice, long ride.  We haven't ridden up here since last spring, and were surprised to see the new layer of rocky gravel (big round rocks more than gravel, really) on the  1 1/4 mile access road we use to reach the lovely ATV/snowmobile trails.  The horses, even in their boots, did NOT like the footing and wanted to walk along the very edge.  Most of the length of the road we were paralleling a *very* fresh set of moose tracks - so fresh that I think we must have pushed it out when we pulled in to park, not that we saw/heard anything.  I was surprised to learn that Gesa has never seen a moose, despite living in northern Minnesota for some years now.  I will have to do my best to remedy that situation - I love to see moose!
The footing they didn't like.

Once we hit good footing, the horses were fresh and eager, and we settled in to a nice forward trot, cruising along beneath the pines and thoroughly enjoying the ride.  The frogs were singing madly (they are so loud, I always expect to *see* something for all that volume!) at the beaver-dammed pond, which has taken over a little bit of the trail - just enough for Kelso to cool off and the horses to have a drink.  We continued on through the logging area, then turned around rather than complete the loop with gravel roads.  We get enough road riding at home and felt like sticking to trails for this ride.  That turned out to be a good choice, as Paco stepped on the gaiter of his right front boot shortly after we turned around, ripping it to shreds and causing the boot to come off.  Gesa noticed right away, so we didn't lose the boot permanently, but Paco had to go boot-less the rest of the ride.
Our magical piney trail!

We thought we might go check out the Cloquet River - it's been so dry, perhaps it would be ford-able and we could go ride the ups and downs of the rolling hills in the clear cut area.  Perched on top of the steep drop to the river, though, and considering, we decided not to chance it and turned around.
Overlooking the Cloquet River.

Heading back, we decided to explore a trail heading off to the left which we'd never ridden before.  I love to explore!  It started out wide and lovely, with excellent footing, as most of the rest of the trails in this area are, but soon became a trickle of trail through a lovely portion of forest above the river and we couldn't help ourselves but keep following it, ducking and weaving our way through the trees and brush.  We lost heart at one point, considering turning around, but figured if the ATVs were using it, albeit infrequently, it had to go (or come from) somewhere.  And we hadn't met an impassable obstacle yet, so onward we forged.  Only moments later, we popped out onto the trail to the river!  Oh - so that's where we are!
Brave Paco leading the adventure - checking out new trail.
Content with our trail blazing adventure for the day, and mindful of Paco's bootless condition as well as Kelso lolling tongue and Berlin's probable full bladder (he was hopefully napping peacefully in the back of the trailer on a cushy bed of saddle pads and blankets) - and the fact that my stomach, at least, was beginning to growl - we headed companionably back to the trailer, taking our time on the rocky footing.
Happy dog!

The horses were totally cooled out and their sweaty, hairy coats were dry by the time we got back to the trailer, 2 1/2 hours and 11 1/2 miles later.  Poor Berlin was barking to get out, but otherwise our parking spot was peaceful.  We so rarely see anyone else out here that we do think of it as our "secret" place.  We were basking in the warm sunshine and the pleasant tiredness after a good ride, so out came the lawn chairs and the cooler, and we sat down to enjoy snacks and beverages in the early evening light.  I'll admit, we lost track of time in our conversation and post-ride relaxation, and it was 7 pm before we were loaded up to head home!  Daylight savings time is a wonderful thing, but I had a lecture to write for Monday morning's 8 am class, and it would be at least 8:30 before I got home... oops!
Berlin begging for carrot. 
Riding is such a joy for me; it transcends reality and is so restful to mind and soul (perhaps not so much for the body.)  The danger does lie in ignoring one's responsibilities, however, and "dropping the ball" in some other area of life.  In my case, I willingly sacrifice sleep, clean laundry, and a clean house to ride (but, Mother Nature, the occasional rainy day would probably be a good thing.)

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