Thursday, February 5, 2009

Pleasant Creek

Fall is about my favorite time of year. I'm pretty sure that the horses prefer it to the other seasons. After the first freeze, the mosquitoes and horse files are gone. Dottie and Little Guy get real energetic in the cool weather, and they have plenty of late grass to munch. Dangerous, Utah, and Fremont are always pointing out a favorite yellow stand of aspens. If we are lucky, the river birch will be red along the creek banks we ride. Dangerous thinks I don't see the colors around me, but like most things, he's wrong. I do enjoy wading in the half frozen creeks, and I especially enjoy the trail snacks deer and elk leave behind. The cold weather makes them real tasty. Supposedly, dogs don't see colors that come with the changing seasons. But, you have to remember I'm not like other dogs. While I didn't go to college, I have a highly developed aesthetic sense that lets me enjoy a fresh, fall ride as much as anyone.

Wherever you go in the back country, you will find a "Pleasant Creek." We have one ten miles from the Home Place, and we ride the trail often. Usually, four or five time a year. Since Dottie still remembers her dry, St. George youth, Dangerous likes to start her on the Pleasant Creek Trail. She gets to cross clear, flat water without taking a fit and unloading him in a black, muddy pool. We work up to that later in the riding season.

We have to share the first three miles with ATVs. Fortunately, we ride during the week, and try to stay home during holidays and hunting season when they are out in force. Once we leave the road behind, we have the place pretty much to ourselves. Sometimes we have to share with cattle, but I have learned to leave them alone. I only wish Blue wasn't so interested in refining his herding skills, but he is learning too. It was on this trail where Dangerous introduced Dottie to cows. Since she is an uptown Walking Horse, she didn't know what to think the first time she rode through a herd. Fortunately, Dangerous kept his seat and didn't end up on the ground.

The three mile ride up the road is worth the effort because it is the gateway to some special places. The trail branches in a number of directions. One leads steeply to the top of the world. We follow it occasionally, but have to blind fold Fremont Bob. He gets a bit squeamish when viewing the earth below him from 10,000 feet while sitting a horse or mule.

When we don't have all day, we take the branch where the pictures were taken. In the fall, the colors are spectacular, and we can hear elk bugling all around us. In the past, there was a dead one in a pond that Dangerous kept a close eye on. He didn't think it was going to come back to life, but he wasn't sure I wouldn't take a lovely roll in the decaying carcass. When I do that, he won't let me ride up front on the way home.

Well, that's all for now. I have to get back outside and patrol the fence line. I thought I heard the mailman coming, or even better it might be the UPS driver. Let me hear from you!

1 comment:

Max said...

Rosie. Though I don’t want to distract you from your mission of giving folks a look at the grand country that you roan, tell Ole Dangerous when he wakes up from his nap that I think your readers might like to see at least a pictorial on Habanero, Ernest, and Hemingway. Have him drive you over to get some photos. While your there, what I also think would be interesting would be for you to do an expose on how a classy horse like Habanero, as one can see from the picture of him with Freemont Bob and Blue, maintains his self-esteem living with those two. (I mean Ernest and Hemingway, not Bob and Blue.) No offense meant, but you have to admit, they’re both pretty interesting characters. (I guess that does apply to all four of 'em now that I think about it.)

Also, a few postings back you included a picture of Bob riding Ernest in the High Country. After reflecting a bit on your comment in that posting about the look of contentment on Ernest’s face and his penchant for deep philosophical thought, I thought I’d weigh in on the imponderable nature of mules. I, for one, believe that mules have been granted an unusual amount of intelligence and the gift of extraordinary insight into the nature of man. They seem to know every button to push and just when to push them to get the maximum reaction from their caretaker. (I am certain that they, like cats, do not have owners, only caretakers -- staff might be an even better description.) In any event, mules spend a great deal of time marching to the sound of their own drum. If you want to march along, you’re more than welcome, but don’t expect them to change the cadence for your benefit or until they're good and ready to do so. That about sums it up. I’ll end with a little poem I wrote about a mule I had when I was fourteen. It captures in brief our relationship while I was on her staff.

“Kate the Mule”

I once had a mule that I called Kate
An ornery cuss if ever there one could be
While her deep eyes were the very soul of innocence
Her heart was blacker than a smithy’s knee

She’d lure me to a sense of calm security
Like the sirens did way back in Homer’s day
She’d let me tend her hooves and trim them smoothly
As she calmly stood there munching on her hay

She carried on this ruse of full compliance
Like the finest Shakespeare actor on a stage
Not once would I doubt her full contrition
For the sins and follies written on her page

And then one day, without the slightest provocation
As least none that I myself could ever see
She’d mussy up an evil-hearted grin
And aim a cow kick right into my knee

Take care Rosie. I’ll check back now and then to see how things are coming along in the metropolis of Grover and its suburbs.