Forecast - 80 degrees and sunny.... Perfect day! Well not exactly...
I have the day off. Let's ride! And let's add in a photo shoot as there is a great spot along the trail I've been meaning to get some shots. Well.. the forecast was correct. It was sunny. It was warm. And it was WINDY. Something I fail to check. Living in CO for now 2.5 years, I should know to always check the wind! The weather along the foothills can be quite finicky. If they are calling for rain, well you have a 50-50 shot of getting wet. Wind is one thing that they are pretty spot on. If they are calling for 30-40mph winds, no doubt, it's going to be windy.
Well, we have some pretty good horses. My maximum wind speed to ride is around 20-25mph. What's a few more, right? And let's go to a trail where we will be protected. Perfect. On the road and well, that was sketchy in and of itself. Arrived at the trailhead and waited for my riding partner to arrive. I was getting my camera gear all ready. Bluebird sky, warm temps - this will be great. Saddled up and ready to ride.
Along the first mile we saw a large herd of deer (all doe) and a flock of wild turkeys. Hmmmmm - I guess that is why they call one of the trails the Wild Turkey Trail. Around mile 2, there is this old broken down homestead ruin. The spot for the photo shoot. Now mind you, the wind is whipping pretty good at this point. But we are in a heavily wooded area. As I was directing a pose, I turned quickly and jammed a thick sharp branch into my ear. Well golly, THAT hurt! I think Wyoming heard my scream. I regained my composure and continued to shoot. But I am a little off my game. Horse wasn't having it. So let's call it and continue the ride. Off we go. We get to the start of what I call the lollipop. I have had enough, so let's turn around.
Heading down the mountain trail, all is good. Good company, conversation, and laughs. At one point I put my hands up as if I could stop the wind. Ok Wonder Woman, that will NOT happen no matter how hard you try (insert rolling eyes of silliness). Then all of a sudden, both horses are bolting! I mean - taking off like a bat out of hell kind of bolting. I forgot to mention that this trail is full of rocks and boulders. It's not a bolting type of trail by any means. I am not exactly sure how far we actually went, but it didn't appear to be too far. Maybe 20 feet. We quickly hopped off, shaking like a leaf! What happened? A large tree had crashed down behind us about 30-40 ft from the trail. I have never loved my horse more than that moment. As he reacted to the crash, rightfully so, he still took care of me. And he settled down quickly. I was also very thankful as my horse had my very expensive camera gear. Whew!
All in all - we were lucky and we were quickly reminded to respect Mother Nature. Will I do that again? No - lesson learned. But all in all, it was still a good day. We were alive. Not hurt - well, my ear, but that is minor boo boo in the grand scheme of things.