As my time in Colorado draws to a close, the desire to explore is growing exponentially. Yesterday I was thinking that while I have ridden in the canyon below the ranch, I have not really taken my time poking around its massive meadows and caves. So I emerged from my bedroom bright and early this morning, donned a smelly pair of cowboy boots and lassoed my palomino gelding, Capelli D’oro. In less time than it takes to walk the dog, I was on my pony and heading south…down, that is. Over rolling, jagged rocks and sweeping meadow, Capelli D’oro bore me into the gaping mouth of the rugged canyon.Flowers, cacti, pines, aspen, cougar, elk and bears…the variety of life who calls this canyon home is seemingly endless. Half of my exercise today was simply climbing in and out of the saddle to take pictures of the breathtaking views. With sides bared like the bones of a dinosaur, the canyon’s red rocks jut dauntlessly from the cloak of the pines.
After exploring a cave-like split in the sandstone’s cliff face, I rode deeper into the canyon until I came across a sweeping meadow. Despite the thrill of climbing the cliffs and the awe of finding a spectacular view, the meadows remain my favorite parts of the canyon. Not only do they give you room to appreciate the vastness of the ravine; they also provide Capelli with the opportunity to gallop. There are few things in this world that I enjoy more than soaring over a prairie on the back of a spirited horse.
As the day grew into the afternoon, the rain clouds passed and left us to bake in the noonday sun. Despite my appreciation for the opportunity to work on my feeble tan, it didn’t change the fact that I was getting uncomfortably warm. But on our way home, I began thinking about the bears and cougars. Soon I was glancing sheepishly into the trees and caves, wondering if there were any hungry cats lurking in their shadows. Then, as my sister’s mare caught my eye, I realized that Capelli and I had nothing to worry about. I didn’t have to outrun a bear.
All I had to do was outrun the mare.