July 5, 2017
Our morning started off with a bit of a splash… poor Dazzel and Ragan!
Just as we were heading out on trail that morning, Dazzel slipped while crossing Jefferson Creek pulling Ragan in with her. Both horse and rider were completely fine, aside from getting soaked… and it was freezing cold outside! The only way for them to stay warm was to keep on moving.
Continuing Segment 6
We had a 6.3 mile climb up to Georgia Pass, which sat at a lovely 11,874 ft. This would be our first time above treeline, so we wanted to get out on trail early enough to make sure we would be back down to the treeline before any potential afternoon thunderstorms came rolling in.
We found that our group averaged a 2 mph pace on the mountainous trails. and a 3-3.5 mph pace on the flat, easier trails. So that 6.3 mile climb up would take us about 3 hours until we reached the pass. We saw plenty of elk and deer on trail that morning – no moose yet.
The views were unbelievable riding over Georgia Pass! This was my first time experiencing the Colorado Rocky Mountains, and the sights we saw left me in awe.
We also saw snow for the first time on trail. Makani loved the snow! Anytime we passed by snow that was close enough for her to reach, she would take a bite of it before continuing down the trail.
After Georgia Pass, the trail descends almost 2,000 ft over the next 6-7 miles. For a lot of the trail, I led my horse on the downhill sections.
We had another climb ahead of us with lots of switchbacks. On our way up, we passed a few mountain bikers. I guess the fun part in mountain biking is when you come back down the mountain, not the huge climb up.
Our second long climb up, only meant one thing… we had another long descent back down. As we started down the switchbacks, we noticed smoke rising from the trees in the distance. It was still miles away from us, but we watched as the smoke became thicker and rose higher. We were concerned about what was ahead of us, so we took a break to let the horses graze while we got in contact with some of our parents in Texas to check in about trail closures.
Surely enough, we found out the fire was located in Segment 7 and that the trail was closed. We now needed to find a way to get all six horses off trail. I am always amazed at how helpful the horse community is. Tracy reached out on social media to search for someone in the area who may be able to meet us with a trailer and help us move the horses to the next segment. Surely enough, someone stepped forward to give us a hand. We are so thankful for the horse and trail community!
We finished the descent down the switchbacks and set up camp at Horseshoe Gulch. Although we had to sleep on a hill, we were thankful that we were safe and would be able to get the horses off trail in the morning.