The last days
leading up to our start on the Colorado Trail were some of the most stressful days of the whole trip. Simple as that.
We had to get seven horses and five riders to our starting point in Denver, Colorado. Doesn’t sound too hard, does it? Just some hours spent driving to Denver…. WRONG! Throw in trailer drop offs, on-road difficulties and hours and hours, plus more hours on the road… yea think again!
We were taking a total of three trailers up to Colorado. Two 2-horse trailers and one 3-horse trailer. Plus, Annie was bringing her parents camper up for them to have when they came out to crew for us. So after some “math” that brought us up to:
- Four trucks
- Three horse trailers
- One camper
- Five anxious riders
- Seven crazed horses
- One of our amazing crew parents
- And all of the food and supplies we needed for 30 days on trail
let’s add in the fact that two of the three trailers needed to be dropped off in Durango the day after we arrived in Denver. Then, the third trailer and camper would be dropped off at our midway point in Salida, CO.
Needless to say, we had a few busy days before we would be able to get out on trail.
So let’s do this – June 27, 2017
We made the decision that we would begin our ride on the Colorado Trail at the alternate route starting from the Indian Creek Campground instead of the official start at Waterton Canyon Trailhead. With two of the trailers getting dropped off and parked in Durango, if we even wanted to start at the official trailhead, we would have had to take multiple trips to get all six horses to the Waterton Canyon Trailhead. The Indian Creek Campground ended up being the perfect place for us to set up camp for a few days before starting our ride. The campground has a nice setup with sturdy pens and water.
The first to arrive in Colorado was Lissa. She was hauling three of the horses and planned to arrive at the Indian Creek Equestrian Campground on June 27th. We had already reserved our campsites at the campground with horse corrals. Unfortunately, Lissa ran into some truck problems just as she was nearing the campground. She was unable to make it all the way and had to find a place to bunker down with three horses all while trying to deal with a broken down truck.
The rest of us planned on getting to Denver the following day on the 28th.
Have I mentioned that Texas is HUGE and each member of the team lives in a different city. Ragan and Annie were traveling separately to Colorado, which left Devan and I to coordinate our trip up.
Devan and I live six hours away from each other, which slightly complicated things. We made it work, though! Long story short… this was our schedule:
12:00 pm – Jess leaves to pick up Devan and Zurkh
7:00 pm – eat tacos before loading up and heading back to Jess’ hometown
3:00 am – get back to Jess’ hometown
6:00 am – WAKE UP. (yea 3 hours of sleep)
7:30ish am -Finally get on the road heading to DENVER
9:00 pm – made it to the campground… FINALLY
That is 12 hours of travelling on the 27th, and then another 18 hours on the 28th. Let’s just say we were exhausted!
The drive was not too bad, minus it being looong. Unfortunately to add to the long day on the road, we ended up with one flat tire toward the end of our drive. We made it to Indian Creek Campground sometime after 9:00 pm to find out that our camp was set up in the wrong site. We were not in the equestrian campground, but at the campground that did not allow horses. It was too late to move everything that night, so we dropped the tent, watered and fed our horses, and went to sleep. Early morning, either Devan or I would have another full day of driving because we needed someone to drive to Durango and back to drop off the trailer. Both exhausted from the trip, we agreed to come to a decision on who would drive in the morning.
Although, the days leading up to our start on the Colorado Trail were exhausting, the excitement was just settling in as our adventure was just about to begin.