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Rocky Mountain high!!

Never enough time to enjoy the Rockies!!

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July 3-5, 2009
After a very full day at the Calgary Stampede parade we headed West into the Rocky Mountains for a very memorable weekend!
Thankyou to EVERYONE for pitching in and your patience to bring it all together.

Mom, Roland, Raquel and I met up with Reo, Devon, Shelly, Shelly’s girlfiend, Briana and Daphne.

Big thanks to our extremely wonderful horses, 19 year old Peggy our auction rescue pony, Palladin, Oakley, Chico who we just started training last year, Mac who also had never been to the mountains and did awesome and our Irish Tinker angel Sally, who was suppose to be just along for the ride from the parade but did a fantastic job of leading the group on Sunday.

    
Head west and take some wrong turns and waste 2 hours in Calgary, pulling the 40’ trailer!! Stop in Cochrane for fuel and food and find out we have a riped tire on the trailer.  Canadian Tire closes at 5 but they stay open for us and get us back on the road.
    
Only 98kms to our destination, but it takes us over 2 hours as the road is all gravel and very steep and twisting.  Many corners are 90 degree angles.
    
Finally get to the turn for the Mountain aire lodge along the Red Deer River.
    
Another half hour drive and we are there!!  Reo’s friends left the canopy for us.  THANKYOU!!  Turns out it is much appreciated.
    
Camped right beside the Red Deer river and it’s a gorgeous evening.
    
Unload the horses and they take a much desired drink.

Saturday morning
    
Saddle up for our first trail ride.  I’m the only one that has ridden this area so everyone is excited to get out and see the landscape.
    
Reo will be riding Mac, he rode him in a couple of our parades so they know each other.  I of course will be mounted on Palladin for this ride.  Need someone I can count on, just in case.

Ramona is on Chico for his first real trail ride.
    
Pass the first river crossing and up onto the flat and everyone is awe struck with the beauty of the valley.  Ramona is super excited, she would never get to see anything even remotely close to this in Germany.
    
It takes my breath away every time I see it to.  The contrast in the colours, the valleys, the mountains, the sky, the rivers, it’s all here.
    
Head up the ridge to stop and see the top of the water falls of the Big Horn river first.
    
The ravine is amazing, right in the middle of the open prairie.
    
And the water falls are gorgeous, the loud roar of the thundering water is not something the horses like to listen to.
    
I stay on top of the ridge and hold everyone’s horses for them so they can go and have a look.
    
Back down to the trail and head over to the water slide.
    
We are following the road that leads right into the actual Ya Ha Tinda ranch.  That’s the sheep meadow in the second picture.  Not a ride for this trip, but next time in.
    
And that is the Chinaman’s Hat in the first pic.  Same deal, not a ride for beginner mountaineers but next time.
    
Fire hit the valley beside the ranch last year and we ride through some burnt out areas.  Came pretty close to the ranch.
    
Tie up the horses and walk along the slide on foot.
    
Ramona is amazed at how clear the water is.  It is pure mountain water!
    
You can enter the water at the base of the rapids and slide down the natural stone slide into the little whirlpool in the cave.  Too cold right now though.
    
Time for a break.
    
Reo takes in the splendor.  Burnt trees at the top of the ridge.
    
Love this little cave.  Roland and Raquel enjoy the moment and cool their feet.
    
Seems most of the pics of me are with a camera in my hand!  Considering we have over 1,200 pictures between Mom, Ramona and I, it is understandable!
    
That water is COLD!!
    
Back to our trusty mounts and find that Peggy had released herself from her lead rope and was standing patiently beside Palladin.  Not sure how she did that, but sure glad she stuck around and figured she had a friend in Pall!!
    
We cross the river about 5 times in and out.  Great training for the horses. 
    
Chico never faltered once.  Not bad for a boy that had never been in the mountins.  Reo and Mac make a super pair.
    
Roland takes the lead for bit.

    
Great job you guys!! 
    
One more break.
    
Reo rests and Roland takes a drink from the river.
    
And Ramona wants a drink.  Offer her a bottle of water but she says “NO, I want to drink like a horse!!”
    
and she did!
    
Riding through these trails Raquel told me “Deanna, this is beautiful”.  I thought that was pretty darn great coming from a 10 year old that had never been in the mountains, nor rode a horse for that long before.
    
Nice smiles!

Love this shot of father and daughter.
    
Who is that cowboy in black??
  

Love this picture.  Shows the storm chasing us back to camp.  It’s coming up the valley from the Banff park border in the West.  

    
Chico showing excellent form.  Good job Ramona!!
    
Doesn’t matter where you look, every sight is a new picture.


Oakley takes everything in stride.  Think she loves it here.


And of course Mac.
    
Head out along the open plain to beat the storm.  See it coming up through the valley?
    
Little Peggy does awesome, we didn’t have shoes on her or Chico as they weren’t in the parades.  Raquel was extremely patient with Peggy and they both got along superbly. 
    
Look at Pall!!  He did awesome, of coure, and Look at Oaks and Roland.  Couple nice shots here.
    
Another nice shot of Mac and Reo.   This is a nice ride through this valley.

Cool eh!! LOVE this boy.
    
Extremly nice treat for me to have Ramona take all these pictures.  Worked out great fro the parades and also for the mountain ride.  Never had such wonderful pictures of myself before.  THANKYOU Ramona!!
    
Is Pall heading home??? LOL

Then the rain came down!!
    
We just got back to camp. Started to drizzle as we were finishing unsaddling the horses, then it just down poured!  Poor Peggy!!  But it must have felt good on their back.
    
At least until the hail started!
    
The hail was bouncing off of Sally’s back.
    

     Had a river running off of the canopy and then it ran right through camp around the fire.

    
That is wet.  Haven’t seen sheets of rain like that for a long time.
    
Just enough hail to make the ground white.  So glad we weren’t 10 minutes later coming in!!  Then an hour after it started the sun came out again.
Fit in a quick ride for the girls Saturday evening
    
After supper we head up the ridge for a quick little ride.  Laray had never ridden much and wanted to go for a quick ride.  She did very well, except for Oakley deciding she would rather walk back to camp than walk up the hill.
Time for a late night walk
    
Yes, that is our CAT Sitka in Ramona’s jacket.  Don’t ask. 
    
Figured the only opportunity we would have to see the Big Horn falls from the bottom was now!
    
Was getting pretty dark, but still light enough we could easily find our way.  Just couldn’t get the best of pictures.
    
That’s a cool one of Ramona though.

And somewhere along the way Ramona got this awesome shot.
    
It’s a pretty slippery hike back into the falls.  Baxter comes along for the tour.
    
Love this walk
    
Come around the bend, and, voila! There are the falls.
    
Ramona is HAPPY!!
    
Raquel and I climb up the face of the wall.

Back to camp and enjoy the end of a perfect day

Sunday morning
    
Sunday morning I have to get out of bed, it’s 6 AM.  Everything is still.  Want to take Sally out for a ride, but know better than to head into the mountains alone on horse back.  So just Baxter and I head out on foot.
    
Arrive at the head of the falls about 6:45, it’s amazing this time of morning.
    
The valley is full of low lying clouds, looks like mist.  See the only 2 elk of the whole trip.
    
Baxter has a hay day!!  He’s soooo excited to be out for a walk he’s bouncing from side to side.
    
follow the canyon back around the other side.
    
Look at the silly boy!  He’s totally suspended in the first shot.  He was in his glory.
    
Our tourist, Baxter, sitting pretty for his picture!!  We get back to camp just after 8 and all is still quite.
    
    
Devon rises and starts some breakfast, Reo and Roland pitch in and we have a gormet breakfast of bacon, eggs, bannock and toast.
    
Marmots in the mountains!
    
Saddle up after breakfast and head out for a quick tour.  Have to leave by 2:30 to get Raquel back on time, so no big trips this morning. 
    
Head back up the Big Horn, with Big Smiles!!
    
Sally’s debute to mountain riding.  Some big looks at rocks and trees, almost did a complete splay at one rock, but all is well.  She does very good for leading the group.
    
yup, it’s beautiful.
    
Daphne rides Mack and they get along extremely well.  Briana rides Oakley bareback because we don’t have an extra saddle (Sally wasn’t going to be ridden in the mountains, but what the heck!)
    
Good riding.

Now that is a cool pic.  A horse, rider and a dog in God’s country.  Does not get better than this.
    
Drink time.
    
Cute shot of Chico getting up on the ridge.

 
Another cool shot.
    

 

Love the colours in this shot.

   
Way to ride Raquel!!  What a super job you did with Peggy.   
    
Stop for a break before we head back down the mountain.  Oakley breaks a rein so now Briana will be riding bareback and bitless!!
    
Cowgirl Ramona!!
    
Chico says, “ We have to go all the way back down there??!!” 
    
Briana did an awesome job on Oakley bareback and bitless.  Thankyou to Oakley for being a superstar!
    
Think Mac is enjoying this??
    
Sally knows which way she is heading also.
  

  

LOVE this picture.  So proud of Raquel for putting on the miles she did and NEVER complaining once.

    
But who in their right mind would.  It’s the best place in the entire world to ride.

Thankyou again Ramona, another cool picture.  Never would have thought I would see the day I would be riding an Irish Tinker in the mountains.  What a great memory picture.
    
Last drink before camp.
    

    
Arrive back in the camp, another great ride.
    
Peggy is glad to be home.
    
Mac is ready to go again!
    
Unsaddle, brush the horses down.  Roland has already packed up camp ready to leave.  Such team work!!
    
 Roland cooks up a meal for everyone while we sort out the saddles and tack and clean up the tie up areas of our hay and manure.
    
Note to self, never leave shoes by the fire when you go for a ride and there is someone at camp that will put more wood on the fire!!
    

Take the horse trailer out to the road to unload the manure we cleaned up from our stay.  Everyone leads the horses up to the road.  Load em up and we are on the road again!!

Thankyou to all for a fantastic weekend!!

We’ll be back.