Wednesday, July 1
We arrived at a place that I can't even tell you where it was because it doesn't have a name. We parked near a single campsite on the east side of Highway 75 about half way between Billy's Bridge and Phantom Hill. Wide open spaces, forests thick with aspen trees, beautiful green meadows sprinkled with wild flowers called to us from across the Big Wood River. Where we parked, the river was not that wide, but it was more impressive than any water Commotion had seen before, belly deep and moving fast.
I should mention here than my husband, Dave, sometimes forgets that I'm riding a young horse that is neither as confident nor capable as his big horse Roy. Also, Dave gets bored just following a trail so off we go cross-country. It's usually a bit challenging and fun. I had been bragging to him about what a super star Commotion was when we rode up to Big Basin. Dave, full of enthusiasm, swings up into the saddle next to the trailer and says over his shoulder, "follow me!" and slides down a steep hill right into the rushing river. I pointed Commotion down the hill and he said "NO STINKING WAY!" I agreed with him, this was too much for him at this point and surely there was a better place to cross. We made a left turn and began to follow the river upstream, shadowing Dave on the other side. Dave of course, doesn't look back, doesn't have his cell phone, and keeps right on moving out. Roy on the other hand, does not like to be alone, his one big flaw, and as they dove into the thick willows that were way over his head, he began to whinny. He whinnied louder. Commotion and I found a better place to cross, but by now Commotion was very worried about whatever Roy was worked up about. I had my hands full. David appeared from the bushes across from us and yelled, "Well, come on!" (I guess I had bragged a little to grand). Noticing that things weren't going that well, he came toward us, and dropped down into the river. In the middle Roy slipped on a rock and stumbled and fell. He scrambled up and out of the water and they came up through the bushes to where we were waiting impatiently (pawing, dancing).
I am pretty sure here in my assumption that every married person at times finds themselves exasperated with their spouse. Telling Dave what I thought of him going across the river and not keeping an eye on us and what was going on with Commotion, what a youngster he still was and how we needed take baby steps and on and...
Then I realized that something didn't look quite right. David and Roy were standing there still and quiet, with the most innocent looks on their faces. Under Roy's belly, the cinch hung loose, unattached on one side and hanging down from the right side of the saddle, swinging from the strap that connects it to the back cinch. The back cinch was still fairly tight (we don't want to get sticks stuck in there as we bushwhack). When Roy fell in the river, the latigo broke. Looking toward heaven, I thanked God for getting them out of the river and up onto the road safely, and for David's good centered seat.
Back at the trailer, we dug a new latigo out of the spare parts bin and started over.
This time, we crossed the river and wove through the willows to a wide open meadow ringed by aspens and cottonwoods. The Boulder Mountains towering beside us in full glory. Those mountains never fail to take my breath away. Game trails led us to multiple dead ends where they'd fizzle out. We climbed along the side of a large hillside, Lily struggling to get through the dense sagebrush and tall grasses. Stopping near the top, we got off to have a little light lunch, a couple cookies and an apple, sitting on the slope, holding our reins, looking out across the vast wilderness.
The flies and mosquitoes chased us off our perch, and it was hot, so we mounted up and went back down toward the creek flowing down to the Big Wood. There was plenty of downfall for us to negotiate, and places for Lily to cool off in the water.
By the time we got back to the river, our earlier escapade had all but faded from memory. Commotion followed Roy right on through the deep rushing water, wetting his chest and belly. We unsaddled at the trailer and let them both graze for a while, meandering down to the river for a good long drink.
This day took us a little out of our comfort zone, but only for a short time. We all lived through it and ended the day in in a happy place.