Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Day 3 Part 2: Sunset Horseback Riding

I rushed out of the park around 415pm because my sunset horseback ride was scheduled for 5pm. I had found them through trip advisor and they were worth every penny!

Nimbly through the drying creek beds
I had told Sena, the woman who answered my phone inquiry that I have zero experience with horses. Other than the horse rides you get as a kid where the horses are attached to a pole and walk around in circles. I know I was a mean bronco rider for as long as my dad kept putting quarters in the ride, but a real live animal is well, a real live animal with a mind of its own and teeth!

Dry gullies are no match for our nimble horses
I climbed as nimbly as I could, although I didn’t look as dashing as John Wayne since I had a step stool. But I felt smart in my saddle. My horse was a Paso Fino, known for its smooth stride and a good reputation as an excellent trail horse. That’s what my guide, John told me. I couldn’t agree or disagree because all I knew was I was on a horse and it was so fun.

I can whistle like a lonesome cowboy too!
Except when she decided she wanted to trot or gallop, things that aren’t meant to jiggle start jiggling and I was very conscious of the 2-1/2 hours of riding ahead. There were 5 of our tourists, a European couple and a mother and adult son rounded out our group. It was a nice small group which is how the owners like to run things. Of course, some of us were better riders.  The mom seemed to have more experience on horses because she gave me tips on how to ride my horse, El Paso, when she starts to gallop. I basically have to half-stand on the stirrup, sit back and keep my back straight. I found myself leaning forward for some reason.

I was enjoying myself so much; almost 45mins had passed on our ride before I remembered to pull out my cell phone and just video record everything.  Firstly, there is no making a horse stand still so you can take that perfect shot. Secondly, my SLR was tucked away on a small saddle bag which sat just above my saddle. The saddle bag had my SLR on the left side and two bottles of water on the right.

Where they filmed "John Carter" this was Mars!
My one cell phone, with the better 8MP camera, rode on my right hip and was easier to slide in and out of its holster so I would slide it out and video tape, knowing I’d have to simply screen cap still photos. But I’ll know now, even before I have my film develop, no photo I take will do justice to the magnificence of the back country that I saw.

Fisher tower - the other half of Mars
I’m sure the locals would smile at me benignly thinking, awww, you ain’t seen nothing yet! But it was the only time I had.

RT 128 Scenic byway
Of course as I rushed to my 5pm appointment, I drove on the breathtaking RT 128, which winds along chasing the Colorado River. There are parts of the desert that blaze in the sunset and this was one of them.

If you get the chance to visit Moab, UT, I would highly recommend taking a sunset horseback ride. 

I went with the folks at www.moabhorses.com but there are many other outfits as well, some may have it through a resort, etc. But I enjoyed these folks because they also have a small little lodge for overnight accommodations. They are tucked in a dirt road close to the river and in an area where it is nothing but open sky. Fisher Towers is nearby and visible and I could only imagine how the night must be out there in the desert. 
The sun falls slowly as if savoring the land with a final long good night

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