"The mountains are calling and I must go." John Muir
I was SO HAPPY to be able to get the boys out into the mountains last week. We finally had some beautiful sunshiny weather without the w-i-n-d... The w-i-n-d can be very dangerous when hiking because it blows hard enough to cause trees to come crashing down. And I can say from experience... when a tree falls in the woods it's VERY LOUD. And scary. Especially when it comes dangerously close to crushing your friend who is following you up the trail. Anyway!
The sun was shining, the w-i-n-d wasn't blowing and it was warm and wonderful.
We went to our favorite trail and hiked. It goes up and up and up. I forgot how steep it is. And for how long you feel like you are climbing a flight of stairs. lol. I thought I might die several times. I am sadly out of shape and have extra pounds that I did NOT have the last time I climbed that trail. I am back on my Bright Lines and the weight is coming off but not as quickly as I would like. That climb is something else! (for a fat and out of shape person.)
Zorro and I were huffing and puffing. Oliver and Samson were bounding along without a care in the world! lol!
Oliver wore the small back pack for the first time. He didn't mind at all when I put it on him... thank you blanketing!! He didn't bat an eye at the girth or the breast collar. Nor did he really bat an eye when every single time he put his head down that darned pack would ride up on his neck. (hence why a crupper strap is SO IMPORTANT.) Sometimes it would come so far forward it would essentially hobble his front legs and "tie" his head to his front feet. lol! Talk about taking desensitizing to whole other level! (not that I am a fan of desensitizing.) In the video below you will see this happen. Then, there is a funny surprise as well!
I have been asked over and over, "Do you carry bear spray? What do you used for bear protection?" The answer is, I never, never go into the mountains without my gun strapped to my side. I have never had to use it for animal protection but have had to calmly show it to men that were all too interested in the fact that I was in the mountains, with my ponies, ALONE.
I am fully aware that it won't do much to actually STOP a bear that is hell bent on getting us, but it's better than nothing. When I have it, I also carry bear spray. The thing with bear spray is, you have to spray it just right, try not to have it cover YOU (thereby debilitating you in a very scary situation) and often the bear will just run straight through it. The sound of the hand gun can sometimes deter a bear. I try to cover all my bases.
One thing we DO NOT DO is wear bells. I learned that the hard way when Sky had bells on, on a drive down by the river. A young brown bear came down to see what all the jingling was about, followed us down the road for a little bit and then swam along side us in the river. Quite unnerving but also pretty cool. (Sky did NOT think so but I was mesmerized! And hoping to not feel it's hot breath on the back of my neck as we trotted down the road.)
The ponies do graze a bit as we hike. When I have to stop to catch my breath and calm my pounding heart, they eat! Then towards the end of the hike I took their packs off and let them graze for a little while in the pretty green meadow. I love the peacefulness of this meadow in the spring. The birds were singing and the breeze was gently riffling the grass. In a few weeks the grass will be knee deep and soon after they turn the cows loose up on the mountain. They quickly destroy the meadow so we try to get up there as often as we can before that happens!
Then we made it back to the trailer, loaded up and went home! I am so grateful for the time I get to spend up there.