The temperature at 6 a.m. was 70 degrees, but the weather report called for cloudy skies with rain possible in the afternoon and a high of 94 degrees.

I wondered how many folks would come to ride in the national forest, especially since we had to park under a power line. My hope was that the clouds would bring a nice breeze with it and the shade of the pines would help cool us down. As it turned out, I was right! Six folks rode; five gals and one guy. The co-leader of the ride, Ron, was unable to come due to contracting shingles, but Ambrose (Sally) made a good stand-in and Pam (Flashy), Nancy (Gypsy), Doel (Snippy), Linda (Blondie) and I (Sadie) joked that this was Ambrose’s Harem Ride! (Actually, Linda missed out on this discussion as she arrived late and had to catch up with us. )

We rode west past the apartment complex and passed the first road into the forest (where the gate is) and took the single track trail to the south.The clouds started slowly rolling in and with them the blessed breeze. The horses were all relaxed and I wondered if it was fate or they instinctively know to reserve their energy. We stayed on the single track and left it when we were near another power line so we could cross to the other side and take jeep roads to the west again. Everyone was joking and enjoying the beauty of the forest and we were wondering when Linda would catch up with us as I had taken a call from her asking for our location. (It is hard to describe where you are in the forest once you take a sin- gle track trail because you cross jeep roads and you aren’t sure which ones they are.) We went near Munson Slew before heading south and then almost to the gas pipeline before turning east on another jeep road. We had commented earlier about the research ponds being used to reintroduce striped newt in the forest and ran into Ryan, who is heading up the project, as he was inspecting one of the ponds. We talked with him for a while and then moved on. We were heading to the ponds near the Rail trail so the horses could get water if they needed it. I tried to call Linda when we were approaching the power line again and she said she could see us! She was coming down the power line so we were finally a full ride!

Everything else went quite smoothly and on the return to the trailers we decided to go in from the rail trail. Sadie and Snippy were in the lead and stopped on full alert. We were next to the big ditch that has lots of bushes in it. We couldn’t see anything so we started up again. Then, a couple of deer jumped across the road in front of us and we all realized that is what the horses had seen. It was a nice way to end a good 2.5 hour ride! — Sue