The Reason for the Ride

by Gillian Larson | posted: August 22, 2017
Takoda checks out the view

Okay, I can say that without a doubt, this was my favorite day on trail. We started off climbing up for several miles. We followed alongside a large creek until the last few hundred feet where we reached San Luis Pass. The view from here was incredible. We were a thousand feet above treeline and there was beautiful blue sky with the fluffiest white clouds. I couldn't stop taking pictures.

Shlya at San Luis Pass

As we rode along we saw lots of marmonts and pika . . .

Pika on the trail

Pika again

. . . but the highlight of the day was seeing my first moose! It was a huge bull with a magnificent rack. He and the horses were starring intensely at each other. The moose kept his distance but I was so happy that he didn't just run off and instead let us have a good look at him. It had been a dream of mine to see a moose on this ride, so I was absolutely elated.

Bull moose giving us a stare-down

As we rode away, I could hear the thunder booming in the distance. Within 15 minutes the sky opened up and the rain poured and there was quite a bit of thunder and lightning. We were up high, traveling between 11,000 and 12,000 ft, so not an ideal place to be during a storm. We walked as fast as we could so as not to hold still. Thankfully it was a quick storm and the thunder and lightning passed within an hour. It was very cold however for the rest of the day and my shoes and pants were soaked.

Caught in the rain

Despite feeling so cold, though, I was still so happy from seeing my first moose and knowing that we would be arriving at the trailer that night so I would be warm and dry soon enough. There isn't any camping allowed at Spring Creek Pass so I left my rig off of a dirt road that was a half mile south of where the trailhead was. Conveniently there was a huge stock corral here. Some of the fencing was questionable so I carried over panels of my portable corral to secure to areas of fence that were missing panels. Takoda is a good jumper so I wasn't going to take any chances of him escaping again, though I'm sure Shyla wouldn't have jumped the fence. Once they were blanketed and fed, I settled into the trailer to change into dry clothes and make some tea and dinner.

Shyla on the trail

Looking back, I would have to say this was my favorite day of 2017. It wasn't even a perfect day if you count the rain and hours of riding in freezing wet clothes, but the beauty I saw more than made up for it. I live for days like this one.


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