I was again proved I can sleep anywhere. I slept like a rock, probably on a few rocks, and somehow during the night a heap of sand managed to cover me and my bed, but hey, it’s all part of the experience. I wouldn’t have traded it for the world. We did find out that breakfast at 7.00 actually means 7.00. Nevertheless, there was still food left for us and after brekkie we prepared ourselves for our first day of the trail.
Packed with rain gear, water, granola bars, lip balm and sun screen we once again rode to the corral by car. Saddling and mounting the horses didn’t take as long as it did the day before. It could have gone faster if they let us do our thing; our group have been riding for at least half our lives, trice a week. But then again, many people will say that they know how to saddle a horse and end up doing everything wrong. Within the first hour somebody fell off, we had seen sun, rain, hail, snow, a thunder storm and the herd took off; I reckon we’d seen most already. But the feeling you get when they release the herd for the drive is indescribable.
The drive itself was wonderful! Most of this day was tracking through fields and hills. It was windy and I was glad we had to put on our rain gear early on in the drive. We had lunch in a tunnel in the middle of nowhere in a field. Everyone tried to find a bush to pee. Considering it were all fields, those bushes were hard to find. In the end we all made sure that the others couldn’t see you and you just did your thing. ‘Cause during the hour or two we spent on the road, we hadn’t seen a car either. It’s liberating to be in the middle of nowhere. Just you, the horses, fellow riders and beautiful nature.
I had to admit I was mentally cheering when we could see our stop for the day. My knees aren’t what they used to be, and after long periods of just walking a horse, they start to hurt, a lot. Note to self: make sure the stirrups will be longer for the next day. The stop of the day was just outside of Eager, just before where the White Mountains start. All the horses were once again put in a corral and were fed. We collectively made sure all the tack was packed in a large horse trailer for the next day.
During the drive they had asked whether we wanted to sleep another night in camp or go back to the cabins on the ranch. During the drive last year, they were washed away due to an excessive amount of rain that fell during the next. The weather was going to be iffy during the night and they didn’t want to risk a deja vu from last year. We decided as a group to sleep in the cabins. So on our way back to them, we stopped at camp and got all our stuff. While driving back to the ranch we saw all sorts of wildlife that’s native to the area: elk, deer, antelope, coyotes. That was a special treat for us, because we don’t have those in the Netherlands.
Back on the ranch, we had dinner (BBQ chicken, mashed taters and corn). After that, we called it a night. We were knackered.