Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Wednesday's Walk Down Memory Lane
When I was in High School, we lived in a small neighborhood, way up in the mountains. We were about 20 minutes from town, but tucked away, down a narrow, winding road, snuggled into the mountain. I had horses and rode pretty much every day. When it was nice out in the spring I would skip school, to go home and ride my horse. I was LUCKY!
I had two very good friends, Erin and John. We were inseparable after school. We rode in the afternoons, sometimes well into the evenings, sometimes at night! We rode for hours and hours and never hit a fence, unless it was an old broken fence half buried in the ground.
We raced and played tag through the trees. We saw all kinds of wild life, chased deer, and tried to chase elk. Once when I was by myself I was chased by a bear! Luckily I was on a VERY smart horse and he got us out of there!
This one night will stay in my memory forever. It was a relatively warm fall evening. It was still getting dark early, but we didn't mind. Off we went for an adventure, Erin, John and I. At this time I had my trusty Mustang, Katie, who was the BEST mountain horse EVER! John rode a little Arabian gelding and Erin was riding her Quarter Horse mare.
John thought it would be fun to call in some elk. They were in rut and we could hear them bugling all around. John let loose with a very good imitation of their call and we waited, holding our breath waiting for.... something. John let loose another call. We waited. Suddenly, very close by, we heard crashing and grunting. Then from a different direction we heard more crashing and grunting.
John had managed to call in TWO angry bulls.
We spun the horses and took off. You DO NOT want to be in the middle of that!! We ran as fast as the horses could run. By this time it was getting pretty dark. We sprinted across a small meadow, back into the thick trees and burst out across the dirt road that ran through that part of the mountain. We headed across the road and into another meadow just off the road. It was good and dark by now. All I could hear was Katie's breathing. I held my own breath trying to hear John and Erin. All around me was heavy breathing! Just then the moon came out from behind the clouds and I saw eyes glinting at me from the darkness...
We had run smack into the middle of a herd of elk! The cows raised their heads, snorted and took off. The horses moved with them, there was little choice in the matter and we were off again. John and Erin were right in there with me. It was the MOST thrilling thing to be running with an entire herd of elk. The only way to get to do that in the wild, is to surprise them, as we did. They are wiley and quick. It's nearly impossible to sneak up on them. With all the bugling and bulls around they didn't expect the running animals to be US!
We weren't able to keep up with them for long. They hit the trees at top speed and disappeared. The horses were unable to keep up when moving through the trees, plus they were getting worn out. All that running around in the dark!
We walked the horses home, excitedly talking about what had happened. We all knew that we would never experience anything like that ever again in our lifetimes. We were glad that we had had that chance.
What great times we had in those mountains!