So, one of the things I don’t mention in my professional bio is the fact that I grew up on a dairy farm/ranch. It’s not a lifestyle I’ve been much a part of in the past 14 years, ever since heading out on my own at 16 years of age. Needless to say, I’m a bit rusty on some things.
I’ve kept in touch with my roots to some degree. I’ve always lived within a few hours of my parent’s ranch up in the Rockies, and prior to moving to Bulgaria and going into Location Independent mode I would come up here and help with things during the summer such as building fence and general maintenance around the place.
However, since I’m spending the entire summer up here before heading off to Cancun and the start of my new adventure, I’ve been spending some time getting back to the basics.
My little brother is 17 and he does rodeo and team roping, so I’ve been going to those events from time to time. And while I’m not helping with the day-to-day running of the ranch because I’m busy with my writing and travel plans, I’ve been slowly getting back in the saddle…literally.
Last week was my first time on a horse in 14 years. My little brother was laughing, but was actually surprised at the end of the first day, with his comment being, “Wow, you can actually ride pretty good!”
It’s like riding a bicycle. Which is the cool part.
Downside? Well, I’m in good shape. I run 6 days a week, do plenty of jump rope plus work out on a Bowflex, generally hitting 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes every morning, outside of Sundays. But nothing can prepare you for saddle bruises.
Still, I’ve been taking little 1.5-2 hour rides to get used to it again, and this weekend we are taking a camping trip up into the back country.
The ranch is up at 8,500 feet and is backed up against government land. We went riding up in the hay meadows the other day and my brother was pointing to some ridgelines in the far distance where a couple of canyons are located and mentioned that we should go camping. Seeing as I haven’t done backwoods camping on horseback in years, I figured what the hell.
So this Saturday we are taking off on the horses with some of his friends and going as far back as we care to go. Should be a 4-5 hour ride in, then we’ll camp for the night and come back Sunday afternoon. It’s bear country. And mountain lion territory. And elk, moose, and plenty of deer (they run a hunting program out of the ranch and this area is where they take the hunters sometimes, depending on what they are looking for), not to mention who knows what else.
I haven’t been camping in the Rockies in about 8 years, and we are going up between 9 and 10,000 feet, so it should be a really fun adventure and a nice change of pace from the daily writing, a chance to get out in the outdoors and enjoy Mother Nature in her rawest form.
Provided I don’t cripple myself with a 4-5 hour horse ride, of course. That point is still up for debate.