"Let's just do it! Let's take the horseback riding tour to the beach! We'll make it right on time if we leave now!"- and there began our most spontaneous adventure during out trip to California.
We had stayed the night in a quaint little cabin along the Big Sur River and had woken to a gray, misty sky and a chill in the air. After a hearty breakfast at the local diner, complete with apple cider garnished with a real cinnamon stick, we lingered at the over sized stone fireplace- roaring. So cozy.
Not knowing what our morning would hold, we headed back to our campsite. A sweet, energetic blond welcomed us at the gate and showered us with a myriad of tempting itineraries, from hiking trails and hidden beaches to the horse-back riding tour. We figured it would be the best way to experience the trail to the beach, since we were headed there anyway. "Why not ride?" we thought. So we bundled in layers, packed our camera, and headed out.
When we arrived, we were given the option to wear helmets. Yikes, I thought. It was really "ride at your own risk". We lined up with other tourists to be assigned our horses. The guides looked us over and asked about our riding experience. I think somehow Kaleb and I, with our 4 or 5 riding experiences (put together), appeared to be the most knowledgeable, and at first look, the most agile.
"You will be with Roy," the leader told Kaleb. "Now he likes to bite at his bit, and he likes to wander off the trail, so you have to watch him." "Oh my goodness," I laughed to myself. "This is going to be a story to tell. I can feel it."
"And you'll be on Dallas," he said to me, leading me to grab the rope. My foot found it's way into the stirrup and over and on I climbed. I don't know why it surprised me, but here we were, a group of very inexperienced adventurers, and they just let us sit there with our horses- and expected us to learn in 5 minutes how to steer and stop and go. "The horses know what to do," they comforted us.
So I on Dallas and Kaleb on Roy, we followed the line. There were 2 or 3 guides, and ours was 2 horses ahead of me, and Kaleb and Roy brought up the rear. It's still hard to believe they let him be back there. I kept thinking "What if Roy just decides to wander off with Kaleb and there's no one back there to get him back on track?" As we moseyed, and the sound of the horse shoes ambling in the sand found their rhythm, I relaxed and began to feel like a true pioneer woman there in the mountains of California. The weather was perfect, the ride was smooth, this was so much fun! I loved it! We crossed a little stream, which provided a little excitement and padded my ego a little more. I was doing it! I was riding that horse and exploring the valley of Big Sur. Kaleb and I laughed as Roy nibbled loudly at his bit. "What is that?" I would ask. Then I would turn around and glance to see him gnawing away. "That's just Roy" Kaleb would say- slow and southern.
As we neared the beach, I heard the guide in the very front (the main guide) say to our guide, "Did you warn her about Dallas?"
"Warn me?" I thought, "What is he talking about? Warn me about what?"
"Not yet," he replied.
Then, nothing. Suspense- time dragged on as I wondered what I needed to be warned of.
A few minutes later, the guide turned around and said. "Now, Dallas likes to put his head down in the sand. So when we get to the beach, be careful, and if he tries to put his head down, pull up really hard on the reigns and kick him with your heals hard and fast."
"Oohh kay." I was thinking "Is that it? He likes to put his head down on the sand? That's no big deal, and he probably won't even do it. He's probably done that like one time and now they have to warn people."
We clip clopped on. I could smell the salty ocean air.
The trail soon opened up to the sandy shore of the beautiful Pacific. White sand speckled with driftwood that folks had made into piles and forts looked old somehow. And I felt like I was somewhere in the middle of a Nicholas Sparks novel. What a great picture.
So. . . we all stopped to take a picture. Our guides dismounted to come retrieve our cameras and capture the moments for us. I was getting ready to reach for my camera when my guide said. "Pull up! Pull up!" I realized that Dallas was beginning to lower his head. I pulled with all my might and kicked him in the ribs. He was strong and pulling hard against me. I jerked the reigns again, and kicked harder. He lowered his head, then the whole front part of his body lowered as he made his way to his knees, and from there it was more like a crumble. He laid his whole body down in the sand. Just as he reached the ground, I jumped off to the side. Thank goodness I did because he rolled over sideways, and to this day, I really think he would have crushed my leg- and maybe my whole self had I not hopped off! He just laid right on down. And there I was looking at him as the guide ran up and began struggling to get him up again. "You broke your horse" Kaleb later told me. It wasn't too funny as it was happening, but it sure was funny a few minutes later.
That whole experience was funny. The pictures are hilarious. Kaleb had already been picking on me the whole trip about my lack of photography skills. Each day, we would review the pictures we had taken that day, and we would laugh. There would be 2 or 3 of Kaleb in each spot- one with him not looking at the camera- or totally out of focus- one that I would catch of him pointing to tell me some background to be sure to include- and then one (if we were lucky) halfway decent shot. On the horse-riding day, I was in front of him, so I was really at a disadvantage. I was afraid to turn all the way around on my horse, so I tried to snap shots over my shoulder. As we laid under our quilt in front of our cozy fire that night looking at the day as we downloaded the pictures from our camera to the computer, we were crying we were laughing so hard.
So, there it is. The story of Dallas and Roy. Had I told you that before?
|And that's Kaleb in the corner of the frame. Told ya.|
|Desperado (this might be the picture that makes me laugh the most)|
|Ok- this was one of the better ones that I took of Kaleb|