What’s Happening Now
Happenings on The Hill
The colors have been brilliant in the aspens! It seems that winter is close, we've built the first fire and shaken out our jackets. It has been wet and blustery a few days but most rides have gone as scheduled. Most of the remaining dates are booked but some ones or twos are available until the end of the month when we close for the off season.
The shoulder season of Autumn is showing with the color of early fall foliage as the Aspen Loop and it's namesake forest starts to pop. The season is shifting from desert heat to crisp nights and nice warm days, and; already we see a patchwork of color advancing on the mountain side. It looks like the display will be brilliant.
I'm not prone to superstition or apocalyptic catastrophizing, but; why does it seem always that the flood follows the fire? We had over two weeks with daily rain and the finale was a twenty four hour deluge that took much of the burned material to the valley below. The Roundabout has been a real saving grace for rides through it all and we only had to cancel one day. Now we're back in the high country and riding horses on dry trails in cool, lush, green, forest. Truth is that the region needs a drought breaker and I hope that the flow of moisture continues on through winter
We finally realized every mountain homeowners nightmare, uncontrolled fire on the mountain. I think we were very close to losing it all. It's been disorienting in some interesting ways. We self evacuated on the ninth of June with Zach, the horses, and the very few things one would grab on the way out. We spent only one night away, but the horses were off the mountain for a week. Recreation was closed on the mountain until a week ago, but we are back to riding on the Roundabout with hopes of seeing the high ridge about the middle of the month.
We are finally riding on the high ridge, with all the upper mountain rides on the menu! The wild flowers are popping and look to climax over the next couple of weeks. The horses are in fine trim and as the summer heat bakes the dessert below we're pushing the limits of pastoral pleasure in the alpine climate above.
April delivered some slight accumulation of snow, but the month went more about warming, and drying the boggy, muddy ground left behind after March's late snows. So, as we head into May the mountain ground is firm on the lower half where we have been riding, which; by the way, incudes a few thousand acres of new ground we have worked into the early season and short ride terrain we can offer. But, about May: we will be pushing the trail up to the high ridge in the next day or two and I expect the full Wide Angle to be back on the menu. Also the horses are in fine trim and are in as good as shape as ever. Go team, go!
We have Gus back on the ranch! And, this time he's here to stay. He's a big half draft of Percheron mix with very nice qualities of temperament and friendliness. We're happy to have him, and; although Joe is a little imidated, I think he will be glad to share the heavy lifting.
As for trail conditions: the Roundabout is dry and we have been linking two segments for a two hour ride until the Wide angle dries up. We have been riding many standard one hour Roundabout rides as well. I'll be checking conditions on the upper Wide Angle this weekend and I am optimistic we'll be able to get to the high ridge very soon.
I wasn't hopeful for early Spring but the sun has been bright, days longer, and the snow is mostly gone around the ranch. I had a test ride on the Roundabout and we are going to open with our first scheduled ride for this Sunday, April 4th. Bookings are coming in and the schedule looks busy until the third full week of April, so if you are thinking about joining us, early reservations are recommended.
Winter always comes at 8,000 feet, it's just a matter of when and how much. This one started in earnest, came back (off and on), then showed up again last week. It was a major storm over the weekend, a two part deal that left about three feet behind and then kicked it all around with strong wind. I'm setting trail to get the Roundabout to melt out, but the upper trails will be a job for nature herself. I'll be updating the conditions on the Book A Ride page, so; refer there to see current and expected openings. ks
Winter has shown itself in the form of a polar blast. It snowed, it blew, it froze the water too. The end of October is the end of our riding season, so we are wrapping up the year end details and preparing to rest and repair. We'll be back in the spring and get to the trail when when the gettin' is good.
Clouds, we've got clouds again. I swear we went a month without a cloud in the sky. The mountain weather has been fine, fall is hanging in there. With the mild and dry weather the color came on vivid and the leaves are falling gradual.
There is still room on the Beau Coup ride on 10/21, it will be the last opportunity to get on this ride this year.
As our season nears it's close at the end of the month, I have much to reflect on. We are grateful to all the fine people who have shared their memory making with us. Grateful and honored. ks
September 25, 2020
Fall colors are in full display with the Aspens working up to a climactic finish. There are openings on the Beau Coup for 9/27 (one rider), 10/8 (two riders), 10/21 (two riders). this is a long, advanced ride. Please go to the book a ride page to request a spot on one of these epic rides.
August 10, 2020
August is finishing the job started by July...cooking of the desert in triple digit temperatures. We are averaging twenty degrees cooler here than in the valley, so it's been a welcome escape. I'll say it again the Aspen Loop has been outstanding!
July 26, 2020
The Aspen Loop is....OPEN!
We have done the Aspen Loop with a shuttle to and from the trail head in previous years. Now we will be meeting at the Hazard County TH to start and finish there. No need to share close confines in the truck, that's good right? There was tremendous blow down on large trees this spring with many across the trail, but; thanks to the FS and their hard working saw crews we are riding in the forest! This years rides on the Wide Angle and Round About have been excellent, but I am very pleased to have this outstanding option available again. Book it now by selecting Book A Ride at the top of this page. ks
July 11, 2020
Well, that didn't happen. It snowed on the eighth of June. Temps down to 28 froze the flowers and the hillside of Scrub Oak. Oak is recovering and the flowers will get another chance next year, but; it hasn't rained for a while. Hot and dry. The ground in the valley fractures for want of a drink. The mountain here...also dry. Today, in Moab, 106. Here on the ridge it's 84 in the shade, which is where we are, horses, dogs, and me. ks
June 7, 2020
We had some incredible rain last week, that should help the plants and extend the wildflower bloom for a while.
June 6, 2020
The season has picked up and our re-tooled offering is for out and back rides since there are safety concerns with car shuttles. We are waiting anxiously for the Aspen loop to be cleared of fallen trees at which time we will have all rides open but the "Beau Coup", which will be tough without the shuttle.