Thursday, June 06, 2013

Adventure Day!

I had Bernie walk ahead a ways, so that a viewer could get a nice representation of the degree of slope on this hill, as well as the width of the trail.

That would be VERY steep, and NOT VERY wide.

We had set off this morning after I exercised the horse and cleaned the paddock, with the intention of scoping out Del Valle Regional Park outside of Livermore, which purports to have equestrian trails, then heading deeper into the Bay Area to look at a park and trail in Fremont.

We found the day-use equestrian area and the nearby trail, and since it didn't appear to be busy, we decided to walk a ways on the trail. I'm so glad we did. Now, if some misguided lackwit suggests we ride Del Valle, I can informedly tell them to go to hell.

The trail was not too steep, at least as far as we went, but the hillside on which the trail ran was. I'm talking damn-near-riding-on-the-edge-of-a-cliff steep. This picture is along one of the less steep dropoffs.

Now sometime around middle age, I lost my head for heights. Above six feet off the ground, the head falls off and bounces away. This has only grown worse as the years have rolled by. And on this trail, glancing down that slope was giving me a powerful case of vertigo, making me feel like I was gravitationally drawn to fall over. Sweating and shaking, my legs trembling, I kept my eyes on the path and Bernie's legs ahead of me. Not a pleasant walk.

I kept thinking of riding along that path: what if you meet another horse going the opposite way? What if there's a big old snake on the trail -- turning even a small horse on some parts of the track could be dangerous. And what if a jackrabbit or quail explodes out of the brush on the up-side of the path? Could you guarantee your horse would not spook off the edge?

With my eyes averted from the slope, I could see some other things lacking on the dirt: horse dung and hoofprints. Yes, there were some old dried-up meadow muffins, but the droppings were few and far between, and no semi-circular digs from recent hoofprints.

We checked out the other side of the lake, and saw some horse trails along the road, with access up into pasture land; maybe in winter it would be an interesting ride through green grasses, but the signs we saw that warned about ticks and rattlesnakes and mountain lions rather put me off.

Yes, mountain lions.

No, not riding there.

I was done for the day. Fremont Adventure Day will have to wait.

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