After a FULL YEAR OFF, healing up from an accident, today
I was finally able to get back on my mule and ride!
What an utter delight.
Four riders did 6.51 miles in 3.21 hours
I admit that after a year of anticipation I didn't know if I'd be struggling with any PTSD issues, but happily Tobe Mule acted like he'd been ridden last week, no attitude adjustment necessary, and the Aussie saddle has special features that enhance rider safety and gave me an extra boost.
So I reactivated the Horse & Mule Trail Riders in the 805 MeetUp
Because there were several active forest fires blowing smoke into the county, the air was very hazy as we drove up to Rancho Oso.
Staging out of Rancho Oso gives us the security of knowing our vehicles are protected, and we have direct access to Los Padres National Forest trails.
Our route took us across Paradise Road to the mouth of the canyon, and thankfully we saw very few vehicles on it.
The baked grass is a constant reminder of the fragility of the environment, and the fires burning both above and below us and filling the news are always in mind.
To be able to access the natural world so close to the city is an amazing opportunity.
The only other people we saw out on the trail were a bunch of high school students who had trailered their horses up from Ojai to escape the Maria Fire ashy air.
The MeetUp is important to me, because it gives me companions on the trail and I appreciate the opportunity to share the experience with others.
Jamie came on Woody, a registered quarter horse paint, who was a steady presence on the trail.
This is the Japanese kanji tattoo for "Free Spirit" I did on Jamie several decades ago.
Jo brought her home-grown quarter horse mule JohnBoy.
And this is a portrait tattoo of JohnBoy I recently did for her.
This is a tattoo of Odin's 8-legged horse Sleipnir with a female rider that I did for Kelley..
And of course there's Tobe the Rocky Mountain Mule and I, so pleased to be leading the group.
It is NOT a prerequisite of the MeetUp that riders have a tattoo by me.... but this time it turned out everyone did! How splendid for me to be friends with my clients, and share other good times with them aside from ink.
As always we leave our adventuring with lifted spirits and intentions to meet up again soon for another trail on another day.