Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Wee Vacation

Niamh, Derry and Beau might not agree, but it was definitely a nice break -- the annual trek to Fort Robinson, Neb., for a few days of riding, relaxing and goofing off.

As always, we left just after midnight and arrived at the park at about 3:00 in the afternoon, full of candy, truck stop food, candy, coffee, candy, water and ... candy. We checked in, of course — yes, we had to wear name tags — got the horses settled and called dibs on the bathroom in our cottage. This is the view from our door (no, not the bathroom door):

This is the view from the stalls:

Over the next few days, we caught up with old friends and made a few new ones. If you ever need some inspiration, remind yourself that there were at least three riders over the age of 70, including Carleton, who got up the stomach to sit with us at dinner:

The first day was spent riding up and down hills, through water, despite Niamh's best efforts otherwise. Terri? I had longer stirrups this time. Was much better — you'd be pleased. We had lunch in the field — great soup! — before some more ups and downs and more water on the way back to the barns. That night? Team penning! Guess who had a blast:

It rained on Friday. So, when it looks like this outside:

What else can you do?

Yes, it's a "So-Called Scarf," from Ravelry. With my upside down and sideways way of knitting, I had a few false starts, but I think I finally figured it out. The yarn only looks like Malabrigo -- it's a knockoff called Mooncake, which was sold by Yarn Cafe until it went out of business this summer, which is when I bought it.

On Saturday? Cattle drive! The ratio of riders per Longhorn was ridiculous, but who cares. We broke off into smaller groups, fanning out behind the 30 or so cattle, which had slipped through the net during a previous move to the winter pasture and had found themselves a tidy hiding spot among the bluffs. One group pushed them down and the rest of us — mostly the flatlanders who stayed on the easy terrain — kept them heading toward the gate and the road.

Once they were all headed in the right direction, our job was keep them that way for a couple of miles to their new digs. Guess who had a blast:

There aren't many ways to top a day like that, but Sunday's breakfast on the bluffs will never let you down. No pictures this time — what was I (not) thinking?! — trust me that the pancakes were enormous and the ham was smoky good. And the scenery? O ja. As breathtaking as always. What a perfect way to spend ... my birthday! I am now celebrating my half-life, which makes me 25.

The only thing left to do was pack up and head home, much as I really didn't want to leave. So. Everything and everyone packed up and, with the sun behind us this time, we chased that big juicy moon as it rose over the South Dakota horizon.

Candy, anyone?

p.s. If you aren't tired of pictures yet, click here and look through the first three albums at the top.

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