Monday, June 9, 2014

It was a dark and stormy night....

“I am thinking now of old Moses sitting on a mountain - sitting with God - looking across the Jordan into the Promised Land. I am thinking of the lump in his throat, that weary ache in his heart, that nearly bitter longing sweetened by the company of God...
And then God - the great eternal God - takes Moses' thin-worn, thread-bare little body into His hands - hands into whose hollows you could pour the oceans of the world, hands whose breadth marked off the heavens - and with these enormous and enormously gentle hands, God folds Moses' pale lifeless arms across his chest for burial.
I don't know if God wept at Moses' funeral. I don't know if He cried when He killed the first of His creatures to take its skins to clothe this man's earliest ancestors. I don't know who will bury me -
...Of God, on whose breast old Moses lays his head like John the Beloved would lay his on the Christ's. And God sits there quietly with Moses - for Moses - and lets His little man cry out his last moments of life.
But I look back over the events of my life and see the hands that carried Moses to his grave lifting me out of mine. In remembering I go back to these places where God met me and I meet Him again and I lay my head on His breast, and He shows me the land beyond the Jordan and I suck into my lungs the fragrance of His breath, the power of His presence.” 
― Rich Mullins

Elephant seal on beach in CA

Ok, it was more like a tired, dreary morning following a dark and stormy night, but we arrived back in Texas.  We drove most of the way through the night, stopping only for an hour or two when neither of us could drive further.  We made it back safely, but putting the car in the shop tomorrow for minor fixes (I hope).  Miss Lucy was ridiculously happy to see me, but she has settled in well on my mom's farm, and will stay here for the summer, so she doesn't get overheated while driving around.  Forgot to mention that I spoke with the people in Haiti while on the trip, and so far we are still on for Nov/Dec there. 

A couple of quick stories that I left out from the trip to AZ.  We were passing an area that was known for its mammoth graves, and my aunt and uncle were telling me about them.  I asked, "Why did they bury the mammoths?"  "Ummmmmmm......."  It only took them as long as I could keep from laughing to figure out I was kidding.  Also, did I mention my uncle is a police officer?  He was telling us a story from one day, when they had cornered some burglars in a house.  The burglars were trying to pretend like it was their house, and had stripped down to their undies and got into the bed.  When the officers went in to confront them, they noticed that the woman had something down in her shorts, and when questioned about it, she denied anything being there.  Upon further questioning, she pulled out a colorful sock, looked at it, and immediately threw it to the side, saying "That's not mine.  I didn't have that."  When she realized how ridiculous that was, she reframed her statement, saying, "Well, I did have it, but it's not mine."  People are crazy.  However, it did provide us with plenty of laughs, as it became a running joke for the rest of the trip.  "Well, I had it, but it's not mine!"

Well, back to Thursday, when my mom and I staggered off our horses and headed back to the cabin in Pagosa Springs to get packed up.  Which took much longer than expected since our muscles were not cooperating.  :-)  We both took naps, and I took a nice, long bath to loosen muscles up, got a few things done, and headed for Colorado Springs.  We were staying at a KOA there for 2 nights.  After arriving the first night, we mostly just unpacked and settled in, before going to sleep, as it was already getting late.  We did try and schedule our excursion for the next day, but it was too late, so planned on calling Fri am for a Saturday excursion, and instead, settled for exploring Colorado Springs area on Friday.  We took our time getting going that morning, but finally were ready to head out, with a stop at Denny's for breakfast and day planning.  Only, the Wifi at Denny's was down, so not able to get a whole lot done, other than eating breakfast, and enjoying all of the army guys coming in for breakfast as well.  Afterwards, we made our way over to the Olympic Training Center.  It was a great place, and a good inspiration.  After riding the day before, then visiting they Olympic Center, all I really wanted to do was go home and work with my horse.  I miss her a lot, even when not riding Western horses, and visiting Olympic facilities.  We got to watch workouts in the weight room with Wisconsin State athletes, a shooter, lots of swimmers (it was Michael Phelps' team, so he may have been in there), and see the training facilities for many more.  We also got to watch a very inspiring video to start, even if it didn't include equestrian events.  :-)  After that, we headed over the Focus on the Family Headquarters.  Walking around the building was neat, but no tours of the administration building were happening while we were there.  There was an immense bookstore, that included a lot of Adventures in Odyssey items, which is still one of my favorite radio shows to listen to, along with a Prairie Home Companion.  While it was enjoyable, it was not anything exciting that I would do again.  The next thing we did, though, that's a whole nother story.....

Oh, but first, we headed over to Garden of the Gods, which was on the way to the "Big Thing".  I had been there previously, but this time, we came in from a different direction than I had, and did more driving through, so we saw more of the rocks.  I love Garden of the Gods.  Partly because it is free.  Partly because it has a GREAT giftshop, complete with Native American gifts (I bough an ornament, and a wall hanging).  But mostly, because it is large, beautiful, red rocks in different configurations.  Kissing Camels.  Siamese Twins.  Great trails for walking, and what I would think would be a great place to go horseback rides (guided trails available).  Probably wouldn't be quite as exciting as the one we went on, but I think I'll take that chance.

Pike's Peak.  An Over 14,000 ft high mountain.  That you can drive all the way to the top on.  Not the highest mountain in CO (actually number 31), but still amazing.  BUT....I mentioned I was afraid of heights, right?  So, we're driving up the side of this mountain.  14000 ft high.  With very few guardrails, and not much in the way of shoulders, if any.  UP.  My mom says the views were amazing on the way up, but I wouldn't know.  Once again, I was just hanging on for dear life.  Of course, the views from the top WERE amazing, even if I held very tightly to the railing any time I was close to the edge.  And, right before we got to the top, it started snowing.  I love snow.  There was some snow still on the ground, but it had been threatening to rain for a while, and at 14000 feet that means snow.  My mom laughed when I said it was snowing.  She didn't believe me.  She finally saw that it actually was.  There was a great gift shop at the top, with all kinds of items in it, and hot chocolate, coffee, and "famous" donuts.  Got some great pictures of the view, including a few with a barely visible rainbow in it.  Perfect.  Driving down was not so bad, and I was able to enjoy the view more, and even stopped at a few points to take pictures.  We saw marmots (which we had seen at Treasure Falls, but I thought were groundhogs).  It was a beautiful trip, and well worth the time and effort.  Would definitely do it again.

We had planned on going square dancing in Colorado that night, but by the time we got down the mountain (with a stop halfway to rest the brakes), and back to camp to get cleaned up, it was too late.  And that's when the neighbors were smoking, which caused my minor headache to turn into a bad migraine.  But that's better now.  :-)

So, Saturday morning, we woke up bright and early, loaded the car up, and headed out for our excursions.  We went with Raft Masters and had THE BEST time.  The morning started with arriving at their headquarters and getting checked in before loading up in a van and heading over to the train station.  We rode the train through the Royal Gorge and back.  They said  you can normally see vultures, bald eagles, bighorn sheep, and bear on the trip, but on this time, all we saw was beautiful rocks, but still, totally worth the trip.  LOVED the big, beautiful rocks.  We were then driven back to headquarters for a lunch (greasy hamburgers) before heading out rafting.  We had never been whitewater rafting before, so we chose the class II and III rapids, though with the water level being what it is right now, the section we were rafting was rougher than it would normally be.  And, let me say, I am in love.  I could run the rapids every day.  Next time, I want to do the larger ones.  Bring it on!  This outfit gave you wetsuits and boots to wear for free (others charged for rentals), you just had to clean it when you brought it back, before turning it in.  The guides were awesome, great sense of humors.  Instructions were clear and fun.  Would gladly go rafting with them again.

For dinner, our guide had suggested a Mexican restaurant in Canon City called Alfonso's, which is actually in a gas station, but the food was amazing.  I was able to get my favorite (a breakfast burrito), and my mom ordered fajitas.  The place was busy, and with only one cook, it took a while to get the food out, but definitely worth the wait.  The tortillas were definitely home made, and the food was all well cooked.  So glad it was recommended to us.

After that, we debated stopping for the night, but instead, just drove on home.  My aunt and uncle from Arizona (the only ones I haven't seen yet this trip) are coming by shortly to stay the night, and then I will drive them to DFW tomorrow, so signing out for now.

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