For ten years of my life, I was a trail guide on a horse ranch. When I wasn’t working, traveling, or in school, I would return to the Happy Trails Horse Ranch in the mountains of Washington. We were able to take riders straight into the mountains from the ranch, which was rare due to the encroachment of more houses and humans.
On days we didn’t have paying customers, we could take friends or ourselves for more challenging rides. We would spend the whole day in the mountains, crossing streams, and galloping in meadows.
My close friend, Alice and I had taken another friend out with us one particular day. We took out three draft horses (these are the bigger horses that are typically used to pull sleighs or wagons). We were trying to get the draft horses more used to having a saddle on them. We headed out to a spot called Elk Camp that had 3 stream crossings.
The horses that Alice and I were on were still a little skittish on trails. We managed the three river crossings, the bridge, and most of the trail. We started a set of steep switchbacks above the river. The horse Alice rode spooked and started running back down the trail. She had to jump off the horse as it started into some brush. My horse, who was his wagon-pulling partner followed suit. I also had to jump off the horse. Our friend Mike’s horse stayed calm and waited for the chaos to stop.
The two horses took off back down the trail and across the river. So we were three humans and one horse, and three river crossings to get back to the ranch. Fortunately the horse was able to carry all three of us across the river crossings, though we did get a little wet. We took turns hiking and riding back to the ranch. Fortunately horses are creatures of habit and our missing horses went straight back to the ranch, hoping they still got their grain for the day. Adventures can happen when you least expect them. When was your last normal day that turned into an adventure?