Jan 202017

By Patty Wilber

This time last year we were just back from our crazy adventure in Chile, and we had at least made our Christmas cards.  This year we didn’t venture so far afield and we have not gotten around to making any cards…maybe by Valentine’s day.

We did go to the Half Moon Ranch, in the Dragoon Mountains though, and I have to say, it was a true break from real life! Miriam found it and seven adults, one wee human, nine horses and two dogs went along. We ate way too much–we divvied up dinner and breakfast preparations and had really good meals–, and we drank, rode, hiked and played games!

Miriam, Justin and Ruby!

Here is the link if you want to rent it yourself (which you might after seeing the place!) This text in the link says only six horses allowed, but we’d read eight (and brought in one extra, in case you are counting).  There was actually space for two or three more, if they liked each other.

We loaded way too much stuff (because there was room), fueled up our “new” (2004) truck, and hit the road on Wednesday.  It was over 400 miles, so it took nearly seven hours to get there, but how fortunate we are to have the truck and trailer, horses that can be ridden under all sorts of conditions, the time and the money to make such a trip.

The ranch house was comfortable! The canyon was lovely, and there plenty of riding and hiking (and eating) opportunities to keep us busy!

View from the back porch!

The corrals were ok. Plenty big enough, but not great fencing.

Here is a map. We didn’t actually buy any maps, although Sid had downloaded some to his GPS.  We did very well with this one, photographed off the kiosk.  Smart phones are astonishing!  All the photos are from our phones. The “you are here” indicator is near the edge of the house property.

On Thursday, we rode out across from the house on 4810 and then back to 84  and over to the Cochise trail (279A) and up that a ways. I rode the “baby” Indy (she’s nearly three) and ponied LT.  It was so much better than the group ride at Ghost Ranch that Indy went on last year.  This time I didn’t feeling her bunching up under me as if she might break apart at any moment! We rode in the middle, the back and the front and she is starting to walk like an Egyptian.  Not really.  That just popped into my head.  She is starting to walk with some ground-covering ability!

The staging area!

Water along the road to the trail!

Up the trail. Stacie followed by Jim.

Heading back! Indy leading!

The next day we rode to the pass on the Cochise Trail (279A to 279 and then back, 10 miles total).

Jim had help saddling up! Penny is resting her eyes.

The key to riding with a three-year old human is proper nutrition, surrounded by adults on horseback? Sid, Stacie, Justin (he is on Max for anyone who remembers Max from Walkin in Circles! Justin ponied his young horse Chaco every where we went and both were quiet and confident!), Indy’s butt and Jim’s elbow. I was photo graphing from up on LT so, Ruby was kind of surrounded!

We stopped for lunch and someone had fun! Jim!

View is cut off…

Horse’s heads are chopped in half.

Melissa, Sid and Stacie, on the way up to the Pass. I need to figure out the panorama function on the camera!

All this riding is so exhausting for Penny! I switched horses at the top and rode Indy down.

Saturday, we all rode out to the front of the Dragoons along road 795 to 4385.

Miriam with a small passenger up front! We were heading to a big water tank.

It was a bit windy!

Later, Jim and I “hiked”.  It started off like a normal hike–you know the kind where you walk on a trail?  But then the cairns led right up the side of the canyon and the walking became scrambling.  This always happens!  I bailed before we needed ropes and real climbing gear…Jim kept on for a bit. The dogs had no problems, so it must not have been that bad, but I’d reached my adrenaline limit for the day.

You can see a cairn to the left in the picture. We “hiked” up from the bottom of this canyon. The house is on the other side of the ridge in the background. We did not hike over that ridge.  We came up the canyon.

Lani and Coulson (you can just see his head) went higher. They thought it was fine!

In the later afternoon, Jim and I rode in the rain and hail and stayed out until dark (we are so adventurous…) Jim rode LT! No wrecks occurred! I needed to take pictures, but I didn’t. We rode up the canyon to the campground.  It looked like a nice place with spacious sites and big trees.  There is no drinking water, but the creek was running! There were additional “hiking” trails there.

Sunday we packed up and rode home.  The weather report said snow and rain were expected in New Mexico, but we missed all the bad weather and had a nice drive!

What a fine trip with fine company!