The Continental Divide

People who've known me for a while can surely attest that I've voiced my distrust of horses plenty of times over the last few years. When other girls would rave about horses I would simply state the obvious: "they stink" or "they are unpredictable". However, I learned that traveling has a way of changing your perspective on things if you give it a chance. So, I decided to take a chance and booked myself in for a trail ride in Estes Park near the Rocky Mountain National Park.

It was a cold but beautiful sunny morning when I arrived at the stable to check in. The horse I was going to ride that day was called Icicle - a beautiful light brown horse with a white mane and a white icicle-shaped spot on his forehead. After a short instruction our little group of riders headed out for a two hour ride through the Rockies. The horses were quite well-behaved and very sure-footed - other than pulling my horse away from grassy spots (he loved to try to nibble at any kind of growing thing) I had no trouble following the lead horse up and down the hills. I actually started to really enjoy myself!

However, it wasn't meant to be perfect! When we cut across a patch of grass Icicle suddenly decided he'd had enough and got down to his knees...
Me: "What's going on now?!"
Guide (almost screaming): "Get off!!!" 
I jumped off the horse just in time before Icicle started rolling over and on his back. Man, I would not have wanted to be under a horse when it rolls over... ! Luckily I was not hurt and only minimally scared so I got back onto my horse after the guide adjusted the saddle straps and we finished our ride.

This ride proves that horses are indeed quite unpredictable. Nonetheless, I greatly enjoyed my ride and might do it again sometimes...

me and Icicle

Obviously, the Rocky Mountain National Park has much more to offer than horse riding. I opted for one of the most scenic hikes up to Flattop Mountain and Hallet Peak (3880m). Hallet Peak is part of the Continental Divide - which means that all rain that falls east of it eventually ends up in the Atlantic Ocean and rain that falls west of it ends up in the Pacific Ocean. Pretty neat spot if you think about it!

The trail was snow packed and challenging but with gaiters, poles, several layers of warm clothes (it was freezing at the bottom of the trail at 2800m so imagine how cold it was at 3880m with crazy winds) and a good amount of ambition I got myself to the top. Amazing views rewarded me plenty for the struggle!

on the way up - it was still reasonably warm
view from Hallet Peak
on top
breaky with a view on 3880m
the wind turned stone piles and snow into strange creatures
cold but happy
taking in the views
hiking down


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