Wednesday August 31 2011
We found it: Day 1 of next year's 4-day City of Rocks Pioneer Trails Endurance Ride.
Conveniently, Castle Rocks State Park is only 5 miles down an accessible, unpaved, not too hard or rocky, horse-friendly road from City of Rocks National Reserve. And if it's possible Castle Rocks State Park is even more spectacular than City of Rocks.
The 5-mile trail we rode around the perimeter of the park wound through sagebrush flats, and through pinyon-juniper, and mountain mahogany forests. The footing is, like City of Rocks, unbelievably soft and mostly rock free. Most of the rock around here is vertical - granite monoliths and pinnacles reach 350 feet or more.
Pictographs and other archaeological evidence indicate people have been in the area almost 2500 years ago. There are foundation remains of an old homestead site from 1888 that Jose and I rode into. Over 130 bird species are in the park - lots of vultures were keeping an eye on us. Maybe they knew something we didn't!
Vet check for the LD's and 50's will probably be at the entrance to Castle Rocks, either in the parking lot, or, preferably, on this huge grassy lawn off of which we had trouble coaxing Jose, Batman and Musafa. I'm sure the park would like their lawn mowed, and what better way than to have 30-50 hungry horses do it for free? (And provide free fertilizer!)
Jose and I find it a breathtaking place to ride.
But I'll let you decide.
[slide show here]
And many more photos of the site of next year's City of Rocks Pioneers Trails Endurance Ride here: