Well, what goes up, eventually must come down.
So after a wonderful trail ride to the top of the 10,678 ft elevation of Sandia Crest, it was finally time to head back down the mountain trail to reach our horse trailers.
The ride up through the Cibola National Forest and the Sandia Mountain Wilderness was mostly uneventful. Just a couple hikers with 4 well-behaved, leashed dogs, a few hikers, some kids who wanted to pet our horses, and a couple mountain bikers. All of these were just common-trail experiences that our horses just took in stride.
On the way down the mountain, the trail we were on, traveled into a dark, shadowy tree tunnel where there were certain to be bears lurking. My Apache mare actually stopped on the trail, snorted and peered deeply into the shadows to get a better look and then turned her ear towards me to ask me if I was sure that continuing down this trail was such a good idea. I assured her that it was and after that, she moved forward into the tree tunnel.
Thankfully, Apache soon realized that the bear-like shadows we saw, were only a troop of Boy Scouts tucked behind the trees, where they had respectfully stepped off the trail to allow our horses to safely pass by.
So, we spoke to them, and they conversed with us and then we continued on down the Crest Trail.
And soon we came upon a lion lurking beside the trail and Apache’s ears flew forward and her head and neck grew 10 feet. We were in the lead and it was our responsibility to alert and protect our fellow riders and horses from any dangers. Apache was taking that job very seriously.
But thankfully, the lion-like apparition was just a very large log, but Apache still insisted on keeping one leery eye focused on it as we rode right on past.
(Kendra and Bailey behind us on the trail)
We continued on our way down the mountain, enjoying the multitudes of fluttering butterflies, the beautiful views, the refreshing scent of pine trees and the green meadows filled with wildflowers.
(Peggy and Joey riding into a meadow on the East side of the Sandia Mountains…..my house is down there somewhere.)
In one such meadow, we stopped to allow our horses a chance to enjoy a grassy snack.
We sat perched on our horse’s backs as they ate, and we talked and laughed, when all of a sudden a loud crash sounded out from the forest beside the meadow!
It startled us humans, but our horses merely cocked an ear or briefly looked up towards the area where the noise had come from.
(Kendra and Bailey enjoying the views looking north towards Santa Fe, NM)
We deduced that the loud crashing noise wasn’t actually a tiger bounding through the forest, but had actually been caused by a tree falling, which reminded us of the age-old question: “When a tree falls in the woods, and no one is around, does it make a sound?”