Saturday, December 11, 2010

New Format for Blog

Hi Everyone.  I have decided to change the format for my blog.  I am not satisfied with the format of this medium to provide the intimate, personal stories I want to share about my life.  The anonymous nature of this site allows for people to hide their identities, and thus provides a venue for haughty behavior and rude commenting.  I have deleted the comments that I think are inappropriate, but they keep coming.

So instead of lying naked on the beach of the blogger site, I will be writing my blogs in a private format from now on.  If you, my dear readers, would like to continue to hear my stories as I ride 200 miles in every state over the next three years, then please send me a note to my email address:

I will add you to my email list, and when I write an update, you will get a personal email from me.  I think by doing my blog this way, I will have a more transparent site, more control over who reads me, and more accountability for people who want to give me feedback.

I look forward to hearing from you soon!

May Peace and Happiness Flow to all of you!


On the Road Again!

Well, I guess I need to apologize.  "Anonymous" has posted a wake up call to remind me that there may be some of you waiting to hear more "horse stories".  Ok.  Sorry I have been lame, and I do intend to keep blogging (although I'm switching to a new format), but I've been a little busy lately having too much fun!

I have decided to change my plans.  For some of you, this will be disappointing, for others, a big relief.

While keeping abreast of the International news broadcast in Europe, I learned that the very town in Mexico where I was planning to cross the border had experienced a slaughter/firefight including a reporter killed in the crossfire.  I laid awake all night in self examination, feeling anxious that I was putting not only myself, but my horses in unneeded danger, and getting the feeling that the trip I had planned was not going to be fun anymore.

Since nobody is paying me (to write this blog or to ride my horses), I feel very strongly that I can do whatever I want to do, when I want to do it.  In that long night, tossing and turning in my hotel bed in Switzerland, I came up with a new plan.

Instead of riding south across the border, my new plan is to ride the same distance (10,000 miles), but in the United States.  I am planning to ride in every state, looking for the best 200 miles in each state.  I am already enroute to my starting point, heading to California, with the horses in tow.  Because I will be driving to each state, and then riding, it will cost me more than my previous plan.  I will be keeping a cell phone and my truck and trailer, which means I have to pay for gas and insurance, which means I will need to work, unless somebody wants to give me money.

So until those sponsorships come rolling in, my plan includes intermittent employment as a travel ER nurse.  I have been in touch with a couple of travel nurse agencies, but haven't decided yet which one to sign on with.  If any of you readers know of a good company, let me know and I'll check them out!

I'm feeling really comfortable and excited about my new plan!  I left Denver/Fort Collins a few days ago, and have had a wonderful time so far.  Just perfect days!

My son Zak is caravanning with me, as he is moving to San Francisco.  I have some of his things in my truck and trailer, and our plan is to take our time, stopping wherever we want to ride.  The first day we stopped in Blanca, where we found a nice little affordable place called the "Lodge Motel".  They had a corral out back for the horses and a very nice, large room.  The next day, we hauled the horses to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and rode for 4 hours all over the north dunes.  Fantastic!  We felt like we were in Saudi Arabia!  The horses were amazing - climbing up mountains of sand and going down steep slopes without hesitation.  It was such an interesting landscape - like being on the moon?  Hard to describe.  I took a few photos with my iphone, and although they weren't too bad, I decided to buy a camera for the future.

That night we had a wonderful dinner at Lu's Cafe in Blanca.  Great food!  (So much better than anything we had in Europe!)  We slept well that night, and headed South to New Mexico after breakfast the next morning.

What a beautiful day!  We took a small road through the mountains of Southern Colorado, Northern New Mexico.  It was sunny and about 68 degrees, and we made good time through Taos, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque.  I stopped and bought a Nikon 8100 that evening.  I love it!  I still have to learn it's finer points of operation, but so far the photos look amazing.  When I figure out how to load them onto my computer, I'll be happy to share some of them with you.

We spent the night at my friend Mary's, in Belen.  Her friend Doug has a small pasture next to his house, and hosted the three horses next to a field of goats and cows.  They were well rested and happy to see us the next day.  Doug fixed us an amazing breakfast of eggs, biscuits and gravy, red chili (yum!), green chili, fresh tomatoes, hash browns, and green chili, complete with orange juice and fresh brewed coffee.  Wow, what a nice treat.

After that treat, we headed south again, without a firm plan of where to go next, except that we have a "sort of" plan to turn west at the southern end of New Mexico.

When we got to the Truth or Consequences exit, we couldn't resist.  Such a great name for a town!  We drove from the exit to Elephant Butte state park, and took a look at the lake there, but the ranger informed us that horses were not allowed in the park.  Well, the brochure stated that they were, so ok, he said maybe at the north end of the park.  The retired couple in the info booth wasn't really sure, but they thought maybe horses were allowed in Caballo (horse in Spanish) State Park, further to the south.

So Zak and I pulled out, but decided to stop and ask about the hot springs we were seeing signs for.  We learned that Truth or Consequences was a new name for a town previously named "Hot Springs", and that there were hotels, motels, and public baths in town.  We decided to check it out!

We pulled into this cute little New Mexican town and headed toward the Rio Grande River.  The fellow at the gas station had told me that hot springs flowed near the river, and that in the "old days" people would dig "wide spots" and sit in hot springs by the river.  Nowadays, there are quite a few places that cater to those wishing to soak in the healing waters.  We found a nice spot called Riverbend, which had beautiful pools overlooking the river.  Public and private, varying costs.  Zak and I parked the trailer and walked all over town, following a map and checking all the options.  I decided to schedule a Thai Massage treatment which included a soak at 600 pm last night.

Since it was about 3 pm, we decided to get a room, get something to eat, and ride the horses.  We found a beautiful, colorful adobe room at the "Pelican".  Two beds in separate rooms.  Just lovely, and reasonable price!  Also includes soaking in mineral water...  I'm liking this town better and better!

After setting up the room, we walked across the street for a bite to eat.  I ordered a burrito and Zak had a bbq sandwich.  Very tasty New Mexican flavors, and satisfied, we headed back to the horses to saddle up.  Our hostess at the Pelican had given us some tips on where to ride, so we drove the truck and trailer to the Rio Grande and unloaded.  They are so awesome.  So calm, so willing, so gentle.

We took them first to the river to drink, and then rode along a river trail at sunset.  We crossed the Rio Grande, which is only a foot deep at this stretch, but about 30 feet wide.  Zak was riding Maggie bareback, and I saddled Midnight, towing Magic with a lead.  We took photos in the river - the sunset casting pink on the still surface.  A warm breeze brought us joyful smiles, and the horses got a nice trot over the dusty trail.  It was a short but scenic ride, and somehow just very special.

We got back just in time, and enjoyed a great soak at the spa in preparation for my massage.  My hips give me a lot of trouble.  I have injuries, and I am on a mission to heal them.  It doesn't bother me to ride, but sometimes I have a lot of pain, especially if I need to carry something heavy.

The massage helped quite a bit.  I had never had a Thai Massage, and it was an interesting experience.  Fully clothed, I laid on a mat on the floor, and the therapist performed accupressure with her hands, legs, knees, feet, and at one point, sat on me!  She stretched me, jiggled me, and pressed me to a point where I finally felt a lot better.  I would definitely try it again.

After the massage, Zak and I mounted the horses again and rode around the town.  It was the night of a "Old Fashioned Christmas", and the town's main street was blocked off to traffic, with barrels of bonfires spaced along the street all the way through town.  We sort of missed the celebration because it ended at 9 pm, but we did connect with the nice people who had been giving carriage rides all night.  The very friendly owner, Deanne, invited me to put the horses overnight at her ranch, so we loaded them up and followed her back, where we turned the horses into a pen beside a longhorn steer and her beautiful percheron team.

Back to the Pelican to sleep, and now it's morning.  I'm about to have another soak in the beautiful waters.  The room is adobe, and the walls are painted lime green.  Southwestern art is on the walls, and the room is inviting and peaceful.

We're planning to spend another night here, so we can take the horses to Caballo park (about 15 miles south).  Later, there is a Christmas season "luminaria walk" at the Elephant butte park.  We plan to check that out this evening too.

So that's the update.  Thanks to all of you who have followed my blog so far, and as always, I welcome your comments.  I'm sorry for the lapse in time, I was having computer issues, but purchased a Macbook Pro (it rocks!) and should be sailing from here out.

I am not satisfied with this blog format however, and will be changing to a new format very soon.  See my next entry for information on how you can continue to follow my story.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Zurich Switzerland

Hello from Europe.  Zak (my youngest son) and I arrived in Zurich on October 14.  After several wonderful days in this very well organized, wealthy, fashion hub, we are finally over our jet lag.  Zak says the girls here are incredibly beautiful, and I have even noticed myself that we are seeing a lot of well dressed super model types from many countries just walking down the street.  It is fun to watch them give Zak those sidelong glances when he is not looking.

The weather has been rainy and overcast since our arrival, so we are hoping that one day the clouds will clear and we will see those fantastic snow covered Alps in the distance.  In the meantime, we have strolled through vineyards and sampled the wine in the local Gasthaus.  We have dined aboard a boat on Lake Zurich, and smelled the roses in the Monks garden in Rapperswil at the top of the Lake.

We spent time today in Zurich, strolling along the fancy street where stores like Prada, Cartier, and Jimmy Choo rival Madison Avenue.  We sampled dessert at Sprungli chocolatier, and lovely coffee there.  The city is really an old style Europe with turreted steeples (I counted 18), old churches, and cobblestoned streets lined with artful shops and incredible fashion.  We took photos I will have to download later

Of course all the time Im thinking about the horses back in Colorado.  Are they getting fat?  Do they miss me as much as I miss them?  Will they be ready to go when I return?

People here tell me I should not go to South America, but ride the perimeter of the United States, even telling me that they think this will be more interesting to read about.  I wonder what your opinions are, dear readers?

Which would you prefer to hear about?

We are renting a car and driving to Spain.  I want to attend the Spanish Riding School in Andalusia, if only for a day.  Enroute we will tour the French Riviera and check to see if we might encounter the wild horses of the Camarague. 

I will post again when I can.  Until then, let me hear from you.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

New photos from Corrie!

Wiley takes a much needed rest

On the Colorado trail - photo by Corrie

Maggie on the Mend!

Good news.  Maggie has flourished on the green pastures in Bellvue, on the lovely acres belonging to my friends Sally and Dick Brewster.  I call it the Magic Pasture because it's so special.  Maggie has bonded with the two beautiful quarter horse geldings and in just a few days has gained back the weight she lost on the trail, her coat is shiny, and she has her prance back!

Zak and I went for a ride last night at dusk, and she and Midnight were obviously feeling great.  At one point, Zak took off at a gallop, with me following on Midnight.  She always wins any races and last night was no exception.  However, I had an experience I'd never had before....

Midnight was doing his best to canter along, trying to catch Maggie way in front, when suddenly, something spooked him and he took off like he'd been shot from a cannon!  I was a little shocked at first, and a bit frightened because I had no idea he could go that fast, but I kept my seat and enjoyed the ride!  I felt like I was on Secretariat!  He was moving so fast, I couldn't hear the individual hoofbeats - it was just a blur...Wow.  What an adrenaline rush.

Of course when he realized the tiger wasn't on his heels, he dropped back to his usual canter, but he had almost caught up to Maggie in the meantime.  Too bad I can't find a way to get that speed out of him when I want it.  It was a real thrill!

Got our tickets to Zurich yesterday - Zak and I will be leaving on October 13, returning on Nov 24.  Maggie and the boys will be staying in Bellvue on that beautiful grass pasture, relaxing and restoring in preparation for my departure on my return to Colorado.

I will continue to blog my adventures when in Europe - so stay tuned!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

What's Next? European Adventure!

People have been asking me about my future plans, and what is next on my adventure agenda, so here is the update on the exciting new developments.

First and foremost, my plan to ride long distance is still at the top of my list.  It's now up in the air whether I'll be able to cross into Mexico with my horses.  I have been hearing stories of horseriders not being allowed into the country, but I'm still planning at this point to try to get into Mexico sometime in January or February.  I hope to be able to do this safely and the best chance for accomplishing that seems to be by trucking across the border (rather than riding).  My plans for exactly where to cross are flexible and tentative depending on what is going on in Mexico closer to the time of my arrival.  Reports of violence and mayhem, especially on the border, continue to increase.  While I am not fearful, I am also not on a suicide mission, and need to feel that I have at least a good chance of safe passage.

In the meantime, my original plan to leave Fort Collins on horseback has changed.  My Texas friends Don and Sue convinced me that it makes more sense to trailer the horses to Texas, have them drive me over the border, and then take my trailer back to storage at their ranch in Texas.  That would allow me the opportunity to travel to some great places to ride (Bryce Canyon Utah for instance) on my way to Texas.

So that was sort of my evolving plan when I got off the Colorado Trail.

Arriving back in Fort Collins, my wonderful son Zak (19 years old), decided he would like to accompany me on the US drive/riding adventure and we were making plans to work our way to California via Utah and Arizona, stopping to camp and ride in incredible places along the way.

Then came an invitation from my old and dearest friend Rasmus, who I met 30 years ago in Palo Alto, California, while I was working as a nurse at Stanford University Hospital.  At the time, Rasmus was an electrical engineer working for Hewlit Packard in the Silicon Valley.  He has been working as an engineer ever since, mostly for Ericsson, a Swedish electronics company.  His career has taken him from California, back to Denmark, to China, to the Ukraine, to Germany, and finally now, he has retired to a "place on the Lake" near Zurich, Switzerland.  Years ago, he rode his BMW motorcycle all over the United States, down the West Coast, all the way to South America.  Over the years, we have always kept in touch, occasionally visiting each other.  I visited him in Denmark and China; he came to see me in Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Colorado. 

We're both feeling like it's time for a visit again.

So Zak and I are in the process of getting ticketed to fly to Zurich in October.  I'm excited to travel with Zak on his first trip to Europe.  My other two sons have already been several times, and it's Zak's turn now.  Their father, Denis, holds dual French citizenship, and my sons were eligible to get the same passports, allowing them opportunity to work and live in Europe if they desire.  So Zak has tremendous doors opening to him, and I get to be there when he steps through to those adventures on the other side of the ocean.

In summary, the answer to your question is --- YES!  I still plan to ride my horses to South America.  However if the door to Mexico slams shut before I get into the country in January, there are still many options available, including shipping the horses and riding in Europe, or maybe circumnavigating the perimeter of the United States.  Anything can happen when you're an "Equine Nomad".

A couple of days ago, I took Maggie in to the vet, Allan Landes, and she got a healthy report, except for being excessively thin. According to Dr. Landes, her teeth are not lining up with adequate grinding surface to give her the nutrition she needs just from grass or hay.  My plan is to up her food ration, including free grazing on rich pasture and lots of Purina Equine Senior diet, a predigested food that should help her to gain back the weight she lost on the Colorado Trail.

So stay tuned - I'll continue to blog my developing plans while the horses rest and rejuvenate on green pastures in Colorado. By the time I return from Europe,  the horses should be in top condition again and ready for action, and I will be too.

Thanks for reading and staying in touch.  I love hearing from you, and please let me know if you have questions or suggestions...

May we all live our dreams with healthy passion. 

Love, Trish, The Equine Nomad 

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Day in Denver Go Broncos!

Go Broncos!
Yesterday, I was invited to attend my first Denver Broncos Football game.  My friend George took me, and we had a blast!  The Broncos beat the Seahawks (Seattle) with a big margin, and each time Denver got a touchdown, a cowgirl dressed in Broncos colors would gallop down the field on her white horse.  Guess what part I liked the best...

Anyhow, we also consumed beer and brats and peanuts and burritos smothered in green chile, followed by fresh squeezed lemonade.  It was a hot day, but luckily, our seats were in the shade.  I think the folks sitting in the sunny bleachers were really suffering.


Union Station, Denver

Afterwards, we took the light rail back to where we parked (I'm back in civilization now!) and then walked to Jax fish house and had raw oysters (yum!) and salads and drinks.  What a great day!  Beautiful weather, good company, and our team won!  Thanks George!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

500 miles and the Colorado Trail Completed!

On the trail near Cascade Creek - photo by Pete Vogt
Yippee Yahooooo! I finished the 500 miles of the Colorado Trail yesterday, arriving at the trailhead early evening.  Not a soul around, and no phone to call Kelly for my ride, so I rode down the river valley, and found a lovely person out in his yard.  He not only offered me a beer - he gave me two, and then later brought me a wonderful meal which we ate by the trail.  Thanks to my new friend!!

The ride was a completely inspiring experience, better than I could ever have imagined.  I have kept a handwritten daily journal every step of the way, and plan to write an article ASAP.  I'll keep you posted on that...

Spectacular vistas, incredible camping spots, and no major trouble, although several near misses.  I think the very best part was just being with my wonderful, affectionate, brave and beautiful horses, Magic, Midnight, and Maggie.

Wiley ended up leaving me for the 13th time in Breckinridge.  We took a wrong turn and ended up on the "Wheeler" trail, down the wrong side of the mountain, coming out on a closed Forest Service road.  I tried to get some insight by looking at my Colorado Trail Guidebook (which was not helpful).  When I looked up about 30 seconds later, Wiley had disappeared.  I called and called, and whistled and yelled, as I knew he was in earshot.  I looked for him for an hour, but he was gone gone gone, and I finally gave up.

I called George from town, who eventually heard from someone in Breck that found him, and that delivered Wiley to George in Denver.  Wiley has made his choice clear, and George will now keep Wiley safe at home while I continue my nomadic lifestyle on horseback.  Wiley is 12 now, and I guess he just couldn't do the mileage.  I'll be able to see him when I get to Denver, and George (who is a small animal vet) will take good care of him in his old age.  Wiley loves George and will have two other dogs to play with.  It seems the best choice for Wiley, although I sure will miss him on the trail.

I also lost the trail again near Lost Creek.  When I came out of a deep gulch, I missed the trail and ended up climbing out along a steep rocky stream, which got smaller and steeper as we went.  I always hate to retrace my steps, so we kept climbing, finally coming to a place where trees had fallen over the trail.  I tried to lead the horses around this roadblock, but it was worse.  In the end, those brave and powerful athletes each jumped the huge logs!  Magic went last, carrying the pack.  Wow.  I was impressed. 

But the worst was yet to come.  When we got to the top, we found ourselves above tree line, in a terrible boggy area.  I hate bogs, and so do the horses.  I was riding Midnight and let him pick his way through the maze of soft stuff, eventually clearing it.  We did see two lost rogue cows up there.

Finally, I had no idea where I was or which way to go, completely off the trail, with no trails in sight.  I just conjured up my intuition and chose to head for the top of the mountain.  It was beautiful up there, and luckily I was in good weather.  I passed over the top and decided to just keep heading in one direction, hoping to eventually cross a trail or a road or something!  No houses in sight - just mountain after mountain.

Eventually, we came down into a beautiful aspen glade (which were golden in the light of the afternoon sun).  I picked up a faint trail, which lead to another more disctinct trail, and finally merged with the Colorado Trail!  That made me so happy!  I found it!!!  We camped shortly after and I celebrated with hot Tang and rice/jerky mix for supper.  We found a lovely spot on the banks of Lost Creek.  There was lots of grass and water and the horses grazed all night.  I built a nice fire and watched the sunset, happy to be back on the trail again without having to backtrack.

The next day, I headed out mid-morning, after a breakfast of coffee and dry oatmeal (the way I like it).  I passed through the Lost Creek Wilderness area and it was lovely.  There are all kinds of stories about the notorious Roberts Gang who used the area as a hideout and hid their spoils from the many stagecoach and train robberies in South Park.  The money has never been found.  I looked, but didn't see any likely spots to dig, and just rode on, through aspen and fir, and pines.  Waterfalls and creeks provided refreshment for the horses all along the way.  It was a perfect day.

My last night in the wild, I camped by Buffalo creek, fast moving river a day's ride (almost 20 miles) from where I would end my journey.

I had a large, hard packed campsite under the huge trees I'm so fond of.  I built a fire, and the horses were tied to graze, with Magic at liberty.  After a meal of rice and jerky, I headed to my tent and my huge fluffy cozy warm sleeping bag.  (Thanks George).

I drifted into slumber to the music of elk bugling their love songs to each other. 

I woke in the deep of night, wide awake for no reason, and decided to check on the horses.

Horrors!!  They were all gone again.  How they manage to get those knots untied continues to escape me, but here I was, on my last night, with a repeat of my early days on the trail.

I was out of the treats I usually use to catch them, so I took the pan and filled it with pine cones, which make a similar sound.  I shook the pan and randomly started up the trail, having really no idea where to look for them in the forest.  About a quarter of a mile from camp (in the pitch black of the deep forest at night), I heard rustling in the woods to my left.  Somehow, I knew it was their sound, and sure enough, Magic and Midnight came to me out of the blackness.  Good good boys!  Maggie was easy to locate then, and pretty soon I had them all tied up in camp.  I treated them to trail mix which they love (nuts, berries, m&m's), and went back to bed.  I slept well the rest of the night, in thankfullness that I woke when I did.

The next day dawned a beauty and I rode the rest of the way in sunshine and happiness, the horses in good shape.  Well, Maggie is still thin, but has good energy and a light step.  Magic carried the load, and Midnight led the way.  I promised them water and green grass and that's what we found at the trail's end.  They even finished the trail mix, nickering their appreciation.

But it is me who is thankful and appreciative.  Those wonderful beings carried me safely all the way, never complaining and staying strong until the end.  They have proven themselves worthy companions and stalwart carriers of my dreams. 

There will be many more adventures to come. 

For now, we are back in the Denver/Fort Collins area.  I plan to head to the "Fort" tonight to reunite with friends and check on shifts available for work at the hospital.  Now comes the time for rest, and gearing up for the next adventure!

I plan to be here for at least a couple of weeks, and eventually will head out, with the destination still South America.  So stay tuned and stay in touch!  And let me know you're out there.  It's so good to hear from old friends and new.  And if you have any photos for me - please email them so I can post them here...

Happy Trails!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Copper Mountain Ski Resort

On the ski run at Copper Mountain Resort - photo by Dick McKay
Hi Everyone!  I rolled in here two days ago, and was immediately welcomed by the sparse off season community at Copper Mountain, a ski resort where I have held a season pass in the past.  So strange to ride the horses under the American Eagle lift!  A very nice fellow, Dick, took photos for me, but the computer I'm using won't allow me to upload - so you'll have to wait for those until later. 

The trail has been incredible - I've met so many interesting and helpful people.  I've been keeping a written journal, and will provide more details when I get to a more user friendly computer.

Wiley is doing well, and keeps a close eye on us since his last episode at the animal shelter in Leadville.  We had an amazing crossing through the Holy Cross Wilderness.  I had a spiritual experience there and thought I might never leave, but the next morning blew in a freezing cold wind and my feeling was, "get me out of here!".  A wonderful gal named Maddy with her sweet dog came by during the freezing cold and let me use her cell phone.  She gifted me $20.00 and became a sponsor of my trip, so THANKS MADDY! 

My friend George came up today and brought me a sleeping bag.  I'd been complaining about mummy bags - too constricting!  So he brought four for me to choose from.  I picked the biggest one....Thanks George!

He also bought the horses some alfalfa cubes and a new collar for Wiley, and took me to Frisco for lunch in the pouring rain.  WHAT A TREAT!  He then stopped by a vet clinic (he's Wiley's favorite vet) and picked up some pain meds for Wiley (he's 12 and gets stiff and sore like me), and then took me to the sporting goods store for a new pair of gloves.

I keep losing things - they just fall off me...What's up with that!!!!  I hereby declare that I am a loser no more!

Anyway, I was out of cash (again) and George gave me some cash besides.  He also took with him one of my pack saddles and the orange plastic panniers that keep giving me trouble.  So I'm down to one pack saddle now, and looking forward to a lighter load.  The horses will be happier too I think.

Thanks for everything George!  You made my day!

Got back to the horses - standing in mud after the rain.  George left and I got organized for an early a.m. depart, and then went down to the Copper Mountain Athletic club and had one of the best showers of my life!  Even a hot wet sauna and a hot tub for $5.00.  Great deal, and nice girl at the desk besides.  I'm clean and warm and loving it!

I have been treated so well here - had a wonderful meal last night at Alpinista's, and met Cory, who wanted to ride a horse.  We went on a nice ride around the ski resort this morning, and he made me a delicious martini tonight!  Thanks Cory!  Can't wait to check out the Absinthe Bar in Boulder....

Love Copper in the off season - like a really friendly, very small town. 

Tomorrow I head over "Ten Mile Range".  I heard it was really steep and rocky, but Leslie, the owner of Copper Mountain Stables, assured me that the ride is easy to accomplish on horseback, if you can avoid the marrauding moose.  She told me the story of a woman who was hiking with her dog, and a moose attacked her dog, and then when she tried to intervene, attacked the woman too!

So Wiley will be "on leash", and I'll have my bear spray handy.  After all he's been through, and all the miles he's trotted, we can't have some crazy old moose giving him trouble!

Well, I better head up the hill - Maggie and Wiley are tied out front and the nice manager just let me know that it's probably time for moving on....

Thanks for reading and love to hear from you!


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Healing in the Holy Cross Wilderness

(This has been posted by proxy for Trish)

Hi Everyone!

I'm letting you know that Wiley has been returned to me (again!). He was at the Leadville Animal Shelter. Two very nice officers, under request from the Chief of Police, helped me retrieve him and gave us a ride back to the CO Trail at the west end of Turquoise Lake. I have ridden in and set up a beautiful camp along the trail a couple of miles into the Holy Cross Wilderness. I'm going to stay here a couple of days so I wanted to post something for the people who were concerned about Wiley and tried to help me find him.

I'll write more later when I get to Frisco later this week. Thanks and don't worry! We have everything we need and are doing well, just need a rest and meditation break.



P.S. It would be so cool if each one of you sent $1.00 to the Leadville Humane Shelter. Here's the address:

Leadville Lake County Animal Shelter
428 East 12th St.
Leadville, CO

They took care of Wiley for 2 days, and when I had no money said, "That's ok, just send a donation." If your reading this would you consider popping $1 in the mail? I think it would be a great surprise for them...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

New Sponsor: Granite Mountain Outfitters, Poncha Springs, CO

Hello Everyone!  I have a new and wonderful sponsor here in Poncha Springs, CO.  Granite Mountain Outfitters is a horseback riding operation on top of the beautiful Poncha Pass, surrounded by incredible 14,000 foot peaks, the Sangre De Cristo Mountains, and other wonderful sites.

Yesterday, my good friend Sue Applegate, who runs this business, became a sponsor of my adventure by purchasing a "SPOT" device for me.  This is a GPS tracker which also has a 911 feature I can use "if things get ugly" anywhere in the world.  It also has a mapping feature which can show you exactly where I am along the trail.  Click on the following link to see where we are:

We are leaving this area in the next couple of hours.  Sue is trailering me and the horses back to the Colorado Trail - about 10 miles away.  We're looking forward to riding again, even though I TOTALLY fell in love with Poncha Springs and the wonderful people I've met here.

Over the next couple of weeks we'll travel almost 250 miles, skirting the Collegiate Peaks and the Vail/Breckenridge area.  I'm looking forward to it, and we hope you'll join us along the way.

Happy Trails!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

New Photos!

These are photos emailed to me from moments earlier in my trip - Loading up on my third day, preparing to take on Kennebec Pass to Indian Trail.  Carin, from Sweden took these photos.  Because of her interest, I met Chris, from Durango.  He was her "sherpa guide" on the Colorado trail and I had the pleasure of meeting up with Chris and his group again later in the Weiminuche Wilderness with his crew and clients hiking the Colorado trail.  Chris invited me to dinner (wow what food!) and I enjoyed two days in rain and hailstorms in the shelter of his wall tent at Carson Saddle.  When the weather cleared, we all moved on, but I'll never forget the wonderful people and conversations, and the warm hospitality offered by Chris and crew.  For those of you thinking about hiking the CO trail without a heavy backpack - Chris offers a deluxe sherpa/guide service and awesome food.

I'm still in Salida.  Sue's riding guests cancelled today, so she was free and offered to take me to Buena Vista.  She wanted to provide me with a "Spot" device, which is a GPS tracker that sends my location coordinates to designated persons.  I'm going to try to figure out a way to get that to post to this blog so you can all see where I am on any given day.  Not sure if it's possible - might have to be a link from my website.  It's a pretty cool little device.  If I get in trouble, I can either press the "help" button, or the "911" button.  It comes with a reasonable price tag and subscription fee, so if I get in an ugly situation, helicopters will be discharged to the rescue - anywhere in the world.  The amazing thing?  911 Rescue is provided when needed for a fee of $7.95 a year.  The subscription is $99.00 a year.  Pretty cool device, and reassuring for my loved ones.

With this change in plans, I'll be back on the trail tomorrow.  Gives me time to reshoe Maggie this afternoon, and get an early start tomorrow.  I'm looking forward to being back on the trail again, although it has been VERY comfortable at Granite Mountain Outfitters.  Don cooked big ribeye steaks over the fire last night, and we shared corn on the cob and a few drinks with Tom Paul and his lovely girlfriend Sarah, soon to be graduating from law school.  Tom Paul just finished a trek down the Baha and elsewhere (I think he mentioned he had traveled 6,000 miles?) and gave me a nice map of Mexico for my route planning.  Thanks buddy!  Carol (Don's girlfriend), was a most gracious hostess - putting up with Wiley laying in the middle of her kitchen floor during the whole evening. 

It's been a wonderful stay at Poncha Pass with Sue and crew.  Thanks to everyone over and over again.  This is exactly the kind of wonderful time I was hoping to have on my journeys.  Thanks for helping to make my dreams come true!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Back on the trail again...

Hi Folks!

Well, I'm still in the Salida area, staying with my friend Sue Applegate at Granite Mountain Outfitters, just outside of Poncha Springs, near Poncha Pass.  Sue has been so wonderful to me!  She picked me up from the trail several days ago, and allowed me to put the three horses on her rich pasture to rest and restore.  Maggie was especially thin, and is looking a lot better now, so we're feeling like it's time to get back on the trail and head for Denver.

The trails we've been on have been really hard on hooves and shoes.  Super rocky, with sharp rocks almost everywhere.  Thankfully, the Eponashoes have been awesome!  Not one horse with any kind of lameness issues.  I have had to replace a few shoes though, and I'm so thankful to Monique and John, the owners/inventors of Eponashoe.  They taught me well, and supplied me with all the shoes I need to continue my journey.  Those shoes are so amazing - I can actually feel the difference when I put new ones on - it's like a new pair of running shoes!  Anyhow, I'm having a few more shoes shipped ahead to Twin Lakes, in case I need them enroute.

Wiley is enjoying the days at Granite Mountain Outfitters - laying around a lot, and visiting Don, who lives close by Sue.  One day he decided to just pop over when I was working with the horses.  He followed some visitors over to Don's and went on inside, laid down in the middle of the kitchen and just made himself at home like he'd always lived there.  He loves everyone, and just assumes they love him too.  I guess we could all learn a lot from Wiley.

It's been a busy week for Sue and her business.  During just the few days I've been here, I watched a barn built from scratch to completion by the awesome Amish men (they were all relatives).  The six of them worked so smoothly - all day long for 3 days, and by the end, Sue had a beautiful pole barn completed!  Amazing. 

Another project was her overhead entrance sign.  Hans, a craftsman who has worked extensively for Gander Mountain, completed a beautiful log entrance over Sue's driveway into the ranch.  Another incredible project to watch completed.  Ed, the crane operator was incredibly competant, and friendly and personable besides.  He was a smooth operator....

Last night we celebrated by a trip with friends (there were 8 of us) to a newly constructed Old West town called "Cowtown".  We hopped in Don and Audrey's cool motorcoach and arrived at the remote entrance about 90 minutes later - passing the Great Sand Dunes National Park on the way. 

The place was fascinating.  The owner had a dream, and made it a reality by constructing an authentic old town, complete with Livery Stables, General Store, Church, "Social Club" (the hotel), and a wonderful restaurant.  There was also a greenhouse, a number of houses, and several other buildings, connected by the old fashioned boardwalks and several relics to admire, including a display of antiques.  We loved our dining experience, and I personally hope to get back there again one day.  Very cool trip back in time. 

Well, time to close for now.  I expect to be in Denver in 2-3 weeks, and will post again when I can.  Thanks again for following the blog, and I look forward to seeing many of you in the near future!

Trish Wild
The Equine Nomad

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Salida - 1/2 way to Denver!

Howdy there everyone!  I'm in Salida, 250 miles from Durango and Denver.  I've had many adventures along the way, and have enjoyed every minute of the trip so far.

I'm at the Salida Library and have only a few minutes to update my blog, so this will have to be brief.

When I left Silverton, I got a ride to Molas Pass (7 miles from town) by a friendly horse trainer, Larry, and his friend Claire.  They were so willing to help me out, I really appreciate them taking time from a busy  morning to trailer me, Wiley and the horses "up the hill".

We geared up in the parking lot at the Molas Campground and headed down many steep switchbacks to the Animas River Valley.  Just as I neared the bottom of the valley, I saw the steam from the Silverton/Durango train coming puffing down the tracks, and I thought, UH OH, this can't be good.  I quickly found three sturdy aspen trees to tie each horse, and right as I secured the last tie, the train screamed that whistle as it neared Silverton, right next to the horses!  Whoa!!!  They reared and turned and in general freaked out.  Thank goodness I got them tied before the whistle blew or I doubt I could have held them all.  The tourists on the train all had their cameras out - I just stood there and waved to the paparazzi as they cheered and waved back.  I'm sure we were quite the sight.  Wiley didn't know what to make of that!

I continued on up that Valley (Elk Park Basin) and spent many days on the trail, some days without seeing a single person!

When I finally neared Salida however, I was riding one of "the most beautiful mountain bike trails in the world", according to the guide book.  I bet I passed 150 mountain bikers.  Wiley had his work cut out for him - he was up ahead alerting the bikers to stop before they crashed into us.  He did a good job.

Lots more to tell, but have to stop for now.  Will update again soon.

Photo is compliments of Katy, who took these photos near Stony Pass.

All is well - minor injuries to horses are healing well, and Wiley is doing fine, when he's not sleeping with other women in their tents!  (He likes to disappear now and then).

More to come - thanks for tuning in.

I'm staying in Salida with Sue Applegate at Granite Mountain Outfitters.  The horses are resting on beautiful pasture and I'm planning to hit the trail again on Friday Morning.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Resting and Resupply in Silverton

Hello Everyone!

A quick update from Silverton, CO, 7 miles from the Colorado Trail at Moas Pass. I've stopped here to shower and resupply, and let the horses rest a couple of days.

I spent 7 days in the wilderness with the horses and Wiley, and had rather a rough start. Pouring rain and hailstorms on Kennebec Pass prevented my departure from that camp for 2 days. I finally was able to scale to the top of Indian Trail Ridge, and the 360 views were spectacular!

Wiley and I have found some truly amazing camp spots, and the horses are adjusting to the routine of the ride.

The first night out, I had let the 2 geldings out to graze and had Maggie tied. This system has worked well for me in the past, as the geldings will not stray far from her side.  During the thunderstorms in night however, she got loose from her halter and they all disappeared for about 12 hours. I was frantic of course, and thought it was the end of everything. Just when I gave up looking for them all over the mountain side, I found them on a forest service road below the Kennebec Pass, walking back to camp, looking very surprised to see me. I've never been so thankful to see anyone!!!
I vowed to never let that happen again but just that afternoon, was letting Maggie graze while the boys were tied. Magic got loose and took off after Maggie like a mad thing. Of course that left Midnight tied alone, who was snorting and stamping! I untied him, with the intent to saddle him and go get the others. He took off with me dangling from the lead rope like a puppet on a string. I fell and hung on - doing a texas roll in the grass as he went faster and faster. I finally let go and watched him disappear over the ridge after the others, bucking with glee! I got up, and found my pants were full of dirt and grass. Huffing and puffing, I chased them down - back down that forest service road again.

Everytime I'd get close, Magic would snort and gallop off, the others in swift pursuit. Finally, I outsmarted them, and cut them off by crossing in front of them around a bend. I bent down and picked some grass, held it out and caught Maggie easily. Good grief! I believe that is when I lost my iphone, as a couple of hours later I realized it was no longer in my pocket. Grrrrr. There go 1300 photos and my only portable communication tool.  Oh well, the battery was dead and I seldom had reception anyway.
Since then, Maggie NEVER is at liberty. I keep a close eye on all of them, and my biggest fear is that I would be left alone in the wild, miles from help. I WILL NOT LET THAT HAPPEN AGAIN!

The next day, we loaded up (it was taking me hours to load - I had too much stuff!) and headed for the pass. Wiley missed the turn as he was way ahead, and went another way. I started switchbacking up a steep mountain, and couldn't see him anywhere for about an hour. Finally, I was near the top and had written him off, when I saw him far below, making his way up the mountain. I was glad to see him again.

Once we got to the top, the weather was bad again, and it was too dangerous to approach the Indian Peak Trail - exposed on a high ridge for 4 miles. In fact, I had just enough time to strip the loads from the horses, tarp the saddles, and duck under low pine boughs before the hail storm raged for 2 hours.

Later the weather cleared a bit and I was debating giving it a try, studying the storm clouds, when a couple of brothers came down from the trail. They were shell shocked, and said they thought they were going to die up there. They told me not to go that way - they said the trail was too steep and too rocky to manage with horses - that they had to crawl on hands and knees to get up the trail. They told me their father was coming to pick them up and take them home to Farmington. I begged them to take gear off my hands to lighten my load. In the end they took about half my weight with them THANK YOU!

After lightening my load, I was encouraged to try again, but one of the brothers helped me find another route down the mountain and sold me a map that was more detailed than my Colorado Trail book.

I was getting ready to load up the horses again, visiting with a nice man and his son from Missouri. While we were talking, Wiley disappeared again! This time he was really gone - for hours. I rode with the horses over to a pretty little lake for water, and still no Wiley. I figured that was the end of him when he didn't show up at dark. I called and called, but still no Wiley. I was irritated with that dang dog and disappointed at the same time, and finally just went to bed in my tent, planning to leave in the morning without him, pending better weather.

Just as I was drifting off to sleep, I heard a vehicle pull into the parking lot at the top of the pass, and honk a horn. Next I heard a man's voice calling "Trish?". I called out, "are you looking for me?" He replied, "If you're Trish and you're looking for Wiley, I have him here!"

Wow. It was Ben, from a Outlaw Tours in Durango. His driver had picked Wiley up that afternoon and taken him to Durango. By some strange coincidence, the nice man from Missouri and his family were at the tour headquarters that afternoon when Wiley came in. He told them that Wiley belonged to me, and that I was camped at the pass, and s Ben drove the 50 miles round trip to bring him back to me.
It was good to have him back in my sleeping bag again. I guess I couldn't blame him for his escapade, and I realized how much his company means to me once I had him back again.

The next day dawned with pouring rain and storms again. I was beginning to think I'd never get off that high pass, but finally the weather cleared and I loaded up again (much easier with much less weight), planning to head down on my new route through the forest. Luckily, a very nice guide from Durango, Chris, came over to visit and encouraged me to stick to the Colorado Trail, reassuring me that horses did the Indian Trail often, and that my horses certainly looked competant. I decided to go for it, and I'm so glad that I did, because it was spectacular. The weather was beautiful and the 360 view was a memory I'll never forget. The horses negotiated the trail without difficulty, Maggie leading the way with confidence- jumping up three foot high rocky ledges without batting an eye. They are such athletes!
We made good distance that day, traveling from 330 pm till 10 pm, setting up camp under a starry sky in a beautiful location overlooking a valley. Sunrise the next morning was spectacular!
I geared up and departed about 930 on day 5 of my adventure, making it about 15 miles that day.  The variety of terrain is amazing.  I see waterfalls, lakes, mountain passes, vista views, fields of wildflowers, and I wish I knew more about mushrooms, because I see tons of different kinds...Morels?  Puffballs?  little ones, big ones, wish I knew which were edible...

We had a beautiful camp spot that night by a river that night, and left early the next morning. I feel my strength getting better each day, and I get faster loading the horses every time I do it. I am so thankful to David Batzer, an outfitter friend from Fort Collins who showed me how to tie the top pack with the Arizona Hitch. It's working so well, and is so easy to tie and untie! It has eliminated the problems I used to have tying on the packs. I go all day now without having to retie.

Regarding the horses feet - an important topic! They are doing great in their EponaShoes. Thanks from the bottom of my heart to Monique and John from Pasa Robles, CA, my excellent (and only) sponsors who have provided me with shoes for all the horses, and taught me the skills I needed to maintain my horses feet. All horses were reshod just before leaving, and everyone is holding well, with great traction on all surfaces. Mostly, I travel on a lot of rock and I am so thrilled with the performance of these shoes! They have given the horses great confidence, and I have had zero lameness issues. Eponashoes rock!!! I am carrying spares and all my (very heavy) farrier tools just in case, but so far I have had NO ISSUES with hooves or stones. Happy feet means happy horses!

I crossed the "Rolling Pass" on my intended destination to Molas Pass, but made a wrong turn, or rather, missed the turn and headed south - WAY OUT OF THE WAY. Oops. I guess I didn't look at the map all day. The trail seemed so clear and I totally missed the sign to turn left. I came down a lot of switchbacks into a valley where a lot of mountain bikers were parked. I asked "where's the store?" thinking I was at Molas Pass, but alas I was 45 miles south of where I should have been. I was planning to head into Silverton for resupply, which is 7 miles from Molas Pass. I borrowed a cell phone and started making many calls. Finally, a nice lady at the Chamber of Commerce, gave me a phone number for Patty, "who has some horses". Patty didn't hesitate, and said "I have a horse trailer and I'll come and get you - but you might have to wait until I get off work." She was so wonderful - she got her husband Tommy and a friend Craig to drive the 45 miles each way to pick us up and shuttle us to the delightful town of Silverton. I was greeted with a big hug and a welcoming smile by these two friendly gents. They helped me load all my gear and Wiley got to ride up front in the cab to town. He of course takes all this in stride.

On my arrival here in Silverton, the helpful owners of the Red Mountain Motel and RV park quickly set up a panel round pen for the horses and filled a tank with fresh water. Tommy went and brought me back 3 bales of beautiful hay, and then refused to take any compensation for either the shuttle or the hay. Wow.
I love Silverton. I had a nice room with the best shower of my life, and then strolled downtown to "Handlebars" as in moustache. They served me up the best martini ever and a juicy delicious NY strip steak that I think may be the best steak of my life!

The craziest thing of all is that while I was enjoying my salad, in walks the nice fellow from Missouri and his whole family that I had met at the Kennebec Pass the fateful day when Wiley was taken to Durango by mistake. He explained to me that he had been the one to identify Wiley in Durango and encouraged Ben to bring him back to me! It was great to visit again with that lovely family and we enjoyed a meal together - updated each other on our Colorado Adventures. I'll enjoy having them following my blog - really great kids!

So today I found myself a very accomodating little place in Silverton called "the Avalanche". They served me a nice coffee and a breakfast pizza (yummy), and let me use their computer - no charge! Every so often, a stagecoach drawn by horses trots by, and I can hear the steam engine blow down the tracks as the train heads back to Durango. I wonder what the horses thought of that! I was loaned a nice cruiser bike to go the two blocks "downtown", and Wiley is laying in the shade outside, waiting for me to finish. Craig, one of the fellows who picked me up yesterday, just stopped in to get a coffee, and I'm going to head across the street to see the art gallery he runs with his partner. Then it will be time to gather my supplies, and get to bed early tonight because tomorrow, I'm back on the trail!
I figure I will be able to update my blog about weekly, depending on my progress on the trail. I'm hoping to up my mileage from here out and see if I can make better time.

Thanks for staying in touch, and please email me your phone numbers and contact info, as I lost it all with my iphone.  Know that I'm doing well, getting strong and slim, and loving every minute of this adventure of a lifetime.

Love to all! Trish

Thursday, July 29, 2010

On the road to Durango

Hi and thanks for checking in. I am currently in Pagosa Springs, fresh out of the Maroon Bells Wilderness. My friend Patty and I rode the trail from Gothic, a little town north of th lovely village of Crested Butte. We packed our gear on Magic, the 9 year old gelding, and spent the first night at Copper Lake. It's a good thing we were fresh for the trip over Triangle pass.

The word "scree" has new meaning for me now. It's no surprise that scream starts with the same sound. Patty was first to get off and lead Maggie. It was scary hearing the sound of the scree falling down the mountain under the horse hooves. The view however was spectacular, and then we were treated to a fabulous wildflower display as we made our way into Conundrum basin and to the Hot Springs. Our camp spot was perfect with sweet pasture for the horses and trees to shelter us from the sun and rain. We had plenty of both.

We rode out after three nights and four days of camping. The way back was still scary but the horses did amazingly well! The eponashoes give amazing grip on all surfaces, and the scree field was accomplished without problems of any kind.

We got a hotel room in Gunnison, cause Patty was craving a hot shower. Turns out the Hells Angels had chosen Gunnison as the rendezvous spot on the way to Sturgis. While they were quite intimidating in their "colors" and with the noisy Harleys, we heard rom the locals that they were only polite, considerate, and generous. We had to park on the stret because there were so many Harleys in the parking lot, but in the end, we slept well and were only awakened a couple of times by bikes coming in. The horses spent he nIght at he fairgrounds. What a wonderful thing that is! So much more comfortable than standing in the trailer all night.

I'm almost out of battery, so will close for now. Tomorrow we head to Durango, where I will prepare to ride the Colorado Trail almost 500 miles to Denver.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A better way to follow a blog....

Greetings to you on my last day at work. Well, at least for awhile. I plan to work a few shifts between burning man and the telluride blues fest in September, but I also plan to give public talks to schools and so forth so I won't have much time for work.

My good friend and work mate Jessica Apostle (super nurse) showed me a way for you to get notifications automatic thru Google. Here's how:

on the google toolbar, select "more". From the top right, select "reader", and then click on "create account". Then click on "add subscription" and type in my blog address, which is :

you can follow multiple blogs this way, and then you will be notified whenever there is a new post! You will need a gmail free account to do this I think.

Alright! Couple hours to go, and then I'm off on my trip to conundrum!

Hasta la vista baby!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Last days of work

I worked in the ER today, and will work my last shift until September tomorrow. When I'm done, I drive back to my niece Kelly's place and then gear up for Conundrum Hot springs in the Maroon Bells Wilderness outside Aspen Colorado.

After we soak our tired selves for a few days, Patty will drop me off at the Colorado Trail trailhead in Durango and I will ride for a month to see how far I can get. At the end of a month, I head to the "burning Man" in the Nevada desert. I will be working as a greeter. If you're planning to be there - come and say hi!

Ok. Time to sleep. 5 am comes early!

Stay tuned for reports from conundrum and the Colorado trail....

Monday, July 19, 2010

Another day with Horse's feet then back to the Fort

I spent another day working with the horses feet.  Got Midnight trimmed, and discovered that his hooves have changed in size from the last time I shod him.  We're transitioning to the Eponashoes and this time his feet are a little different.  So I'll be making another trip back to the farrier supply to trade in the shoes I have for a slightly wider size.

Magic was missing a shoe, so I replaced that one - his shoes should be good for another couple of weeks I hope.  

After completing all of that and rearranging some gear, it was time to head for Fort Collins again.  I signed up to work a 6 hour shift in the ER at the McKee Medical Center in Loveland.  I'll be working a few shifts as a per diem employee here and there this summer before I leave in October.  Here's a photo of me heading north out of Denver.

I arrived at my good friend Carolina's house about 10 last night.  This morning, Wiley enjoyed a little sunshine by the lake in her backyard.  Lot's to do here to gear up for my trip  to Conundrum Hot Springs in the Maroon Bells Wilderness.
Here's Wiley in Carolina's backyard.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Horseshoing Day

Dr. Ashleigh Olds, Awesome Equine Vet

Today was spent preparing the horses for travel.  New Eponashoes and a visit to the vet.    The morning started with a trip to the Large Animal Vet, Dr. Ashleigh Olds, at her clinic in Conifer.  All three horses received Coggins tests, rabies shots, and a friendly exam. 

Maggie had her sharp teeth filed (floated) on the cheek side so she can eat better.  I learned that an electric disc is more efficient and effective than the old method of using a rasp.  I got to see inside her mouth with a light while she was sedated and opened with that crazy looking device that covers the front teeth and cranks her jaw open.  Wow - I had no idea.  That's a lot of teeth!  Anyhow, it was a very informative experience and we completed our first Vet visit "on the road".  Thanks to Dr. Olds for getting us in to the clinic with only one day notice!

When I got back to Kelly's, it was time to get started on Maggie's shoes.  4 hours later, after a lot of sweat, blood, and swearing (sorry but it's true), Maggie has a new set of Eponashoes.  These polycarbonate horse shoes are made by Monique and John of Paso Robles, CA.  They have engineered an amazing athletic shoe for horses, and I'm so thankful to have them as a sponsor of my ride.  Today, I could actually feel the new shoes while riding!  Maggie has a spring in her step, and we can gallop over gravel without problems.  Check out their website if you have an interest in these shoes.  I plan to write frequently about their performance on the road.  So far, they are the best shoes I've ever had on my horses, but my farrier skills are still under development.  I have a lot to learn - but my darling Maggie stood there for four hours without complaint.  Hopefully this will get easier as I get more practice.

Ouch.  My back!  Ouch.  My finger!

          Shoeing horses is the thirstiest work I've ever done!

I used a hoof jack device for the first time today.  See the blood?  Next photo - the new shoes. 

Once the shoes were on, Kelly and I rode 6 miles or so into town to share a dinner at the local tavern.  The photo on the left is Kelly on her sweet horse "Buttercup". 

About 3/4 of the way there, I realized that the $100 bill that was in my pocket, wrapped around my debit card, was no longer there.  ARRRRGH!  I rode back the six miles at a gallop.  Maggie was happy to head home.  She bulleted so fast, I had to slow her down at one point.  I was keeping an eye out for the bill, but no luck.  Until I got back to Kelly's and found it laying next to the road, in the ditch grass.  I couldn't believe it!  No debit card anywhere though, but that's an easier fix than losing the $$$.

I drove to the tavern, ordered a saphire gin martini, (up dry with 3 olives please), and guess what? It was "STEAK NIGHT". Kelly and I both enjoyed a fine meal, and headed home, happy with the outcome.

                 (Photos below are Buttercup, after her bath this morning and Maggie, ready to go).

Now it's time to hit the sack.  Tomorrow, it's Midnight's turn for new shoes, and I'm going to need a good night's rest!  Maybe I can cut the time to 3 hours???

Friday, July 16, 2010

First update "On the Road"

Whew.  It's been a whirlwind these past 6 weeks!  I worked my last shift as a trauma nurse after 36 years in the nursing profession on June 28.  While finishing that up, I moved all my possessions out of the Estes Park cabin into my girlfriend's garage.  Two garage sales and a shipment to the second hand store later, I now can fit all my possessions into my truck and horse trailer, including my three horses and Wiley (of course). 

I pulled out of Fort Collins yesterday, feeling excited and free.

I'm currently visiting my neice, Kelly, at her home in Indian Hills, Colorado.  A few days here, a quick trip back to Fort Collins on Tuesday, and then let the travels begin!

Here are my plans for the immediate future:

1).  July 20, depart for Aspen, CO to the Maroon Bells Wilderness area.  A couple of friends will ride with me to "Conundrum" a hot springs above treeline.  9 miles in, two or three nights soaking in the mountaintop pools, and 9 miles out.

2).  Drive with Patty, my buddy, to Pagosa Springs.  More Hot Springs seeking - plan to check out Rainbow Hot Springs.  Also the home of Pat Parelli, horse trainer extraordinaire.

3).  August 1, arrive at the trailhead for the Colorado Trail, and spend the month riding 500 miles from Durango to Denver.  By myself this time, for the first time keeping a long distance pace of 25 miles a day, 125 miles/week, 500 per month.  I will be testing gear, trying to work the blog, and updating my website - hopefully!  I'll be crossing several high mountain ranges on this trip, so it might take a little longer - I'm allowing an extra two weeks because I don't want to rush.

4).  September 17, allow the horses to rest on pasture while I attend the Telluride Blues and Brews festival with friends from work.

5). September/October, public speaking to schools and community groups, prepare for departure date.

6). 10/10/10 - Host a departure/fundraiser (place to be determined, but I'm hoping for CSU Equine Picket Center).  Ride away on the adventure of a lifetime!  Anyone who would like to see me off on horseback is welcome to ride along as far as you like.

For now, it's a great feeling to be free and on the road.  Horses are fit and ready for travel.  Well, almost.  It's time again to trim and shoe with the special Eponashoes.  A polycarbonate shoe that I first put on about 8 weeks ago.  They have worked out so well so far!  Great traction - like putting Nike's on my horses' feet!  I love these shoes!  More on this topic later.

So join the fun and come along!  I'm so happy to have you "out there" so please send your comments, questions, suggestions, etc.  I love hearing from you!

Trish Wild
The Equine Nomad

Friday, May 7, 2010

Sisco comes to play!

Sisco, a 5 year old Spotted Saddlehorse, comes to Horsedancing Ranch for training.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Are you a follower?

OK, so I'm trying to figure out this whole blog thing. If you haven't already signed up, it would be really great to see you on the sidebar as a "follower".  As of today, there are 15 people brave enough to come on board.  It's easy - just click on the link. Part of the reason I'm blogging is to stay in touch, but also, to earn money.  If my blog grabs attention for being visited frequently, google will begin to post ads that will pay per click and maybe pay for my trip!  Or at least help..Plus, I like knowing who's out there, so I can keep in touch better...So pass the link to anyone you think might like to travel along with me, and come back often! 

Brush and Bottle Class

My friends Lou and Greg invited me to their cool coffee shop in downtown Estes Park (the big one on the River).  They are hosting these cool art classes every other Friday.  I took an oil painting class called Brush and Bottle - (or was it Bottle and Brush?) and this painting was the result of drinking wine while painting on canvas.  This is actually my abstraction of a photo taken of the draft horse who pulls the carriage down Elk Horn Ave in Estes Park.  I love painting and plan to do it a lot more...Anybody want to buy this one?

What's a Remuda?

So here's a cool thing about horses.  The females rule!  (Stallions are for fighting, breeding, and protecting the herd - also important).  In a herd, the females decide where and when the herd moves.  And how about this?  They often lead together, shoulder to shoulder, in a line called a "Remuda".  Here's a cool photo of a Remuda that a friend of mine took a long time ago.

Home is: 2978 Lory Lane, Estes Park, Colorado

This is where we live in Estes Park.  On top of a beautiful mountain, in the snow at this time of year...  Notice Magic and Midnight watching me drive away to work.  Hopefully they won't have to watch me leave them for much longer.

A Morning Beach Race in Mal Pais, Costa Rica.

It's time to catch up...

It's been a month since I created my blog, and it's time now, to get going.  I just returned from Costa Rica, where I had a fabulous time on the beach and in the rain forest with my good buddy (let's just call him C) who shall remain nameless.  Sorry for the mystery, but he's just that way, and that's the way it shall be.  Thanks by the way, for all the fun! 

I was motivated and shot from the cannon to get back and get busy, for there is much to do.

Here's my current list:

1.  Make a reservation (flight) to attend Epona Research Institute Clinic on the polycarbonate shoes I would like my steeds to wear all the way to Argentina.  I have been graciously invited by Monique, the owner of the company to come and learn how to trim and shoe the Epona way.  More on that later.  That event takes place April 2-4, in Pasa Robles, California.  Can't wait.

2.  Get my financial house in order.  That means, I need to seek funding STAT.  I will write and send one hundred letters to potential supporters via Email before April 1st.  I am hoping for corporate sponsorship because I have no desire to tap my friendships for money.  In exchange for sponsorship in goods, services, or money, I will be happy to post ads on this website of various prominence.  Anyone who has suggestions of companies that may be interested in sponsoring my endeavors to bring peace, provide entertainment, and bring joy to children along the path, please send em my way!

For those of you that just HAVE TO give me money in spite of me saying right now that I don't expect and will never ask my friends to contribute, I am currently developing a way for you wonderful people to "buy a mile".  Stay tuned, but really, I don't expect it, and will never ask you to do it.  It's just that there are some people that want to help and can, so I won't say no.  But really, this only applies to those people who have extra cash laying around that they want to give away for the fun of it.  Most people I am friends with are not in that position, and this DOES NOT APPLY TO YOU.  So just read on and enjoy!   (Friends will be tapped frequently instead for moral, emotional, and spiritual support).

3.  Create a new blog written by Wiley Coyote and his 3 comrades, Midnight, Magic, and the most wonderful Maggie.  It is my hope that gradeschoolers (and others?) might like to read about our travels from the point of view of my furry family.  As I ride, I plan to stop and talk to interested parties at schools, prisons, and community gatherings along the way. 
4.  Liquidate all my possessions.  I originally thought I would hang on to some "stuff", but I now believe it will be most freeing if I let go of EVERYTHING.  So I'm making a plan to have a sale.  An auction of my worldly possessions, except for what I need to take on my trip.

5.  Create costumes for the ride.  Yes, I know, it sounds crazy, but it is my desire to entertain along the way, so I am teaming up with some talented folks who have offered to help me come up with something original (and of course wild) to ride in.  Maybe a few know, so people will see me coming....I'm thinking on the order of Avatar like fashion (but NO I will not paint my face blue or tattoo on a costume as some of you have suggested...I saw Alice in Wonderland tonight.  She had some great outfits - oh yes, for sure I need some armor with a cute skirt!  And a great HAT!  yes yes.  And a cool sword.  To slay my own jabberwockies....OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!  And check out the outfit on the white queen's horse - I think Miss Maggie will look fabulous in one of those....

OK, so that's it for today.  There's a lot more to do, including quitting my job, but not quite yet....

Thanks for checking in, and really, pass the word!  I really am going to do this thing, and I would feel so much better to know there are people "out there" cheering me on.  Love to all, and to all a goodnight.

The Wild Nomad

UPDATE:  July 16, 2010
Good progress on all fronts!

1).  Attended the seminar in California in April - learned about Eponashoes and received instruction on how to apply them to my horses feet.  Confirmed the company as a sponsor for my trip.  Monique and John, engineers and inventors of the polycarbonate horseshoe, have made the generous offer to send me shoes for all three horses.  In exchange I will report back on their performance over varied terrain and 10,000 miles. 

2).  Funding still pending - built my website and blog, but technical difficulties have kept me from seeking the funding I had hoped for.  Still under construction.  Help?

3).  Nothing in print yet, but Wiley is getting his thoughts together.....

4).  Great progress here!  I am now free of all possessions, except what I carry in my truck and trailer.  I still need to "let go" of more things.  Too much to fit on one pack horse....

5).  Excellent progress here too!  I discovered a wonderful leathersmith in Loveland Colorado, Jennifer, who owns a little business called "Phoenix Nest".  She constructed a custom fit set of leather armor for me.  I wore it in a parade in Estes Park, and it's comfortable, protective, and super cool.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Maggie in Training


I have been horse crazy since I was a child.  My earliest memories are of desires to be with horses.  Summer trips to my Uncle Bill's farm near the Peace Gardens in North Dakota were filled with days on a big black mare's back.  I was in the woods, in the fields, anywhere I could be on horseback.  I was 7 years old.  I dreamed of having my own horse, and wished for it every time I saw the first evening star.  I rode a broomstick horse and in my mind, it was a galloping palomino, just like Roy Rogers.  Later, I inherited a bike from my brother, and it became my horse - galloping down the street - my hair and the mane of my imaginary horse blowing in the wind.  I spent all my allowance and all my time on gathering and playing with little horse statues.  All of the named - all of them with personalities.

Years later, when I was 12, I got my first horse.  My Uncle Bill helped me find her, and when my father and I went to pick her up, she was a scraggly little yellow horse, scrounging for feed all by herself in a field.  I named her Shawnee and during the next five years, we grew up together riding the fields of the Peace Gardens.  I spent long days on her back - riding alone or with friends.  I learned to ride bareback and it was heaven to me.  My father Harvey and I talked about what it would be like to ride the Grand Canyon.

From those days to these, I have never stopped imagining what it would be like to ride long distance.

I have since owned and ridden many other horses, many miles.  I've learned to pack with sawbucks, and have spent many nights alone in beautiful national forest settings - riding in after dark at times, trusting my horses and their superior night vision.  I've helped hunters carry in their camps and haul out their elk meat. I've guided tourists on trails, and taken many beginners for their first rides.

But still, in the back of my mind, I never stopped imagining what it would be like to ride long distance.

I took dressage lessons and learned to jump.  I taught my horses to drive and pull carriages and carts. I've been in parades and carried flags.

But always, my big dream was to ride long distance.  To ride away with only what I could carry with me.  To live simply in the open.  To meet people and experience cultures along the way.  But most especially, to live with my horses day in and day out.  This has always been my dream.

So finally, the time has come.  My three sons are now on their own, living their dreams and taking care of themselves.  They make me proud.  It's time for me to finally follow my dreams and make them reality.

I have decided that I will ride from my home in Colorado to Buenos Aires, Argentina.  It's a rather arbitrary choice.  It's really all about living with my horses 24/7 and letting the wind blow us in the direction of the day. I want to head south, because I've spent time in Mexico, Central, and South America, and I love the culture, the people, and have always felt welcome there.  These places are horse oriented, and have a long history of horsemanship and horse culture.  I dream of who I will meet along the way and what adventures this lifestyle might bring.  One day, I would like to ride into Buenos Aires, having ridden the 10,000 miles it takes to get there.  I have set a departure date of 10/10/10, because it seems like a good date to leave.  An auspicious date.

I'm starting this blog because I want to keep my family, friends, sponsors, and interested parties up to date on my plans, preparations, and training rides.  Eventually, I'll be using this as a way to record my adventures along the way.  I'm not sure how often I'll be able to update when I'm riding, but I plan to keep a daily log of my travels and enter them here when I find an internet cafe or a way to access the internet along the way.

My real reason for doing this is simply because I wish to live a simple life with my horses on the road. It doesn't really matter where I go, except that I'm interested in adventure and exploring cultures that are different than mine.  I'm aware of the hazards I may encounter, and I will do my best to keep my horses, my dog, and myself, healthy and safe.  I believe that good people along the way will help me and teach me, and I dream of all the new friendships and experiences I will have along the way.

My greatest hope is that by living my dream, I will inspire others to live theirs.

You are invited to comment and to offer any input, reaction, advice, or suggestions you might have.  I don't know why I've always been so obsessed with horses.  Perhaps it's a genetic defect, but I can tell you it's always been part of who I am, and I am thrilled that I now will be able to live as a nomad on horseback.

It has always been my dream.

Welcome to my blog!  I hope you'll come back to visit often, and let me know you're out there....