So what did we decide to do??? Well Amber wanted to turn around and go back the way we came, but I put my foot down and said that we were going to walk down the logging/forest service road, until we either ran into another human being or we came to highway 410.
I hadn't been up this particular road in over 10 years, but I knew where we were, and I figured if it got too late, we could always call 911 and tell them our location...and we would be a hellava lot easier to find on a road, than on a trail somewhere.
Because the road was steep, and because our horses were weary, we led them down the road, which thankfully ended up only being four miles long. Unfortunately for us though, cowboy boots are not made for walking, let alone down a steep, gravel, road. The bottoms of my feet and the tips of my toes are still sore...lol!!!!
As we were walking, we decided that we would ask one of the many people who should be camping near the river, if they could give Amber a ride back up to Buck Creek, so she could bring the horse trailer back down to our new location.
Thankfully, about mile post three, we began to hear cars travelling along the highway, and right at four miles, we ran into a group of local guys-and their girlfriends-who were on their way up to cut firewood. We told them our story, and they agreed to take Amber up to Buck Creek. I stayed at Huckleberry Creek and let the panonies graze on the damp grasses and underbrush along an old road. And sure enough, about 25 minutes later....
... Amber came banging and clanging up the road. The horses heard her before I did, and boy were they happy!!!! So we untacked our tired panonies, offered them water from the trailer, loaded them up, and headed for home.
The only problem was that we did not have cell phone service for another 50 minutes, and it was now around 5:00. We were both hoping that Brad wasn't completely panicking, and that he hadn't alerted Kevin-my hubby-yet. Once we got back into town, I immediately called Kevin, who asked "Where are you???" and I told him, "We just passed the golf course."
He then said he needed to hang up and call a couple of my family members, because they were on their way up to see if we had made it back to the trailer yet. Long story short...we made it home safe, and in one piece....I must admit that I had a healthy respect for the wilderness before, but I really respect it now.
I am not riding out on trails unknown-trails that take you into a national forest-without sitting down and mapping a course out first. I will also be taking a compass, a knife, flint, and a first aid kit.
Now that we have ridden this magnificent trail, we will definitely have to do it again, but next time it will be planned!!! LOL!!!!
PS-All in all we rode the horses and walked/hiked around 13 miles that day. So much for a "quick loop," eh???? We also started out around 2100 feet in elevation and was about 5600 feet by the time we were at the highest peak/ridge. No wonder we were tired!!!!