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newman family’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 05 Jun 2012

Location: Alpine, Arizona, USA

MapDay 3 (well, technically) at the Beaver Creek Ranch. After a hearty breakfast, we headed out to the corral where we were matched with "our" horses. We took a long, long, long trail ride with our wranglers, Billy, Steven and Rett. (there are several other wranglers here that have helped us -- many of them are high school kids who come for the summer and help out at the ranch. We just met one wrangler who just arrived today from Germany. It is his 18th summer back here, and he just comes to get a change from his life as a documentary film maker). We took a different trail today. Today, we say lots of absolutely lovely meadows. The landscape is such an interesting contrasts between winding brooks and creeks and tall, tall pine trees. I think I mentioned yesterday that there was an enormous fire here last year. The burnt trees (which cover the entire region here) dotting the landscape make for a really amazing picture. We will have pictures and hope to even download some this week (but haven't figured out how to do this yet).

The kids are doing an amazing job on horseback (and so is Christian!). They were totally comfortable, even veering off the trail and riding along side Billy (the owner and chief of guides). Aidan in particular kept wanting to get Avanti to trot, and I think he would have taken off with the horse at a gallop if Billy had not reminded him to stay "behind the leader." Again, the ranch folks are totally amazing teachers. The kids did not want the ride to end -- oh, to be young -- Christian and I were sore in so many places about half way through the ride! We so wanted our horses to trot but it hurt so much.

After our mexican lunch (Raney is just in hog heaven with the food, all cooked by Caren, the owner), we took in the amazing surroundings and read (and napped in the case of Christian), then headed out to the rodeo corral. The kids took turns going around barrels. They improved so much since yesterday. One of the hands, lindsay, said over and over that Maggie is just plain naturally talented. (Christian and I are bracing ourselves for a new interest for Mags). Raney and Aidan both sped through the barrels with no problems at all. What a great experience for them.

(Oh, I forgot to say that at the end of the trail ride, Avanti got spooked and Aidan fell off. The wranglers were down in a flash but Aidan was fine and got right back in the saddle again.

Late afternoon, while I did a Jodie workout (if they saw me through the window, they definitely know that I am nuts), the kids and Christian hiked to a little natural cave and dug around for bones and pottery.

Tomorrow we head to the grand canyon. If I don't blog tomorrow, catch me the next day. Signing off with love....