Saturday, November 14th, 2009: The Annual Hut ride (+ engagement celebration)! Mateo hosts the yearly late-fall/early-winter ride, usually in the loveliest cold and snowy weather, always to end up back in the Hut, eating and drinking and laughing our souls silly. This year lived up to our cold and snowy dreams of succulent BuffCreek singletrack.
John, Mateo, Me, Ez, Chris, Chad, Erik and Maddie, Steevie -- and Ed, my starling, took the pic -- and all pix in this post.
This year we flew UpHigh and OverYonder and back again. However, despite flying, we somehow managed to stay out in 30 degree (and snowing) temps for almost 5 hours. How on earth did that happen? We managed that by accidentally skipping from one Magical Universe to another -- taking our darn sweet time between each. All in all, I think we managed to inhabit 9 different worlds of Enchantment.
9 Worlds of Enchantment:
1.) Pre-Game Special Trail.
9 ponies strong, all linked together, inches from tail-tire to front-tire, the pebbly, red dirt-earth crackled underneath, stones tinging the down tubes. Fog loomed heavy in the tops of the gray-green pines, I could hear our hearts all a-twitter, with the beat-beat-beat ricocheting off the rocks and trees as we meandered up and over the ridge line. We entered the magical universe of the day though this doorway.
A few Pony and Rider blasted up IndianSummerClimb without wait. A few lingered behind to snap-shot Ice Flowers in the red sand. Ez and I dug in and held a steady pace, trusting the nature of the terrain, following our bliss through the tall, wet, golden grass, sticking faithfully to the red ribbon of trail that unfolded beneath our tires. Steady pace, steady talk. The Summer Climb spirits gave us wings as we rose up, and up, and up to meet the line of frozen fog, awaiting us up in the trees far above.
3.) Upper Rim Coaster Trail:
The Upper Rim Coaster Trail boasts beastly boulders and tall-fallen timbers ... pebbly corners and roller-bliss to the SSers heart-content. Ez and I pumped the rolly s-track and followed the magic call into the high-fog and silent trees.
4.) Upper Ewok Trail:
With tight-trees whizzing by, we galloped up the perfectly fast-pitched climb. Pine needles and pebbles, streams and icy roots kept the dance lively. Upper Ewok never fails to disappoint, and it's distinctly blissful, fast-forest trees and swoopy s-track ribbon lured Ez, Chris and I to the top on a magic carpet ride.
5.) Enchanted Ice Forest:
With frozen breath, we twisted our way around the shadowy trees and tender-needled trail, hearts giggling, we were hootin' out loud! And suddenly,we emerged, in a frozen silence of delight, from the dark forest into the Great Open Enchanted Ice Forest: flying through the White-Crystalline Golden Grass scape, the the Zen Rocks, and the Black Spear-Trees. It was a whisper of a flight ... through Heaven. A Blessing.
6.) Moon Palace:
Again in our pack, our 9 Ponies galloping across the high-moon-ice-desert, smiles on fire, our warm breath billowing. We caught the beginning of the snow storm as it covered the trail and blessed us with fresh tracks. The crackle of the pebbles gave way to the crunch of crisp snow. The Pony-train flew by (Erik, Chad, Steve, Chris) and left Ez and I to chase. Ed and Mateo shot ghostly pix of the white moon-scape and chased us all down ... meeting us up at the Cloud Castles.
7.) Cloud Castles:
The Unicorns live here. And we enjoyed the magical fog as we danced upon the rocks.
8.) And Back:
We had fresh tracks the entire 15 miles back to the start. We enjoyed each section in a new, crystal-fog light. The 9-pony-train broke into pieces, as Ed and Mateo got their Camera-Shots ON. Erik had bolted to save Maddie. Chris disappeared into the fog, leaving ghost tracks for us to follow. Ez and I wheeled and dealed and rode with hearts open wide. Somewhere on the return trip, Ed and Steevie and Chad found new lines down old trails. We could hear their laughter echo through the little valleys. We all galloped through snow and ended the Pony Play a nice 5 hours later.
9.) After Party:
The Ninth Realm of Heaven on this fine day found us up at Mateo's house and Hut, with a fine, fine spread of food and wine ... and CUPCAKES!!!!!
A HUGE thanks goes out to our hosts and hostess, Mateo and Kim! Thank so much for your fun and games and love!