It’s been two weeks since my last blog post – oops! Today I was several paragraphs into a post before I realized that I needed to catch you all up on some recent events in order for what I was writing to make sense! S0 – a brief recap of the highlights of the past two weeks seems in order. Colfax, Lousiana was a wonderful surprise. I camped out at a pavilion in the park and the Rough Riders trail riding group came out with burgers and a campfire. We had a great time swapping stories and hanging out and then at 9:30pm (which I’d mentioned is my current bedtime) everybody miraculously disappeared! Coffee and an egg sandwich arrived in the morning and then I was on my way. Two days later a man from that group came to my rescue when I found myself still riding along a lonely road after dark (and a storm on the way). GC came with a trailer and brought me back 6 miles to a camp in Fishville along the creek where I set up my tent in the dark. Graze for the ponies and an offer of a run to the store for provisions (And a guided tour of the confusing back-road short-cut the next day) were so over the top! I camped for two days, the tent weathered the storm beautifully, I was serenaded by frogs, hoot owls and wolves – what an unexpected treat.
In Nebo I was welcomed in, fed and freshened up – and the next day invited to the K-8 school to speak with the kids there. Another great experience, new friends and an invitation to a K-9 search and rescue dinner if I was still around at the weekend. On to the Daily’s ranch on the recommendation of no less than three people And a call with a personal invitation. That invite turned out to be a God-send. I arrived Thursday afternoon and that night there was a knock on the door of the bunkhouse. Katie Cooper had arrived! Turns out we get along just as well in person as we did on the ‘phone and via e-mails. That’s a very good thing as we’re hoping to travel together from here to Louisville, KY where she’ll peel off and head for Kansas City and then back to Tucson, AZ while I continue on to Minot, Maine. Katie’s blog is: www.muletriptalk.blogspot.com
Katie spent the weekend looking for a mule to ride and Sunday morning a sweet molly mule named Ruth was delivered to the ranch. All seemed good and Ruth joined the herd. That afternoon we were treated to a performance by the Daily family -> Wild Horse Ministries. They loaded up two riding horses, a round pen and a bunch of gear and arrived at a church in Bentley where two young horses were waiting in a trailer. The 3 year olds were complete unknowns, not even halter broke yet. Two hours later they were carrying riders around the pen having been used as an on-the-hoof sermon illustration. Wonderful to witness the transformation. www.wildhorseministries.com if you’re curious!
Monday Katie returned the car she’d arrived in, got a Coggins test pulled at the vet so we’d be legal to cross the Mississippi, we packed up and rode out. The new mule did well and it was fun having somebody to ride with again. Tuesday I got to see an alligator at the Catahoula Wildlife Reserve (from the safety of a car) and my fears are much relieved by the reminder that, like most wild creatures, it wasn’t all that keen on human contact and didn’t hang around very long once I got out of the car and tried to take a photo.
This morning a mule farrier came out to put hind shoes on the new mule and we got some bad news. Her hooves aren’t up to what we’re asking of her and she’s going to have to go home again. This is very sad as she was a lovely creature and doing so well in every other way And it puts us in the position of needing to find another mount for Katie. She’s looking for a mule or a horse, around 14 hands (pony size), sound and sane and road safe and ready to travel. We’re staying with a family that’s being super helpful, but if any of you have any good leads please be in touch!