Posted by: highmountainmuse | September 10, 2009


Far from home:  Yesterday, my horses on top of the mountain.

Far from home: Yesterday, my horses on top of the mountain.

Today a tin cup sky hangs heavy over the mountain, leaden and weighty and every shade of grey, pouring forth its burden of rain and hail.  In the high country, I imagine this would be snow.  But me, I am safe and warm.  I sit by the woodstove, with my husband at my side and dog by my feet.  I am home.

Sometimes, just sometimes, we make rash decisions… and they prove to be good ones. 

Yesterday afternoon I sat by the camp I had just set up, with my horses grazing on lush tall grass nearby. It was a camp I had been to many times, only a few hours into the Wilderness from home. The adventure was over.  The challenge, the newness, the unexpected was over.  It was, almost, comfortable.

The panniers were unloaded, tent set up, firewood gathered.  I sat on a log by the little fire pit and was getting ready to start a small flame.  It was early still, about a quarter to four.  This is the time I had arrived at a camp site the past two evenings after a long day on the trail, still awaiting the work of tending the horses and setting camp in a new location, a new home for the night for me and my two four legged companions.  Ah… so now I had a long evening of free time ahead of me.  Vacation?  That’s not why I was there.  Adventure.  A challenge.  To prove to myself I could do it.  To push myself and find what matters most to me.

Free time is not what matters most. 

My husband?  Yes. A partner who allows and supports one to bloom and grow and at times fly free only to welcome your return with open arms. 

My son?  Oh yes!  And Forrest was to be heading out to hunting camp before my scheduled return.  A last minute decision, a chance to work for a friend and outfitter, Forrest was pleased with the opportunity, but displeased with the timing that he’d have to head out without a chance to see me first… This complication meant that with my planned Thursday return home, Friday I’d have saddle up and ride horseback another five hours out to hunting camp and back just for a brief occasion to see my son. Of course I would do it, but there’s work to do on the ranch… another day off?

So what is important to me?  My boys.  My animals.  Nature. Wild things. My independence.  And finding the balance that works best to juggle it all.  Making compromises at times and being willing to push myself beyond my comfort level at other times in order to best achieve this precarious balance. It doesn’t always work.  But I have to try.  And so… this leads me to that part about rash decisions…

As I sat there staring far away into the still unlit fire, I decided to pack it all up and hit the trail home.  If I took down camp, packed back up, resaddled,  rode fast enough along the nine miles of Wilderness trail, and if all actually went well, I’d be home before it was pitch black.

And so it was. With just a little light left in the sky, me and my horses crossed the mighty Rio Grande, climbed back up the bluff on our ranch and returned home. 

My boys were reminded of how important they are to me.  My dog was relieved to have me back by his side (May I add here that, for me, camping without a canine companion is just not right!).  My horses were grateful to be back on their home turf with their herd.  And me, well, I had my adventure. I learned what I needed to learn.  I saw such beauty (I can’t wait to share a part of that with you next).  And I got the feeling, or perhaps the reminder, that we really can do almost anything we want.  We are strong in body and mind. We learn to move ourselves forward with whatever we have, what ever our strengths and overcome weaknesses may be. We may get tired and sore, but we can push ourselves and get there.  Where ever “there” may be.  Even if its home…

Most important, I suppose, in this short but rather special solo journey, I reminded myself of something that’s always been essential to me: I don’t want a list. I want a life. 

My horses grazing after a long days ride at the most beautiful home away from home I know:  Starvation Gulch

My horses grazing after a long days ride at the most beautiful home away from home I know: Starvation Gulch



  1. Congratulations, Gin. What a wonderful adventure! You’re so good at finding the right balance…

  2. I’m glad you are back safe and sound Gin. We all need times like this. I hope you found some of what your searching for. My Becca headed home early too. She didn’t get to see her Great White, but she has the adventure to tell about.

  3. Sometimes what you long for so much in life is right there beside you and you don’t even know it. I’m glad you’re home too. You do have alot of balls Gin.

  4. Lee – I’m glad to hear from you – been thinking of you and your family, kind of hoping your folks would just ride in the front gate one of these days and want to share a day on the mountain… still hoping it might happen…

    And Diane – I’ll need to check in on your blog to read more, but I’m just thinking about your Becca and what we all so often hear: it’s the destination which matters, but the journey itself. She may have been looking for one thing in particular, but bet she found plenty else unexpected. I look forward to hearing of her adventure!

  5. Nicely worded, Lisa! Thank you! 🙂

  6. I am glad your back .Sometimes you need your time alone .As i have said before my perfect time alone ads up to three . I never could count . Me my wife and dog .Sitting across from each other with only a campfire between is as alone as i wanted . A smile and a kiss blown across the fire was as good as it gets .everyone needs there time in there own way .your family will give you yours because they love you .I will never have mine again .Just memorys . I am looking forward to your stories .Glad your back

  7. so glad you’re back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    : )

    missed you.

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