For our final morning, we woke up early, had breakfast, and packed up to go. This included bagging all of our horses' manure and hauling it to the dumpster in the main part of camp. A really annoying aspect of this campground that we were not prepared for. I will bring some larger, heavy duty trash bags in the future.
While we were having breakfast, this gorgeous mule deer buck circled our camp. He was really close to us and I think he was checking us out, because he did a full circle of just our area even going maybe 20 feet out from our fire.
Then we went to hitch up and found that Shasta had, at some point, smashed the handle on the trailer hitch and we couldn't raise it up to back the truck under it. She had also smashed the emergency break box. We pulled out the mallet we - thank cod - keep in our trailer and bashed the handle back into place. We pulled the trailer forward a few feet to test it and the emergency break had not actually been activated so we were really lucky.
We loaded the horses up and drove about 45 minutes away to a trailhead in Wawona near the southern exit. From here we rode up to the Mariposa Grove. This part of Yosemite is my absolute favorite. It's also very different from the rest of the park. Here, it's all about the trees.
The giant redwoods here are huge and awe-inspiring. They are so big that cars used to drive through them. Nowadays, they are protected from such crap, though there is one tree that people are allowed to walk through.
|National Parks Service|
There's even one tree, The Fallen Monarch, that soldiers used to ride their horses onto and pose for pictures:
I have been wanting to ride my horse here for years. So we had to make it happen even though it was a brutal ride. Although shorter than our other rides, the climb was intense. Over 2000' of elevation gain over 5 miles and then back down.
|National Parks Service|
While the trail map showed only a few trails closed to horses in the Mariposa Grove, when we got there, there was only 1 trail open to horses and it skirted the edge of the grove with no real access to the bigger, named trees. We did get to see the Fallen Tunnel Tree and the Telescope Tree. The Telescope Tree is still alive, but the center was burnt out by a fire a long time ago. You can stand inside it and look up to see the sky. It's also the tree pictured above.
We also stopped by a few "smaller," unnamed redwoods to take pictures of ourselves with them.
Seriously, these trees are so massive a horse can fit inside them. So amazing. It was still a great ride even if we couldn't get to the biggest trees. We had to head back quickly so that we could be on the road and get home. Back at the trailer, we gave them lots of water. Then we once again aced Nilla to very little effect and loaded the ponies in the trailer. We didn't get home until after 7pm. Thankfully it was the longest day of the year so we had plenty of light to unload, unhitch, and unpack.
Labels: Horse Camping, Mule Riding, Nilla, Shasta, Trail Riding