Horseback in the High CountryApr 21, 2023
3 days each week for 12 summer weeks, we at Earth Sheep Farms get to experience the bliss, joy, elation, hardship, danger, and excitement of riding horseback over miles and miles of high country trails in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, packing groceries, sheep salt, and other supplies on mules and horses in what we call a “mule train” or “pack string” up to two sheep camps, herders, guard dogs, and healthy growing lambs and ewes (baby and momma sheep).
Nothing compares to this experience! It is truly one-of-a-kind. Elevation ranges from 9000 feet to 13,000 feet. Initially, the high altitude and thin air make my skin start to feel the warm sun, requiring sunscreen and water. I sit comfortably in my western saddle as my horse shows his strength and endurance as he faithfully carries me up the sometimes-rocky and steep trail as I lead the pack string onward and upward towards sheep camp, sometimes many miles and hours away.
At the highest altitudes, even a cloud covering the sun can send a cold chill up my spine and through my body. The wind picks up and causes me to untie a warm jacket from my saddle and don it quickly as I ride on. Weather can change in an instant, being warm and comfortable at one point, and cold and wet the next.
Majestic views on top of my calm, strong, and steady horse on top of the Rocky Mountains is heaven on earth.