The Celebration Park fun ride was cancelled over the weekend due to pending storms and high winds. Janine, being retired from the US Postal service, was not about to let a little rain, nor sleet, nor gloom of ominous winds stop her.  As for me, well, I guess I’m just stubborn. I’ve been called the “Hell or high water girl.” Once my mind is set on something, I’m going to do it come hell or high water. Janine and I loaded our animals, campers and a healthy dose of stubbornness, and headed to Jump Creek to try and get a ride in before the storm hit.

The plan was to meet at Jump Creek at noon on Friday. We would check out the area for the upcoming fun ride in March. Later, we would head for Celebration Park and camp for the night. If the weatherman happened to be wrong, we would ride Celebration Park on Saturday. Ride or not, it would give us both a chance to get the wrinkles ironed out of our campers before the upcoming projects season.

We parked in the large graveled area next to the trailhead designated for horseback riding. We chose a trail that looked like it might wind around toward scenic Jump Creek Falls. The trail was faint and almost non-existent in many spots, in others, it disappeared altogether. At times, neither Janine nor I could tell if we were actually on a trail. We opted to follow along a creek bottom that wound its way up a narrow gorge. The further we rode the more convinced we became that this might not be the best route for our group’s fun ride in March.  We turned around in search of a different route. We chose an ATV/jeep road that starts at the bottom of the sage covered hills just west from where we parked. The route looked more rider- friendly. Pointing our horses due west – we set out to explore this new course.

The road follows the lay of rolling hills that peak out at scenic vista’s and overlooks of ornate rock formations. The road splits off in several different directions. We split off left in hopes the trail would lead toward Jump Creek Falls. The route we took did indeed intersect a hiking trail that looped back to the falls. One particular spot in the trail did not look entirely kosher for horse traffic. We weren’t even sure if horses were allowed on this part of the trail. Deciding against the risk, we cut down the side of the mountain to avoid breaking any park rules or equine ankles.

Janine waited at the bottom while I continued to descend. Three-fourths of the way down my saddle had slipped enough forward that I was sitting entirely on my horse’s neck. I slid off and led the rest of the way down. Mental note to self: invest in crupper.

 We rode the horses to water at a spot accessible from within the camping area. On the way out, we noticed we were being filmed. The gentleman filmographer was quite taken by Janine’s paint horse, One Shot. I believe he was also quite taken by Janine as he made several efforts at small talk directed toward her as we made our way back to the trailers. As we began to un-tack, Janine’s personal paparazzi made his way over in a large, extended cab diesel.

 It turns out the retired DEA agent is an avid subscriber and was putting together a U-tube film for the site. Whether it was Janine’s paint horse, or Janine herself that caught his eye – he did provide invaluable input into the surrounding area for our fun ride in March. Had we continued straight instead of forking off to the left, we would have ended up in an area called Sands Basin, an area inhabited by a small band of mustangs.

Next stop: Celebration Park. An easy 35 mile drive from Jump Creek put us at Celebration Park. We circled our trailers around an existing fire-ring in an attempt to create a wind block. With two horses and a mule high-lined between us, we called it a night. Mother Nature, however, was just getting started.

Fierce winds blew away any hope of riding the next morning. Over a quick cup of coffee for Janine and tea for me, we discussed the best route to take the group on the March fun ride. It makes the most sense to stay on the road toward Sands Basin. The road is well marked and looks to be safe regardless of the weather. I also like the rolling terrain for spring fresh horses that might need something else to think about besides acting like they haven’t been ridden since last summer.

I bade farewell to Janine and headed for home. Other than trying to keep from being blown off the freeway, it was a great weekend. I think the group will enjoy the area.

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1 Comment

  1. Janine Townsend

    LOL! I’m pretty sure Mr DEA was most impressed by the spotted horse; and waiting to see if I might get bucked off–what better addition to an Owyhee County video than to see a cow girl get launched by a snappy spotted horse!