Trail rides are a great way to enjoy horseback riding. Especially if you don’t have time, money or facilities to own your own horse. Well kept grounds and large paddocks characterize Jackson Stables. Uniquely located in the YMCA camp complex in Estes Park, CO and right outside Rocky Mountain National Park, it is an ideal spot to begin a trail ride. Confident, well-trained guides pair visitors with well groomed, stout and healthy looking horses. Each with a unique personality and good temperament.
Our guide, Liz, was a friend of my daughter from college, who was working at the stables for the summer. Guests can ride, rain or shine. As a matter of fact, guides are trained to deal with the frequent summer storms. Additionally, horses carry rain slickers for guests. Moreover, several areas are earmarked for waiting out inclement weather. Apparently, the horses are used to such situations. Liz told us that they rarely have a problem during the storms.
My daughter’s ride was Otis, a stunning black and white paint, for the more experienced rider. Not only do horses pick up on nervousness and inexperience but some will also see how much they can get away with. Of course, Otis picked up on her confidence and performed flawlessly.
Likewise, Yak drew Dallas, a slow, deliberate buckskin. His only mischief was grabbing mouthfuls of the tall grass growing alongside the trail.
In contrast, my mount was John. John was in much more of a hurry than anyone else. Apparently, our trail ride interrupted his break. While the first half of the trail was fine, John seemed to sense when I got tired. As a result, he decided to have a little fun with me. Almost before my legs got tired of holding on, seems like his trot became more like a bouncy room. With no padding. After a few trots, John and I came to a compromise and I was able to survive the rest of the ride. I definitely need to ride more often.
For the most part we enjoyed partial cloud cover and temps in the mid-seventies. The trail through Rocky Mountain National Park winds through pine and aspen groves, past streams and waterfalls and along some spectacular view points.
Although Jackson Stables is located in the YMCA camp, YMCA membership is not necessary to use the facilities. The 2-hour ride is $55 per person. They accept credit cards. Tip the guide with cash.
Jackson Stables, Inc.
YMCA of the Rockies Livery
Allen and Julie Jackson, Owners
PO Box 20549
Estes Park, CO 80511
(Nov.1 – March 3)
At the Amish Auction, there are many, well, Amish people. Dressed in Amish clothes, believe it or not. As a modest dress fashionista – is that possible? I am fascinated with examining the Amish costume. I admire the talent these women possess, to sew clothes for their entire families.
Many are color coordinated, obviously sewn from an entire bolt of the same cloth. The colors are muted, but beautiful. The styling is loose and flowing, full coverage and yet pleasing to the eye. The prayer kapps are pure white or black and stiffly starched. Straw hats for nearly all the men, though one or two winter black hats are in evidence. I marvel at the women and children who can walk and run around on these sticker and gravel strewn fields bare footed. I remember as a child walking around on hot asphalt and cement, barefoot, all summer. We even had contests to see who could tolerate the hot black asphalt on their bare feet the longest. I guess we must have had some pretty tough soles back then. I have tried going barefoot at the Homestead – much the same landscape with stickers and gravel and rocks – but do not seem to have the stamina, or desire to toughen up my feet these days. Some of the women and children are wearing shoes and hose, but most are barefoot. This goes a long way toward conserving the shoes and stockings for the colder months.
Another Amish event here, which is open to the community, are their benefit dinners. The Amish do not participate in government programs such as social security or medicare and now, mandatory insurance. But they do pay their taxes and they help their own with medical bills. Several times a summer, the Amish community will hold benefit dinners, with homemade Amish food, to help raise funds to pay medical bills for one of their members who may be having a hard time. There is no suggested donation, so it is left to each one’s heart to help out as they can. I don’t think anyone is refused a meal, yet there always seem to be a good amount of funds raised. These dinners are followed by a quilt auction. Frequently including the other same small items as the community auction – hand woven rugs, kitchen sets and handmade baskets. There are also usually baked goods for sale.
If you go to the Amish auction or benefit dinner, bring cash. The auction may take credit cards for auction items, I don’t know, call and check. But the Amish, themselves, only take cash (maybe checks but I bring cash just to be safe). You’ll get some great tasting, homemade food and quality, handmade goods and you will also be helping out some hard working folks who believe in sustainable, off grid living and community.
One of the things I enjoy most in Southern Colorado, is going to the local Amish auctions. There are several during the summer months. They are actually consignment auctions, open to the entire community, like one big garage sale. You can bring your stuff and they will auction it off for a commission. A professional auctioneer is hired, but the event is held at an Amish owned business and run by the Amish. These auctions are fundraisers for the Amish community. They use the monies raised to support their schools and to help one another pay their medical bills, as they do not participate in federal programs.
Outside you can find tools, parts, equipment, hay, appliances including woodstoves, wood cook stoves and old fashioned washing machines. Under the tent is usually Amish made furniture and tack, new tools, a few young chickens and rabbits, fire arms, and miscellaneous items. Inside the warehouse is my favorite. Donuts, pies, breads, sticky buns and fry pies homemade and sold by Amish women. Also a variety of sandwiches, chicken, drinks and homemade ice cream.
Then there is the quilt auction. Amish quilts have a very well deserved reputation for being of high quality and quite beautiful. I have examined the stitching and found it to be, indeed, hand done. At least the quilting part. There are also many smaller items being auctioned off – potholder and kitchen towel sets, handmade baskets, woven rugs. Quilts are not just available from the local Amish communities. A few are also sent down from communities in Canada and other parts of the midwest.
This location has a pond out back and the horses and buggies are usually parked by the pond. The horses stand patiently, tied to the fence and seemingly having their own social hour or gossip session. If it is possible that Amish horses gossip. The buggies are simple, black and well maintained. Clean, if not for the blowing dust of the parking area. On this particular day, a small wagon filled with small Amish boys and pulled by a small pony is making its rounds of the outdoor yard sale area. One boy holds up a sign – perhaps this pony and cart are also going on the block? It looks like they are having a great time, anyway.
Those of us who are not Amish also enjoy the social aspect of the auction. Friends and neighbors stop to visit and see what everyone has to offer. Even here in Small Town America, sometimes we get too busy to catch up with each other until we find ourselves at an event such as this. Fortunately, many of the small towns in the area have goings-on during the summer, so that one could be busy, virtually every weekend until fall. There are rodeos, founders/pioneer days, county fairs, classic car shows, farmers markets and music and art festivals. Also many outdoor concerts. Sometimes they get rained out, but here in the San Luis Valley, the precipitation is rather low, so there is usually something to do nearly every weekend.
A series of storms has been blowing through the homestead, keeping us cold and wet. We have to bring in enough wood to make sure it’s dry by the time we need to put it in the stove. Gusty winds have necessitated hanging the laundry inside to dry. We came up with a system that works pretty good. Mrs. D got a couple grids used to hang things for craft shows and she hangs them over the doors, hangs hangers on them and hangs up the clothes. Smaller items are clothespinned to the hangers.
We awoke to 3 inches of snow this morning, so are very glad that we emptied the 5 gallon bucket rainwater collection system into the tanks yesterday. However, we had let them sit for several days, and they all had about an inch of ice on top! So we broke up the ice, poured the water into the tanks and reset the buckets. The ice was collected into another bucket and set indoors to melt and then be added to the rest.
And speaking of frozen water, the hose was also frozen. Usually it thaws by midday, but yesterday we had to carry buckets of water to the horses and goats and chickens, etc. and that was after breaking up the ice in their water buckets. Makes Mrs. D glad she doesn’t have to carry it up from the creek!
Yesterday we made Lavender Tea Tree goats milk soap, and packaged up the lotion bars we made on Saturday. Maryruth made her fabulous Vegan Vanilla Castille soap and Jersey Cream Oatmeal and Honey soap. We also made some quilting scrap soap bags, for soap ends, lotion bars and other doodads. Click on the link to Mrs. D’s Homestead for more info on our fabulous soap and lotion product.
Handmade Soaps and Lotions; Simple Living, Slow Travel; Homeschooling, Roadschooling