Her Ladyship

Notes from the gutter.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Yellowstone, part deux

Part the first. So, a loaded Corona. We spent quite a lot of time at Strozzi's, a magnificent place that had pizza on one side and a bar on the other. The pizza was terrific- on par with this place in my hometown that unfathomably went out of business maybe a decade ago and which my family still mourns. Plus, if you were sitting at the bar, they'd bring the pizza to you.

While awaiting our second, or possibly third pizza (seriously, we even bought a pizza for the road. It made it as far as Albuquerque), we were admiring the bar's beer collection. For such a small bar, they had a really good collection of microbrews and international beers. I asked the bartender what her favorite was, and she let me in on a very fabulous drink. You take a Corona, gulp down a big swig of it, then pour in a shot of Absolut Citron. Shake it around a bit, being sure that your thumb is covering the top entirely (hard to do a few Coronas in - I speak from experience), and you got yourself a refreshing summer drink. She sternly warned us that it had to be Corona, and she's right. It just doesn't taste right otherwise. Enjoy!

Part the second: The trail ride. Oh, the trail ride. We'd decided back when we were first planning this trip that a horse ride through Yellowstone would be fun, since we've been taking lessons and are reasonably comfortable on horses now. I did some research and found out that there are very few companies licensed to take people on horseback through Yellowstone (which makes sense, you don't want them clomping all over everywhere), and that even fewer companies were open in early June. Apparently the season doesn't start until mid-June, largely because the park is still defrosting from the winter. So choosing a company was fairly easy.

We had the choice between a four- and an eight-hour ride. Thank [insert deity of choice here] we did the four-hour ride, because I think I would've lost my already feeble grasp of sanity if I'd done the eight.

It started off okay. We met up with our trailguides - all women, which was pretty cool - with the other riders. Five out of eight had never been on the back of a horse before, three of us had taken a few lessons. All of us were green - the horses included, unfortunately. They had just started their trail rides a week before and the horses I think were still working through all the bad habits they'd picked up in the off-season.

I was given the alpha horse for the entire pack, a black horse named Widow who liked to rear up on his hind legs if you pulled back on his reins too hard. Perfect for a newbie rider, right? But I figured that they were used to dealing with the public and of course wouldn't send people out on horses that weren't placid. Ha. Hahaha. Ahem. Allow me to say this: when I first heard my horse's name, I thought, "Widowmaker? What kind of name of a horse is that?" Then I thought, "Don't project, he's probably a lovely horse." He was not - he was determined to do what he wanted to do, including trotting downhill (trailhorses are supposed to walk the whole time and allow you to focus on appreciating the scenery, not remaining on the horse). And one of the guides slipped up and called him "Widowmaker." I was all, a-HA! The Texan wasn't much better off - his was Diego, but should've been called Diablo.

The fours hours were interminable. My ass went numb about half-way through and never got better. I was so pissed and frustrated, I was tempted to get off the horse and walk back, but my legs were cramping and I wasn't sure I could make it. The nadir was right at the very end. I could see the beginning of the trailhead and was so close I could taste it. Then Widowmaker trotted down a hill, and went faster...and faster...and faster. Finally, I screamed, "JESUS CHRIST THIS GODDAMNED FUCKING HORSE WILL NOT STOP RUNNING!" Unfortunately, that was right when a family of hikers was passing by. In four hours, we only saw two groups of hikers, and that was one of them. Oh well, guess Yellowstone turned out to be more educational than the parents had anticipated.


With that, I'll be signing off for a week. The Texan and I are heading out to Berlin. I had to go there for work, and since he's on summer break, he was able to come too. I am very excited, as I've never been to Germany, much less Berlin. Auf weidersehn! (sp, I know. I never took German)


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