A Desert Ride on Sunday in Grand Junction Colorado
I was called to help on Friday, this is the time of the year when
Graduation parties are flying high and weddings are all coming up so the
labor is required to pull things together. Then I cooked for the soup
kitchen on Saturday, we turned out a really nice chicken enchilada meal
complete with pasole and refrieds! So Sunday rolls and the weather is
great what to do? The whole family is home and we know the desert floor
will be blooming and a small creature called a collard lizard will be
out for the spring routine!
So load yourself up and ride along as we drop down into Devils Canyon at
the end of Horse Thief Canyon.
This is the area we will be exploring today. The vast high altitude
My wife follows behind on the dunn horse. She does not get in a hurry to
go anywhere. She is the only one of us that is not hyperactive!
The rest of the group follows, first my son taking his recently broke
mare out on the trail for her first ride outside the training pens,
Then my daughter and I, I am riding her trail horse, she is actually on
her show horse. She thought it needed to get out and have a look at the
real world. The whole time the horse kept looking around for the judges!
So off to ride the trail. You here talk of relieving stress and
unwinding. This is how I do that, it is among the most relaxing things I
can think to do when I don't have to work or don't have things to do
around the house.
And when you see the views of the high desert it is not hard to
understand why this area has that effect on you.
The upper end of one box canyon shows the years and years of
stratification caused when the area was the bottom of an ancient sea
The cuts and pock marks and smooth surfaces make you wonder what
happened when all this was underwater and started to push up.
Along the way you run into features that man took advantage of and used
for convenience or shelter. Here a natural cave had some brick hauled in
years before this was a recreation area and was walled up to house or
shelter supplies and provisions. Perhaps and early diner? Probably not,
no ansul system that I could locate.
As we move along about every 100 feet or so you find more cactus out
croppings there are yellow and red and pink. Of course my daughter only
photographed the pink ones.
This time of the year the desert floor plays host to a colorful lizard
population. My son finds these creature interesting and got off to
photograph a bunch of them. So the three of us wait as he runs to
photograph the cold blood creatures. I am holding his horse but you can
not really make it out in the picture.
These are photos of the male collard lizard.
These are pictures of the female
He gets pretty close to them when he is photographing them. His mother
worries they will bite him. I hope for the lizard to take such action!
In the end his new trail horse did well. No real blow ups, no bucking,
just a little crap from time to time but it was all new to her. She will
have the pack saddles added to her next, that usually results in a blow
up or two. But if the diamond hitches are tied true there will be no
gear lost and she will find her place among our hunting pack string. And
with the muscle this one carries she should carry half an elk out in one
We finished up with one of my favorites, so simple, so easy, and great
tasting. Hotdogs, potato salad and chips. Of course we had to have all
beef hotdogs with mustard, but it was very good after riding all
If you have not just gone outdoors on one of your days off, grab up some
people you like and roast some hotdogs at the local park! It does the
mind a world of good to unwind.
Til we ride together again, have a picnic, you will love it!
Chef Bob Ballantyne
The Cowboy and The Rose Catering
Grand Junction, Colorado