Rough Trail Ride

Bryce Angell – The outdoors has always been a large part of my life. My father was an outfitter and guide for 35 years and I was there to shoe and care for the horses and help him do the cooking. We took many great trips into the Yellowstone area. Even now that I’m older, we still ride into the Tetons, Yellowstone and surrounding areas. My poems are mostly of personal experience. I am now retired and enjoying life to the fullest. I plan to do more riding and writing.

The ringer on my telephone went off at 4 a.m. I crawled out of my sleeping bag and joined the other men.

I shoveled down one hotcake and two slightly burned fried eggs, while the younger riders gobbled down enough to fill both legs.

The anxious cowboys saddled up and looked around for me. They threw the saddle on my horse and cinched it to the tee.

Before we set the seat, one humble cowboy offered prayer. He asked for safety for us all from the One who lives up there.

We hit the trail at six o’clock, just light enough for some. One cowboy said, “We’re crazy ’cuz the rain is sure to come.”

We rode for miles near river’s edge. The trail was mostly flat. But then the trail turned steeper than the “Crown of Jasper’s hat.”

The horses climbed at increments, then rested for a while. We’d climbed a thousand feet on a narrow goat trail’s final mile.

We took a lunch break, up on top, and gave the horses rest. Then contemplated getting down, which trail would be the best.

A storm was moving in. It looked like rain and hail to boot. So we chose a trail that looked like it would be our safest route.

I swear it took us hours to get off the mountainside. One horse and rider took a roll. Both lost a chunk of hide.

The trail was steep and dusty, yet the horses saved the day. And the rainstorm didn’t pour, just settled dust along the way.

We finally reached the bottom, then the rain began to pour. Each cowboy donned his slicker that he’d worn from storms before.

Ya gotta stop and wonder ‘bout the cowboy’s humble prayer. Was someone watching over us? I’d say that’s more than fair.

                                                            –Bryce Angell

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