We started from the Coyote Meadow Trailhead and rode about 9 miles to Hidden Corral Basin. Large sections of that trail followed that river and were flat and smooth -- great for gaiting and loping. It took us a bit over 1.5 hours to cover that 9 mile section.
Instead of returning the way we had come, we opted to make a loop back to the trailer. This meant climbing. A lot of climbing. We went from 7000 some feet in elevation to 10000 feet in about 3.5 miles. That is really steep, folks!
Where the horses weren't ice-skating across sheets of granite (very slippery for horse shoes!), they were literally sliding backwards in the mud or shale. In some places, this was happening on the edge of a cliff. Once above the tree-line, the trail became so faint in places that it was guess work to find it again. It took us about 2.5 hours to climb to the top of the ridge.
Kid 1 and I opted to get off and hike the worst sections of the trail, including one where I had to bend over double and use my hands to make it up the steep incline. You won't be seeing us in any The Man from Snowy River remakes!
If that wasn't bad enough, once we were on the ridge, we could see thunderstorms rolling in from across the Snake River Valley. Watching a lightning storm moving towards you when you are above the tree-line at 10000 feet is a bit nerve wracking. The trail was so extreme, we couldn't even pick up the pace very much. Thankfully, no stray bolts came our way. We were even able to get below the tree-line before we got dumped on. BTW-riding helmets are real handy when you are getting hailed on.
By the time we got back to the trailer, Kid 1 was shaking so bad from being chilled, I had her go warm up in the truck and I loaded Raven for her. She says that other than banging her broken toe on some rocks, and being terrified of the lightning, and being horrified by the treacherous trail, and nearly freezing to death; it was a really awesome ride!
I think I'll take Stable Boy on it one of these days.