We all say we will never come back, but we all know that a small part of us will be left in Estes Park, in this bunk house, in this barn, with these horses, in the memories we've made here.
As the summer starts to come to a close we are all rushing to do all of the things we brushed off in the beginning. We are talking about our plans when we get home, the people we miss, and the little things that make us think we'll never miss this place.
I keep thinking about the next ten days, they will be like every other one of the summer. Long, grueling, and full of repetition. These days will be the last we will spend at this place and I want to live everyone up.
I got to spend a Saturday at Glacier...that was nothing like I expected. Got there around 7:30, was on Boxer by 8:30 and wasn't off until 4:30. It was an interesting day. After following instructions from a post card, I came back 30 minutes early from a two hour and was immediately sent out on a three hour, led by the 11 year old. Finally got back, grab snacks and get sent out on another three hour. At the end of the day, which lasted five hours less than a day at Estes, I was more sore, exhausted, irritated, and worn out than any other day this summer.
Finally we go to go on a guide ride.
For those of you that don't know...."We have a tradition here at Sombrero at the end of every Wrangler's riding season, which is about 90 days, we get to run up here on our favorite horses and hang our old boots in the tree. Because we have no lives."
We got to pick which ever horse we wanted and take them up to boot hill. There is a point on the one hour trail where some five trees are just covered in old rotting boots. This is our graveyard for all our previous wranglers. There are muck boots, kids boots, new boots, old boots, anything you can really imagine is covering just a few simple trees. Every time I pass them I wonder if my pair will stick out as much as V's at the start of the trail, or if anyone will even notice them. If my boots will still be there in a year, two years, ten years, or will they disappear and not matter like all the other boots that hang in the trees for dear life, living out their last moments as entertainment for guests.
So last week right before Gina left, we did a guide ride. I rode my main man, Black Jack, and discovered he has a completely adorable dressage prance. I had an amazing time riding him and I think that was one of the few moments this summer where we all finally took a breath. Everyone was on the most ridiculous horse that you could imagine and there wasn't a moment that we weren't all having fun, laughing, and enjoying every moment. I could have used a few more of those this summer.
In addition to a boot hill ride, we had a few water trough tosses. We have another tradition here, we're all about those, where you get tossed into the water trough on your birthday. Or really whenever the boys are feeling adventurous, which happened a lot this week. Three of us went in, though I am proud to say, they may have won the war, but I won every battle in between. It took a solid ten minutes of struggle, three lead ropes, and three boys to get me in, boots and all.
|Me and Black Jack!!! :)|
As much as I am irritated with this job, the constant flow of people and the situations we've had to deal with, I realize more and more how much I'm going to miss everyone. It isn't as hard as last summer, but I know I will miss this place. This is home, we are the island of misfit toys. These small bunkhouses hold some twenty kids who have NO IDEA where the road is going to take them. "Three months from now, after college, shoot, I don't even know what I'm doing tomorrow." We have no big plans, other than to live every moment as if it was our last, to pretend we're going to keep in touch, miss this place with everything we have, and love every second we have left. I've said it before and I'll say it again, we're a family here, a messed up, dysfunctional family, but a family none the less. We love and hate each other at any given time, but we have each others backs and we're always willing to pick each other up when we fall, which happens a lot around here.
Though I've done this job before and I spent many moments of this summer hating my life. I would not have changed anything about this summer for the world. I've done a million things I never thought I would and it's been everything and that much more.
The countdown has turned from double digits to "the last time" for everything....who would have ever imagined this summer would fly by like it did?
I know I didn't!!!!