Endurance Riding

Feb 23 2012

Trip of a Lifetime

Published by under Endurance Riding

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I first heard about Point Reyes National Seashore from a girlfriend of mine and for the last three years, I have been trying to plan a trip there. Point Reyes was on my bucket list titled “Places I Want to Ride Before I Die.”

On Friday, February 17th, Jakob and I loaded Beauty and Asali in the horse trailer and headed off to the Country Inn and Stables in the small town of Point Reyes Station. The drive took us exactly 4 hours, and it was a beautiful drive – the 37 with its one lane views of the water, winding back country roads past black and white cows grazing on fresh green grass, and fog hiding the mysterious hilltops above.

Endurance RidingWhen we got to the Inn, we unloaded the horses and let them graze in the paddocks. After we got settled in our own room, we hit the town. Jakob and I enjoyed lunch at The Station House, a cute, casual restaurant that boasted both organic and vegetarian items on the menu. Jakob, however, ordered a junior burger and was disappointed to see that its size was actually junior.

Endurance RidingAfter lunch, Jakob and I did some damage at the local bookstore – we spent an hour in the shop, carefully choosing the books we wanted to bring home with us, including one titled The Inner World of Farm Animals. Then we picked up a few souvenirs at a market, looked around a unique toy store, and finally, spent some time in a photographer’s studio where Jakob was given a copy of his favorite black and white print.

Friday evening, my brother and his girlfriend, Natalie, drove over from Petaluma to enjoy dinner with us. We purchased some fresh produce from the only grocery store in town and cooked up a stir fry in the kitchenette at the Inn. We had not originally planned on seeing Darshan and Natalie, so it was a pleasant surprise to be able to spend time with them.

Endurance RidingOn Saturday morning, our friends and endurance partners (who I met at my very first limited distance ride last year), joined us for the rest of our trip. We met Kathryn and Madison at the Bear Valley Trail Head. While I had ridden with Kathryn and Madison before (most memorably, at the Redwood 50), this was Jakob and Beauty’s first ride with them. I was so releaved when Kathryn said, “We are all on vacation, so if someone isn’t having fun, you need to speak up. This is all about us having fun, okay?”

As we got going on the trail, we figured out that it worked best for Asali and me to lead, with Jakob and Beauty behind us, and then Kathryn and ZaZa with Madison and Tai in the back. We rode 20 miles on Saturday and I was so impressed with both Jakob and Beauty and with Madison and Tai. We experienced everything from narrow, single track trails to rocky ledges to muddy uphill climbs and tricky downhill descents. We also experienced some EXTREME wind. These were not trails or conditions for your average young rider. I remember thinking, as we were riding the cliffs overlooking the Pacific, “Our kids are rockstars.” We did stop more than once to enjoy the views and although it was so windy we could barely hear each other talk, I did hear Jakob say, as he looked out over the great ocean, on top of his big horse, “I feel so small.”

Endurance RidingEndurance RidingEndurance RidingEndurance RidingEndurance RidingSunday’s ride turned out to be the most fun I think any of us have ever had on horseback. All the horses felt great and we trotted and cantered out most of the way. We started out of Five Brooks Trailhead and rode Stewart Trail to Greenpicker to Wildcat Beach. The weather was perfect. We jumped a lot of logs out on the trail and we spent a lot of time laughing. When we got down to the beach, Jakob walked Beauty out with so much confidence, she wasn’t even phased by the roaring surf. Beauty even felt comfortable enough to try to roll in the sand – with saddle and all. We got her up, though, before she rolled on any tack.

Endurance RidingEndurance RidingEndurance RidingEndurance RidingEndurance RidingEndurance RidingEndurance RidingEndurance RidingEndurance RidingEndurance RidingEndurance RidingOn Sunday night, Kathryn treated us to a wonderful dinner at a local restaurant where wood-fired pizzas were the specialty. We reminisced about our rides over the last two days and talked about the upcoming endurance ride season. We spent more time laughing and I took photos of all the food we ate, as well as a shot of the cook flipping a pizza.

Endurance Riding

Endurance RidingOn Monday morning, as Jakob and I were driving home, I couldn’t help but smile. We were both sad the trip was over (Jakob commented on how fast the weekend went by), but I felt so blessed. Just a few years ago, I was in a very different place in my life. It was a rough road and a lot of hard work to get our family to where we are now, but that makes me appreciate everything we have even more. As Jake and I were saying good-bye to Kathryn and Madison, I looked at Kathyrn and said, “We have a good life.” She smiled in agreement.

5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Trip of a Lifetime”

  1. Teresa Straubon 24 Feb 2012 at 8:38 am

    Great trip, but I disapprove of the title. ‘Trip of a lifetime’ makes it sound like you don’t plan to go back. Go back, often!

  2. JayaMaeon 24 Feb 2012 at 9:07 am

    Lol, T. Trust me, we WILL go back! Jakob has already been asking when we’re going again… and we haven’t even been home a week! Something tells me Point Reyes will become a tradition – and we will have the pleasure of re-living our “Trip of a Lifetime” over and over again!

  3. Sheri Braunon 25 Feb 2012 at 6:08 pm

    Wish I was with you… taking in the ocean and running like the wind 🙂 How cool Jakob! You are quite the “Horseman.”

  4. JayaMaeon 28 Feb 2012 at 10:25 am

    Sheri, Maybe you can join us on our next Point Reyes trip? And Teresa too – I’d love to plan another trip with a big group. 🙂

    P.S. Kathryn and I took so many photos from this trip… more are posted at:


  5. Sharon Auntieon 07 Mar 2012 at 7:10 am

    Yes, you are absolutely correct, you are one lucky young lady to have the opportunity and the experience to ride the weekend with your son and good friends. Sounds like this is something you both will remember forever!

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