When I was about thirteen or fourteen, I decided to go on an evening ride with my cousin, Anna.
My mom dropped us off at the horses at about four – plenty of time for a little trail ride in mid summer.
But then there was some problem with the tack – a cinch was missing, and it took us longer than anticipated to get going.
So that by the time the horses were climbing Eagle Ridge in the canyon above Draper, the sun was just setting below the western horizon.
In the long after-sunset twilight of summer, we lazily cantered up and down the straight-aways of the trail. Finally, we decided to head home.
But then, suddenly it was dark. We sang camp songs and hymns at the top of our lungs to scare any meandering deer away – the only real threat to our safety was a horse being spooked and being thrown, or worse, run away with; which happened plenty of times in the daylight, but somehow in the dark seemed much more menacing.
We lost the trail and got stuck in the thick of the scrub oak. We had to turn around. We got stuck in a ravine, and had to make our way back out. By the time we reached the bottom of the canyon we were greeted to the voice of Wendy (the owner of the barn where the horses were kept), calling for us over a bullhorn. She, my mother, and a patrol car(the lone efforts of a call to search and rescue) were waiting for us at the trail head.
Boy were we in for it.
The cop car followed us, his lights flashing behind us, the entire two mile walk from the canyon to the barn.
This was followed by a stern lecture on common sense by an irate police officer. By the time the horses were put away it was closing in on midnight.
We climbed into the car, ready to head home, and my mom asked if we’d like to stop at a 24 hour McDonalds for an ice cream cone.
Anna and I had a nice little chat this morning. Oh, how I love dear friends.
Remember when Draper was nothing more than farm fields and railroad tracks?