Wednesday, July 8, 2009
WILD PINK YONDER....THE DETAILS
July 3rd, mom, Hedi and I headed out to the Cochrane Ag Grounds as that is where the Wild Pink Yonder Wagon was going to be.
We had planned to spend the next two days following this wagon on a mission to help raise money, and awareness, for breast cancer. The wagon itself had around 600 miles to cover, traveling across Alberta, from Cochrane, to Josephburg. While the three of us, had only planned to ride for 2 days, there was at least one rider planning to cover all 600 miles and 20 days with the wagon! Riders were welcome to join the ride for as many days as they had raised money for, so the amount of horses following this pink tarped wagon will vary during the trip.
There were 20 of us there, on day one, in Cochrane, ready to follow the pink Canvass covered wagon for the first leg of it's very important journey. We had police cars escort us out of the Ag grounds, down the highway and up the infamous "Cochrane Hill!" The first hour of the ride was all highway, but eventually we turned down "Retreat Road," aptly named, as, for us, the quietness of this gravel road, definately made it feel like a retreat. We rode past some beautiful farms and saw some great scenery. Hedi remarked how, riding horseback like this, was such a great way to see the province. She was right! This was a unique, peaceful way to see parts of our province, the parts that weren't visible from the four lane highway! July, 4th turned out to be a very long, hot ride and soon the beautiful scenery had become secondary thoughts in our minds to our aching butts, and knees. Our lunch stop had been fantastic, but before long, it was a vague memory and both humans and horses were hungry, thirsty and tired. Some of the riders insisted that they were suffering horrible discomfort, as the horses trudged on behind the wagon with no sign of our evening destination in sight. They had to admit though, that the couple hours of "suffering" they were enduring was NOTHING compared to the suffering the people who had the very ailment we were riding in support of, felt! After 32 miles of riding, we were picked up by horse trailers and dropped off at the Becker Ranch just outside of Airdre. The Beckers met us with huge hospitality, putting our horses up in box stalls and filling both feed and water troughs to the brim! Once the horses were taken care of, us riders were given a BBQ reception complete with free "beverages" and cake! There was a live band playing while we feasted on beans, salad, steak and chicken!
With full bellies, mom and I retreated to the back of Hedi's horse trailer where we had set up our sleeping bags. We slept like rocks that night, or at least I know I did! We woke up to sunshine and a delicious breakfast, complete with Tim Horton's coffee, yipee! That day, July 5th, we rode from Airdre to Crossfields and that was the end of the line for Mom, Hedi, and I. Hedi had to work Monday, mom had animals at home who needed her and since they were my ride, I had to quit too. We felt kind of sad pulling out of the Crossfield Ag grounds, after a personal performance by a cowboy poet.
We were sad that we didn't have more time to ride with these adventurers, we were sad to leave new friends we had made and we were sad that we would have to wait until July 24th to see the Pink Canvass Wagon again. July 24th was the wind up party in Josephburg, a hamlet near Ardrossan (where mom and Hedi live.) Mom, Hedi and I planned to ride again that last day and celebrate with the riders at the party. The more we talked about how much fun we'd had while participating on the ride, the more fired up we got. When Dirt and I left Hedi's horse trailer and headed back to his pasture, I knew in my heart that not one of the three of us would be able to wait 18 days to reconnect with the Wild Pink Yonder again.