Full Moon or Sunset Ride?

"...the light hits the grasses just right for spectacular scenery and the trees begin to cast long shadows..."

Seventeen of us decided a full moon ride was just the ticket for October – just after the Harvest Moon in September and before the winter snows set in. We booked Ghost Ranch horses according to the moon.  We then decided to make an overnight trip of it to enjoy hiking or riding more of the trails the following day.

Room reservations were secured (I highly recommend if you are going in a group to try to book the Coyote building for everyone, which has a great community room in the middle for après ride).  Dinner reservations were made at the Abiquiu Inn.  Horse details were ironed out, like who was riding a Ghost Ranch horse and who was riding their own.

When October 27th rolled around, everyone was ready and looking forward to this mini-vacation. The day had been sunny and clear; the forecast was for a cool but clear nighttime – perfect for stargazing. Meg had the phone app to tell us what constellations we were looking at – technology is amazing! Mounting up about 5pm, the group headed out lead by head wrangler, Jeff Kennedy.  

Ghost Ranch is always picturesque and filled with history, but at 5pm, the light hits the grasses just right for spectacular scenery and the trees begin to cast long shadows. It is a perfect time of day to ride. As the ride progressed, everyone waited for the moon.

What no one realized is that Ghost Ranch sits in a deep valley surrounded by the famous mountains. Hence the moon rise, scheduled for a specific time, did not appear over the horizon at Ghost Ranch until much later -- it made a brilliant arrival as we were unsaddling the horses and getting ready for dinner.  However, the moon light was much appreciated as we stowed gear and put horses up.

Dinner at the Abiquiu Inn was great and a good choice so close to Ghost Ranch.  After dinner, there was still more chatting to be done, so we returned to the Community Room in the Coyote section. After many attempts to light the fireplace, we determined the gas tank was empty, so we made do with candles that were on hand.  Someone had thoughtfully brought treats, bourbon and port wine, so we sunk down into the deep leather couches, glasses in hand, and relived the sunset ride.

The following morning, we met in the Ghost Ranch cafeteria for the breakfast included in the room stay. Then, some saddled up for the Box Canyon ride, while others opted to hit the trails on foot to hike or take pictures of this amazing landscape before we all parted company and headed home.

See more about Ghost Ranch and it's terrific accomodations here.

Pictures courtesy of Cindy Roper and Lisa Piasecki