Horses eating at Northwestern Lake Riding Stables
Timberland trail ride
Surrounded by the Cascade mountains of Washington, Northwestern Lake Riding Stables sits in a valley ringed by tall timber, mountain streams and offers non-stop views from Oregon’s Mt. Hood to colorful meadows studded with a carpet of wildflowers at High Prairie Loop. Back at the stables, well cared for horses munch contentedly on hay as guests are matched to their horses for one, two, three and four hour trail rides.
I have selected the two hour Timberland Trail Ride and am matched with Whiskey, a highly responsive, roan colored Mustang gelding purchased from a nearby Indian Reservation. Owner Mike Park, riding his Appaloosa ironically named Tiny, and I ride up Mill Creek and wind our way up to the open timber line, Mt. Hood looms in the distance. As if on cue, a mother doe and her fawn leap from the open field into the protective cover of the brush when our horses crest the Timberland Trail. We stop for pictures framed with Mt. Hood in the backdrop.
To clarify with readers, I’m on an advanced trail ride. While all riders age eight years and older are able to go out on the trail, it’s up to the wranglers to determine the guest’s level of riding ability. Nothing thrills Mike Park more than to transform a timid rider into a confident equestrian.