Guide Lines: From the Bottom Up

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By Simon Ambit

The morning excursion had gone smoothly. And the three hour equestrian excursion had been well worth the view that my father and I were able to take in as we rested our horses on the summit. We talked of past rides, camping trips, and times with Gramps as we drank down a bottle of cool water, and snacked upon strips of wapiti jerky.

Overlooking the steep terrain before us, we chose a route that we hoped would lead us to the bottom of the rugged unexplored canyon that lay below. We meandered down the steep terrain zig zagging back and forth like a boxer trying to avoid the jabs of outcroppings cliffs and slick-rock that the mountain threw at us periodically. For those that were too awkward to go over, we had to dismount a number of times to clear a fallen aspen or pine from before us. The incline became steeper and steeper, to the point that the horses beneath us were sliding as much as walking. The barrage of fallen trees became so aggressively thick and cumbersome that there was no way to go any further upon the horses. However, the wooden white-pine soldiers had closed in their formation so tightly around us that we couldn’t turn the horses around.

We were in a bad situation and we both knew it. We carved out a bit of a flat spot on a side cut between three trees and loosened the cinch of the saddles. We dismounted to give both man and horse a rest before having to make the climb out of the jaws into which we had just rode. Dad stayed with the horses as I hiked on to find a way out. I found that going out the bottom was not an option, but I discovered an old deer trail several yards ahead that with a prayer and great effort could possibly lead us out of the pasta bowl of deadfall.

We had to lead the horses a brief time or two, but scratching and scraping our way along, we eventually broke into less dense forest and were able to get back up to the ridge.

It was my fault that we gotten into the bad situation, I was in the front and should have stopped sooner, but despite my father’s suggestions, I just kept hoping things would improve. I find that so many situations in our lives can be the same way. Despite the dangers and warning voices of loved ones, we don’t realize how fast we are riding right into a bad situation.

Like that day in the belly of the canyon, it may take a prayer and hard work, but we can succeed. Despite the depth of the chasm, the shear of the cliff, or the darkness of the forest, there is always a way to the ridge. Keep looking forward and moving upward. Honor your parents, and listen to their advice; they’ve been down similar trails before.

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