The trail head is about halfway through the loop trail, in the section of the canyon that we call the enchanted forest. It is densely wooded oaks, with tall grass and poison oak underfoot. There are fallen logs and branches across the trail and gnats. There are always gnats.
The trail quickly climbs out of the canyon. It climbs up and over the stoney ridges of the Santa Ana mountains. The trail is steep, littered with rock and scarred from the rains making gullies. A group of people in our community, together with rangers and members of the Sierra Club have been working on clearing the trail. They also put a tie rail up at the summit so you can stop and rest, and maybe picinic, there. We wanted to check it out.
I also wanted to ride the trail because Winston also has no butt. Hills are the best way to build those muscles. I put the helmet cam on Brett's head, told him how to turn it on, and off we went. The video doesn't give a good sense of how steep the trail is. Brett and I always lean forward going up hill so we are balanced over the horses' shoulders -- much as you lean forward when scrambling up a steep incline. This gave the impression, on the video, of the trail being level which couldn't be further from the truth. You can get a feeling of the effort Flash was putting into launching himself up the trail by the heaving motion on the film.
Winston did very well. He didn't blow hard but he did slow way down on the steep parts. His endurance is better than his muscle strength at this point. His hooves took a bit of a beating -- they were quite chipped up when we got home. But he wasn't at all sore -- and neither was Flash.