Under a pale blue morning sky, a string of horses heads across an untracked meadow dusted with snow. Shaggy in his winter coat, the lead horse blazes a trail, his breath coming out in faint white puffs. It's the start of a short ride with the Mountain Mammas Trails and Training outfit into the mountains near Gold Lake, west of Boulder, but it feels like a wilderness adventure.
Now is arguably the best time for a horseback ride into this part of Colorado's Front Range. The mountains are dotted with snow-laden ponderosas, and the crisp air carries the scent of pine. March, though still snowy, typically offers plenty of sunny, clear days that make such an outing inviting.
A Saddlebag lunch ride takes you into the deep, silent woods around Gold Lake. The longest ride heads up Walker Mountain to an expansive outcropping that's your lunch stop. You'll view the jagged, snowcapped Indian Peaks Wilderness and distant Mt. Evans and feel like you're at the top of a clean, white, snowy world.
INFO: Saddlebag lunch rides with Mountain Mammas Trails and Training (www.mountainmammas.com or 800/450-3544 ext. 17) range from $65 for a two-hour ride to $110 for a four-hour trip.