We came off of Big Bucktail Creek and Ray's Spur, earning some new scrapes and scratches in the process. We also knew that Ray's Trail was much longer, and it headed into scrub oak. Were we headed into a long trip with more scrapes? We didn't know, but we had to see what we could see. We headed from Houser Road with Old Highway 90 as the goal.
Ray's Trail ended up being fun right away as we cruised down off of the flat mesa where Houser Road was. It was rocky and steep. We passed through a fence at a gate with wire high above the trail, and the views were amazing. There wasn't anywhere to pull off, though, so we snapped pictures from our vehicles and moved on.
The trail continued its steep decent in the scrub oak, and then it just popped out into a meadow where it leveled off. We had a feeling that we wouldn't find too many wide spots and it was about noon, so we stopped there for lunch. It was windy, so we set up our chairs on the downwind side of a Jeep to get out of it.
Monica, Roger, and Mike all packed one emergency pair of shorts each, just in case the weather cooperated. It was nice the whole week, so we wore our shorts each day. Mike had to leave us that morning, so Roger and Monica were on Day 3 for shorts. Classy!
We stayed there for a while just enjoying the day. But we knew we had some miles to go, so we soon packed up to go. We drove by the Blue Mud Spring trail, hoping we'd have time to see that one, too. The trails were more overgrown and challenging than we'd expected, though, so we didn't get a chance to do that one.
The trail mostly headed downhill, and there were some fun sections of loose rocks and small ledges. We came up to a fence with lots of cows on the other side, and it was a fun and new challenge to keep them over there while we passed through, closing the gate behind us. We were successful at keeping them to their correct side of the fence.
There were other gates and lots of other cows as we got closer to Old Highway 90. The trail went from weaving to heading straight south along a fence, and then we saw lots of tracks in front of us. We were back with the cows.
The trail turned east and we came to a wide spot. We stopped to stretch our legs and take pictures of the weird clouds. We also had a discussion about the rest of our day. We were feeling pretty beat up from all of the scrub oak and bumping, but we still had a few hours of daylight left.
We got to the big intersection with Telephone Draw, and we had another talk. We had two options for getting back up to Houser Road on a new trail. We could take Telephone Draw up, but we knew it would go through the same type of terrain as Ray's Trail. Tight and narrow climbs could eat up the rest of our day pretty easily. Instead, we decided to check out Cottonwood Trail because it was a bit farther east. We hoped it would be a faster way up to Houser Road.
When we got back to Old Highway 90, Julie decided she'd had enough for one day. She was heading back to Denver in the morning, so she wanted to get some rest. We didn't know what the other trail would be like, but the rest of us were staying another day. Julie headed back while the rest of us went over to Cottonwood Trail.