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Rogue Cowgirls at The North Rim

We are a small group of riding friends from Las Vegas, Nevada. We’re also known to some as the Rogue Cowgirls; we even have the shirts. We ride challenging trails and sometimes go off-road as long as it’s safe. Most of us have been friends for years, ten to thirty combined, and have all ridden since we were little, some starting as young as three.

A few of us are members of the Tule Springs National Monument Mounted Patrol and Back Country Bristlecone Chapter members.

We've traveled together for years, from annual cattle drives that have become a tradition to beach trips and as many small trips as we can squeeze into the year.

We compete in ETS events, obstacle challenges, and educational clinics. A few of us are retired; we ride three to four times a week when the desert weather permits. We ride Red Rock in the fall and winter; then, we head to the higher elevation and cooler temperatures of Mt. Charleston in the summer.

We have very supportive husbands that encourage these grand adventures. They usually end up caring for the animals that don't make the trip with us.

We've seen each other through losses, successes, new accomplishments, new jobs, old jobs, health battles, and so much laughter and shenanigans. We're more like family than friends.

We talk about where we haven't been yet or where we would like to ride again. We usually have our calendar of trips filled by March. One of our Rogue Cowgirls had ridden the North Rim of the Grand Canyon years ago, so we knew where we wanted to go. It was a best-kept secret. I have lived in Las Vegas since 1999 and had never been to the Grand Canyon. To get to see it for the first time from the saddle of my horse was a feeling I can't even describe. To say the view was breathtaking is an understatement.

The backcountry horse camp permit allows for six horses and two Living Quarters trailers. Unfortunately, only three of us Rogue Cowgirls were able to make the trip, but it was a trip worth taking. We were there the last week of June for four relaxing days (If you venture to the North Rim, you’ll want to check your water and fire restrictions during the summer months before you head there).

Myself and my twenty-one-year-old Quarter Horse, River, Julie Sprague, and her twelve-year-old Lazy K Quarter Horse, Johnny Ringo, and Tammy Smith, with her five-year-old Quarter Horse, Gunny, made the trip. The road trip is always part of our shenanigans with the playlist of music, snacks, hat cans, and so much laughter that we really could be our own show. We left early in the morning to beat the Las Vegas heat, and a short road trip later, we arrived.

We went from high ninety-degree temps leaving Las Vegas to cool mid-seventy-degree days and fifty-degree nights. Once we figured out where to find the Back Country office to check in, we got to camp and began setting up.

The horses were glad to be out of the trailer, probably as much as we were. We camped in the Back Country livestock area in the National Park (you'll want to make sure at check-in that they give you the combination to the gate leading to the camp). We had quite the adventure our first night there trying to reach the Ranger to help us get it unlocked. Small oversight that made us laugh the next morning. There was not much cell service, so we had to drive back to the lodge to call Ranger dispatch. We all determined it made for a good story as part of the adventure.

We spent an amazing four days on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The camp spot was nice and large, easy to pull into, with plenty of space for chairs and coolers, and had shade. We were right across from the corral, with plenty of trees for shade mid-day for the horses but not blocking the view. The corrals were nice and big and held our three horses with plenty of room for them to play. They had a big water trough with a spigot right at the corrals, so carrying water was unnecessary. The restrooms were very clean, and the park was peaceful and quiet. We had a beautiful deer come through each evening; she shared the hay and a spare water bucket we filled for the high line.

The Canyon Mule Rides were not far from camp, so the horses had entertainment twice a day when they took the mules out and brought them back for the day. They had the best-looking mules, healthy, well cared for, and such shiny coats. We rode open trails with climbing inclines to nice smooth bridle paths. Trails ranged from easy, like the bridle path trail, to challenging as the Arizona Trail. Uncle Jim Trail has amazing views of the Grand Canyon from the overlook.

The trails were designated for the canyon mule rides. The bridle path led us to the Canyon lodge. We found tie rails and restrooms at some of the trail stops along the way. And we got a few great pics with the horses taken at the lodge overlook. The Arizona trail was a little steep and rocky; I recommend boots if your horses are not shod.

We gave the horses a day off and checked out the North Rim Canyon Lodge. It was so quaint and peaceful, with views to leave you speechless. Every interaction from the National Park Rangers to the hotel/cabin staff was pleasant and friendly; we especially enjoyed conversations with Pete, part of the lodge staff.

While at the lodge, we couldn't pass by the saloon. The Prickly Pear Mule cocktails were delicious, and the old-west atmosphere kept you in the spirit. The Deli at the Pines had a beef brisket sandwich that would make you cry... delicious.

There is a general store not far from the lodge. It has anything you would need at camp. Summer months bring rain gear. There is a shower house near the general store, but due to the water restrictions at the time of our trip, they were not open, so make sure your living-quarters trailer tank is filled.

The views of the canyon were incredible. We enjoyed the sunsets from the veranda each night, basking in the beauty of it all. We met lodge guests that we found ourselves sitting around the fire, chatting with all night while the rain added to the ambiance.

The views from the saddle were just as majestic. Riding through the well-maintained and well-marked trails made the days in the saddle so enjoyable. We could ride as short or long as we wanted. If you go in the

We were caught in the rain on two separate rides. On the last day, we rode out in nice sunny weather, only for it to turn into a thunderstorm and hail. We laughed like kids and, in true Rogue Cowgirl fashion, rode the rest of the trail while ducking under trees for shelter when we could.

We've already made reservations to go back in September with a few of the cowgirls that didn't make the June trip. We can't wait to see the fall colors of the Aspen trees and sit around the campfire, sharing stories of our past trips and planning the next one.

As we headed back to Las Vegas, we were a little sad we were leaving cool temperatures for the heat of the desert, but the Rogue Cowgirls will be back North Rim!

Holly Good~

A Midwest Illinois girl, born and raised. She got her first pony at the age of three. As she grew older, she participated in 4-H, local parades, and trail rides. Her aunt and uncle taught her everything she knew about riding. She has fond memories of staying with them and riding through many miles of pasture.

She moved to Las Vegas in 1999, got back into horses, and met the best friends she now calls family. She is a volunteer member of the Boulder City Mounted Posse and a member of The Tule Springs National Monument Mounted Patrol. She and her friends have ridden all over; beaches, the Redwoods, and the Grand Canyon. She enjoys cattle drives, team sorting, and ETS events. She currently has four horses in her herd; a Polish Arab named Dancer, two Quarter Horses River and Big Guy, and a three-year-old Dutch Warmblood named Josie. She has her aunt and uncle to thank for all her adventures with her horses and friends.


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