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The Phantom Terrace

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The Phantom Terrace
  • The notorious Phantom Terrace. Do we really have to ride across that?!

    So far the trail doesn't look too bad.

    But now the trail gets narrow and rocky, with steep drop-offs. The girls decide to dismount and send the horses ahead of them.

    That little brown spot is Caveman leading the way on Harmony. The other horses had to trot to catch up. They weren't scared!

    Looking back at the Phantom Terrace. Did we just come across THAT?!

  • Caveman rode??!!!  So.... you rode, too, right?  Can't let him outdo you!  I've been on some horses that NO WAY would I ride them on something like that!!!  Zag's pretty sure footed.  Still, it looks scary!
    ETA: I thought Phantom Terrace was the name of a new horse.  [':D']
  • Caveman rode across the Terrace on the intrepid Harmony, Kentucky Mountain Horse mare (just a 4-year-old!). [':o']
    We had four people and three horses, so the Cavedaughter, Megan, walked all the way up Comanche Trail (towed by Wizzer the Cavedog). Not long after crossing Comanche Pass, Megan hurt her ankle. Out of the goodness of my heart, I let her ride my horse and I walked. (The fact that I knew the Phantom Terrace was coming up had nothing to do with it. [';)'] )
    So I was towed over the Phantom Terrace by the Cavedog. We'd heard there are bones of dead pack mules at the bottom, but I didn't look down to see.  
  • I appreciate your dog-power, but why can't he run loose?  You can see he wants to get up there with Cave-daddy!  (who looks his usual fine self) [':D']
  • That doesn't look like much of a trail.  I have no idea if I would stay in the saddle for that or not with out seeing it in real person.
    But I can see where that would challenge the best of riders.
  • Awesome pix, Appylady!! Where is this trail at !! One of those that makes you remember to breathe and then feel great 'cause you made it to the other side!!!
  • Ladyluck, the Phantom Terrace is in the Sangre de Cristo mountains southwest of Westcliffe, Colorado. It connects the Comanche Trail with Venable Trail, and makes a nice loop. We camped up near Venable Lake, at an altitude of just under 12,000 ft.
    There is a way around the Terrace, but it adds a lot of miles to the ride. And isn't nearly as exciting!
  • Did You pack into Venable Lake or can you drive to it and camp there?
  • That is a trail there I didn't know about.
    I'm sure there are lots I don't know. I still miss riding up there.
    Thanks for the pics.
  • I really don't like trails like that. I try to at least act calm, but they do make me nervous. I don't think that I want to ever try that trail. Your pictures were great. I am usually too busy hanging on to take pictures when on scarey side hills.
  • [quote=ladyluck]

    Did You pack into Venable Lake or can you drive to it and camp there?

    We packed in. Venable Trail is a single-track trail, open only to hikers and horses. No motorized vehicles. But you can park at the trailhead (like we did) or stay at Alvarado Campground (for a fee), and do the Comanche/Venable Loop as a day ride. It's a real popular spot with horse people, because several trails can be accessed from the parking lot. Goodwin Lakes Trail and Cottonwood Creek are just a short ride along the Rainbow Trail.
    Elaine, trails like that scare me too!
  • More pictures from the same trip.
    Heading up Comanche Trail.

    The wildflowers were really pretty.

    Stopping to water the dog at Comanche Lake.

    Getting closer to the ridgeline.

    We made it to the top. Getting to this point was kinda scary for me. Especially when I saw that cross....

    Dan took this picture of me on Buddy. You can see Comanche Lakes down below, and the Wet Mountain Valley in the background.

    From the top we could see the San Luis Valley on the west side of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range.

    From there, it was on to the Phantom Terrace.
  • Those are some truly breathtaking photos!
    Now, when I've had the occasion to ride ledgy trails similar to yours--and I must say, I don't usually take photos while doing it!  My knuckles are white from gripping the horn, and my butt is puckered tight to the saddle--I like to steel my nerves ahead of time with a little "nerve tonic": a shot of tequila, chased down with a Coors Light or two.  A little sedation can take the "edge off the ledge."  I refer to these trails as "Two Beers and a Shot" rides.  Your trail might be classified as "Two Shots and a Six Pack"!