Horse Fly Veils & Yosemite National Park
Riding in Yosemite National Park
The stunning backdrop of Yosemite National Park provided the perfect setting for a ride. I had principally been hiking in the park but had discovered that there was a riding stables close to my campsite. One day I decided to investigate. It was late afternoon and the horses were being tacked up ready for a ride. They were all wearing horse fly veils which made me smile. I had been attacked by a variety of airborne insects and wished that I had my own fly veil!
Horse Fly Veils and Head Nets
I had visited the park before and I had survived several days without the flies biting me. However, this time things were very different as I discovered when I walked to Lower Yosemite Falls. By the time I had taken a few steps my legs were covered in mosquito bites the size of small saucers. I ended up running full tilt into the visitor centre to buy them out of DEET. That did the trick but I hate spraying DEET near my face and so my neck was still vulnerable.
I wondered if I should invest in a head net before riding. I decided against it on the grounds that I would look like an idiot! When I turned up for my ride a couple of days later I made sure that my DEET was in my pocket. I was approached by the guide who asked about my riding experience. I gave him a brief overview and thought no more about it until I was lined up with the other tourists to be allocated a horse.
The guide then explained that the ride was fully booked and so they would have to use every horse in the stable. They would choose an appropriate horse for each person's experience. Unfortunately there was one horse which they did not use unless they had to because it had a tendency to misbehave. This horse would be ridden by the most experienced guest. No prizes for guessing who that turned out to be!
I mounted with some trepidation as it sounded as if my horse was going to be problematic. I was guessing that he wouldn't be overly amused to be heading out in hot weather with flies everywhere and so would not be in the best of moods. My expectations were point towards this trip to end badly.
As we set off it was immediately obvious that several people on the trip had never ridden before. There were one or two panic attacks and a couple of screams as we moved along the trail. The scenery was fabulous and it was pure paradise to be walking along in the shadow of the mighty Half Dome which towered above us. My horse was no trouble at all. I began to wonder what all the fuss was about. Either he had decided that he liked me or he was just having a good day. Even the flies largely behaved themselves and those handy Fly Veils were doing the job of keeping the bugs and dust out of their ears and prevent a lot of head shaking.
My only regret was that I was in a large group of inexperienced riders and so we were only able to walk and slowly at that. It would have been nice to have gone on a real adventure.
I returned to the park several years later. Although I didn't ride again, I did get a truly horrendous bite from a vicious black fly which was so painful that I yelled several expletives! I then realised that I was next to a family with small children. Oops! No wonder they use horse fly veils and fly sheets. That bite would have floored a buffalo.