Shannon Mahre and her mother Mary Skouras pose for a photo during a Mother's Day adventure that featured horseback riding, wine tasting and a bike tour. 

There’s really nothing I will ever be able to do to truly show my mother how thankful I am for all that she has done for me — and all that she continues to do for our family.

But this year, I tried my very best to give her a day of adventure that she would not only love but one that she would not soon forget.

One of my very first memories is of riding on the back of my mother’s horse as we cantered down the trails near my childhood home. Free — it’s always been the best word to describe how I feel on horseback... and how my mother feels as well.

Since then, riding together has filled a void in my life that nothing else ever has.

But now that we live hours apart, and the horse loves of our lives have since passed away, our days of riding together are few and far between. So when I heard about Red Mountain Trails in Benton City, a company that offers horse rides, wine tasting and bike wine tours, I knew the perfect celebration for my mother was right at my fingertips — and there was no way that I was going to pass it up.

So this year, the day after Mother’s Day, my mom and I hopped in my truck and headed to Red Mountain Trails along with two of my friends and their mothers. Upon arrival at the ranch, we were greeted by the owners, Teresa and Jeff, and six beautiful horses ready to ride into the vineyards.

Astride our mounts and heading away from the ranch, vineyards all around us and blue skies above us, I looked over at my mom to see her face lit up with joy and with the same freedom that I felt in that very moment.

And just when I didn’t think that her smile could get any larger, upon arrival back at the ranch, we were welcomed with a flight of Red Mountain Trails’ own wine, savory appetizers, and all of the trappings for s’mores. Sitting around the fire, enjoying each other’s company over food and drinks that we didn’t have to prepare for ourselves or each other — I’m pretty sure we all could have spent countless hours there together.

With a taste for a bit more adventure, Jeff set us up on his fleet of cruiser bikes for a tour of a different kind. Following him through the vineyards, we learned about different grape types, wine varietals and agricultural techniques.

A short pedal later, we found ourselves at Kiona Winery for another tasting and some of the most spectacular views in the area.

But as mothers and wives with families to get home to, and a few of us with small kiddos we couldn’t wait to return to and snuggle, our day away together had to come to an end. After giving our final goodbyes to the horses and our hosts, we hopped into our trucks and headed home, hoping that one day soon we would be back for another day of fun, family and freedom.

Mother’s Day means so much more to me after becoming a mother myself — but probably not for the reasons you think. I now understand and see the sacrifices my mother made (and continues to make), the millions of times that she put my brother and I before herself, and I see just how amazing of a mother and grandmother she is to myself and to our children.

Would flowers and a card have sufficed as a thank you? Sure. But my hope is that these memories in the years to come will mean so much more than a card or a flower that is here and then gone.

Time together — it truly is the best and most precious gift of all.

Shannon Mahre contributes to Yakima Magazine and owns an outdoors company, Girls with Grit, that allows her to share her passions for skiing, running, mountain biking, standup paddleboarding and much more. She lives in Naches with her husband, Andy, and their two children. This is her first monthly column.

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