Monday, October 27, 2008

Big South Fork Riding 2008

It was hard to get excited Friday as 3 of us ventured out in the RV in driving rain, pulling along 3 horses for a 4 hour drive to Big South Fork NRRA (National River and Recreation Area) in Tennessee, and set up in wetness as well. We had hoped to go for at least a short ride when we arrived, but the rain just didn’t let up. I wondered if it would be worth the hassle of driving so far, but shouldn’t have worried as we awoke to glorious weather- a perfect, cool and crisp fall day. The owner at Honey Creek Horse Camp gave us some good guidance, and we set out for our first adventure on the trails.
The leaves were at peak color, and the trails were wonderful, though wet. The horses were extremely muddy by the second mile, but the soil is very sandy so it was rarely slick. The map and markings were better than for most places we’ve ridden, and we easily found a beautiful overlook and then searched for and discovered what we had been told was one of the most noteworthy attractions in the area, Needles’ Eye. We picketed the horses, then scrambled down a steep path which required some climbing before we reached the opening of the cave. I love caves anyway, but this one was really unique, with a huge opening at the end we entered by, with an arch within it. There was a smaller opening at the other that made a silhouette of the fall trees outside. There were many little offshoots, and I insisted on getting the flashlight so that we could explore them fully, though they didn't go anywhere.
More riding took us along an old railroad bed which followed the gorgeous White Oak River (I had to keep pinching myself, it was my fantasy trail!) and then on to our destination for lunch, the Big South Fork River. Mirian had hoped to ride through the big water, but possibly even better was the ride across it on a towering old railroad bridge! We ate lunch on the sunny rocks below, and listened as horses clip-clopped across every few minutes, mostly Tennessee Walking Horses. It was nice to see the trails so well-used, and it was fun to chat with other riders and compare notes on our horses, tack, and trails. My flashy little Kentucky Mountain horse, Sunday, got a ton of compliments as he’s currently almost black with a flowing, nearly-white mane and tail. I almost would have given him away with the way he was acting at first on Saturday, but later in the day he settled down and his smooth gait made him worth his weight in gold to me! There were many sleek riding mules, which I know Paul would have loved to see- hopefully, he and Robert can come along next time.
Sunday’s ride was longer than anticipated, as we couldn’t bring ourselves to take only a short jaunt with the conditions so perfect. We rode to the Twin Arches, an incredible sandstone formation that you first go completely over, then curve around and down a steep, narrow path until you’re beneath and within the beautiful double arch. The entire ride was truly a dream, but reality set back in when we had a flat on the trailer coming home. MB and I were proud to change it entirely ourselves, and once again our portable jack or “Trail-ease” helped make the job a whole lot easier. I am so grateful for the opportunity to experience a lovely daughter, a wonderful friend like MB, handy horses, and nature's fall glory like we did at Big South Fork, and will always cherish the memory of this weekend. (P.S. We did miss you, Marti!)
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1 comment:

Shadows of the goddess designs said...

what a beautiful area to ride. in. i have so enjoyed reading thru your blog this morning. I saw it mentioned in the lexington blospshere feature of feedjit