Thursday, May 1, 2008

Kennnedy's Peak-Fort Valley Virginia

Ok, well anyway, Betsy and I went riding again today. Every time that we have been riding, we keep meaning to bring a camera, but then neither of us ever doooo.

Betsy's choice for a ride (she knows ZILLIONS of trails) was to take me to Kennedy's Peak, which is a major climb in the OLD old dominion ride. The NEW ride will be two mountain ranges away and is supposedly much easier. The rain was sprinkling down as we left Luray and headed over to Fort Valley, which is about a 20 min. drive up a narrow windee mountain road. T

hen down the other side of the mountain. I tried to melt the on the way home I let Betsy drive and we were able to adjust the trailer brakes better to assist us. Betsy started whining about the rain, her coat was not water repellant (nor was mine) she had "been there and done that", she was too old and well, we could just sit in the truck to see if the rain would stop. So much for whining, she was, I think, having regrets about taking me to KP because she said it was a HARD ride and that I needed to see what a real endurance ride was like... I think she forgot that I told her I used to ride with Betty Baird and Frank Farmer.

Anyway, the rain stopped as we pulled into our parking area (uhmmm after much maneuvering to get the truck and trailer around a SHARP back turn into the driveway of the parking area, and having to squeeze through trees that were only an inch from the trailer.

So, we saddled up with out further ado. Falcon likes Tristiana. I started to mount but Falcon decided that would NOT be the case, so as soon as I tightened up his rein and said ATTTT, he started backing up and then stood nicely, pretending to be interested in a weed while I mounted. Then he acted like he had never had anyone on his back and tried to bunch up, but I nudged him and he started striding out and put his mind to the trail. Initially, he really took off, but promptly, not paying attention to his feet, stumbled on a rock and went halfway down on his front legs. But he was right back up and I was no worse for the wear.

He kept wanting to canter or trot very fast, but we had so many stops and starts because of ROCKS ROCKS ROCKS ROCKS ROCKS ROCKS ROCKS ROCKS ROCKS ROCKS ROCKS. He soon learned to pick his way a little more carefully.

We did have to either climb or go around a few fallen trees, through creeks and a boggy area. Once again Betsy was impressed with his sensibility. But she said several times, that I really shouldnt be doing the OD 25 unless I could get riding 3-4 days a week and 5 miles each of those days. She has been discouraging me from it since she first emailed me and said I should try another ride first. But I am stubborn, but didnt say much accept that the O.D. is really advertising the 25 for beginners and I was hoping to not start with the crazy fast peoples.

Betsy told me that the crazy people trot their horses through those rocks. I could not believe that. I would not want to risk serious injuries to me or my horse on them. After a fairly easy, but rocky rolling terrain, we started the Climb to Kennedy's Peak...Too many rocks to move very fast. I was enjoying my self when Bets asked what I thought....I just said, hhhmmm, lots of rocks.... The Peak was about 6 miles from our starting point.

At the top, we were able to get some good trotting in across the top of the ridge on a double track trail. It was a circular trail and on the way down the backside the trail was TREACHEROUS! I thought coming up that the rocks were bad....well at least one mile of the down side was ROCKS and more Rocks on barely a single track trail. Betsy said that it wasnt even the WORST trail on the OD that there were two other ones that were way worse....I can't imagine that. To the left was Rock/Tree steep embankment, and to the Right was Rock TRee drop off down the mountain. Falcon picked his way through carefully then up came his head and he stopped stock still....MOUNTAIN BIKERS.

Oh my lands, they were biking UP on those Rocks! Man I wished I had had my camera fer sure. Betsy asked them to make lots of noise, because Falcon had spooked early on at a camaflouged Turkey hunter that looked like a tree, then spoke. The bikers kindly climbed up on the rocks and sat and laughed and talked as we walked by, (I had dismounted because I didnt want Falcon to spook and dump me in the rocks) The bikers said "isnt it a bit hard on those animals?" I said, "isnt it a bit hard on you guys?" hee ho.

Betsy retorted that the horses had 4 legs and did just fine. By the time we reached the trailer, Betsy was saying, "Be sure and email me and let me know how you do at the OD" I think Falcon and I changed her mind. Falcon came through the rocks totally unscathed and she watched him alot from behind to make sure he was handling the rocks ok. Her horse unfortunately, got skinned on her back leg down to raw meat...about 6 inches long....but it was really only a minor injury after 12 miles of rocks.

So we got her home, got Falcon hosed off and turned out, then I went to potty, let dogs potty and scarfed up my two peanutbutter/apple butter sandwhiches from my saddle pack that I didnt eat earlier. An hour later, I loaded Dakota on the trailer....Man he was a pain, acted all wild and screaming for Falcon and squashed me in the trailer....blah. I was exhausted by the time I got him loaded and drove to Karen's Place. She was boring to ride with after my earlier ride, but neither of our horses were shod and we were on gravel road, both Dakota and her horse are out of shape and broke out into a frothy sweat just walking and light trotting up and down hill for 3 miles.

Arriving back home at 7:30 pm Dakota decided that he did not know how to back off of the slant load. Took me about 15 min. to unload him and he finally just folded himself in half and turned around and walked off. Dumbbbby! But he is decent to ride. So oh dear it is 11:20. I have to git some sleep and my bones are aching after 15 miles of riding.I even took 600mg of advil this a.m. and also when I got home,,,guess I need more AND a strong drink! But my brain is FREE! Riding just takes away all of my mental crappy stress! back to work tomorrow. A short ride on Falcon on Sat a.m. and then to Waynesboro to see my "man"

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