I figure I have kept you in suspense long enough for details of the cottonwood patch trip. Still cannot believe I forgot my camera, think I will tie it around my neck as Luanne suggested in a previous occasion where I forgot it. I did manage to grab these pictures from Susan who thank goodness remembered her camera and to actually use it while we were riding.
Friday morning found rain again, I showed up at Susan's at 7am as planned. We had hooked up the trailer the night before so all we had to do was load up and go. Susan had Frankie all haltered up with fly mask on ready for me to load him. Since Frankie won't back out yet we loaded him first than Payback. We set off with Mapquest directions and another version from one of the fellas from Georgia who had been there before, it was estimated at 5 hours. We hit rain off and on down I 75 but nothing major. We had one stop for lunch and ice before we got off the interstate for good. We turned on Ga 2 and headed into what we thought was the last leg of the trip, after 7 miles we determined this was not the Ga 2 we needed to be on. We found a turn around and backtracked turns out we turned the wrong direction,
just in front of us were two horsetrailers. Susan thought she recognized them as Ga riders, they turned off to the right and I kept on straight as my good ole GPS and navigator Susan instructed, this turned out to be the best thing that could have happened on Friday. The road quickly went from paved to gravel with more switchbacks and uphill then I could tell you, seven miles of this folks. Oh yeah let's not forget the two little narrow bridges we had to cross with my dually. Just when Susan started to doubt we were in the right place again I saw the horse trailers off to my left. I made the remark that I was glad I was not pulling a long rig as the roads were narrow and no shoulder just drop offs. We pulled in the campsite at 2 o'clock and several folks were already set up, they actually came in the night before and were out for a ride. Two friends were in camp and we figured out where to park and then got down to setting up camp. Unfortunately, there wasn't any really good place to place a picket line that would have been in the shade so we opted to tie the horses to a hitching post in the shade instead. Frankie never pulled back but..... he did untie himself and payback a few times until we hard tied him. Soon things were shaping up and then we heard a loud bang and horses banging in a trailer. Just after that Ralph a Ga rider came walking into camp saying James'
trailer was off in the ditch with horses inside and that it was BAD! We walked up the road and this is what we saw:
Now kids, if you are going to drive a goose neck trailer..... remember to swing out before your turns or this will happen.
Yes, there were two horses inside. Yes they were down and on their heads. The fellas had to dig out the hill behind the trailer, empty the rear tack, collapse it and go in and get the horses out. They both had cuts and were shaken up but thankfully they were otherwise fine.
Here is a side view so you can see what it looked like
These are the wrecker drivers who drug it up out of the ditch some hour and a half later. The young lady is one of our camp members who could not resist the uniform.
Ya see, I am glad they took that turn and that I got into camp before this happened or we would have been stranded up there on the road waiting for the wrecker to clear it. There was only one way in and out of the camp.
The rest of Friday was spent socializing and eating yummy fish the group fried at the campsite. Frankie seemed good on the post although I must confess I slept little and checked him about every two hours by looking out my trailer window.
Saturday was clear and beautiful when we awoke. The crew treated us to bacon and eggs for breakfast and we decided to split into two groups to ride for the day.
Fast, long ride for the gaited fellas and slow half day for us er quarter horse riding gals. We packed lunches and headed out for the iron mountain trail, a 12 mile loop around the campground with lots of hills and two river crossings. Frankie had already attached himself to Payback in a fierce way and if she got to far away he started his whinnying and antics of jumping around. Ugh.... I decided to make him lead for awhile and give him something to think about. The trail was not real wide and the drop offs were steep, it kept me on my toes since he is such a greenie.
I know it is out of focus but here he is plodding along.
Actually, he was moving out good and enjoying himself until.......this giant flat rock appeared when we rounded a corner. It startled him so that he jumped to the right and fell over the side of the hill. Well kids, I was thinking this could go really bad here or.....
Well, he wasn't panicking or freaking out, he stopped when I asked him to and when I accessed that we could not back up or go forward we just did a cute little 180 degree turn on the side of the hill and popped back up on the trail. Thank goodness he had reining training! Everyone was surprised at how well he handled it, other horses gave trouble with the rocks throughout the day as well. Frankie got over it after that one little incident. We meandered through the woods and I put him in the middle and in the back just to see how he handled it. When his girlfriend Payback was in sight he was fine but let her get out of view and he worried and jigged me around. Our next surprise came when the horse in front of me tripped over a downed branch in the trail, this turned out to be a God send as a big timber rattlesnake was laying on the trail just beyond it. Here is a shot of the noisy fella.
Thankfully, he slivered over to the ditch and proceeded to warn us to stay away with his big rattles. I was surprised how calm the horses were as they passed within 6 feet of him. We could hear the river as we approached it, the shallows running over the rocks was beautiful and the horses were happy to have a long cool drink.
After letting the horses drink and cool off we headed up the other side and found that it was a good spot to park for lunch. We tied the horses and sat along the river enjoying our sack lunches. Frankie was more than happy to stand and rest in the shade of the trees. We finished up our goodies and saddled up for the rest of the trip, we decided that when we got back we would take our chairs and head to the river for our own cooling off. The trail paralleled the river for about a mile or so and it was so relaxing hearing the water and feeling the coolness of the river
a perfect ending to the ride. We did have to cross a small wooden bridge and then a big steel bridge to get back to camp, Frankie handled these in stride as well. Frankie was a worn out fella when we strolled back into camp at 2 pm. After I unsaddled him I sponged him down with a bucket of water and he was happy to see that hitching post and his hay bag!
We set off for the river with beverages and chairs in hand, the water was cold! We sat in the sun knowing just how lucky we were to be there in God's beauty. A short while later the boys came riding up and checked on us, I inquired about Frankie and if he was still tied and they told me he was laying flat out on his side tied to the rail. We all laughed and commented at how well he handled the day but that his little mind was probably exhausted like his body.
When I think about his life before me and all that he had to take in this past weekend I am pretty impressed with the guy!