No, you cannot have Dunkin Donuts to munch in the trailer.  Location.  Paradise Found?

Boy what a crisp morning for a ride.  I feared a frost would greet us at Fox Creek, but no, we were safe from that.  There was a handful of trailers that were camping when we arrived about 900a, and they had campfires going.  The fires sure looked cozy.  We were on and heading out of camp by 940a, so I thought we did pretty good time wise.  I think Debra was tacked up and ready at 915a.  She proceeded to make herself useless by sitting on the picnic table while Clem got warmed up.  I think there’s a snapshot of this in the album.  At least she was out of the way.

We headed up the FS road / VHHT.  There was a few drops of condensation that settled on us, but nothing became of it, thankfully.  We were determined that it was NOT rain.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say the weather was perfect, but it actually was good riding weather.  I’m used to layers, so no big deal that I rode in four layers in JUNE.  The horses stayed nice and cool, even a little fresh now and then; well, some were fresher than others.  We rode VHHT, over to Cherrytree Shelter, then down thru the meadow (where everybody – not just Toasty – wanted to be sure the BBB-Big Black Bull was still on his side of the road and inside his fence), and back to camp.  We got back at 130p, so we were out about four hours for a very good ride.

We took advantage of the grass, the picnic table, and mostly the delightful sunshine and lunched at the shelter, courtesy of Laura.  Boursin on pecan chips, peas-I think baby sugar snaps, and shortbread cookies was my meal.  There was some other stuff too, but why dilute the really good stuff – so I didn’t.  Laura regaled us with stories of their hiking adventures on the Appalachian Trail a few years ago.  She knew what the mice-proof pack hangers were!  We thought they were red-neck wind chimes; you know, the really quiet kind, with no chime.  There’s a pic in the album.  She’s a regular Wikipedia and skilled in much more than Marine Biology.  Good thing too, because try as we might, we never saw the first whale all day.

We did get some flora lessons though.  We learned the Chestnut Oak, and had multiple reviews of the goosefoot maple.  One must be prepared to hear it referred to as anything from a gooseneck maple to a turkey-trot tree by the Terminally Terminologically Challenged member of the group.  She knows who she is.  She will not be able to accurately identify herself in words, but she knows.  We learned squaw root, aka squirrel corn.  Again, this may also be referred to as any combination of the terms as apparently they are completely interchangeable according to the Leprechaun Lexicon(tool used religiously by the Terminally Terminologically Challenged).  Squirrel root, squirrel corn, squaw root, squaw corn,!  Also it was determined that cauliflower is simply broccoli without any chloroform.  I guess that’s good to know because I do like cauliflower, but I like broccoli too.  Never knew why I felt so sleepy after ingesting it.  Debra plans to go to market with Farmboy soon to explain the chloroform issues to potential customers.  Sure hope he keeps his day job.

We were a quartet of teams:  Laura / Toasty, Regina / Tango, Debra / Olympic Athlete Clem, me / Sir Darth Winston, Kardashian-bred Extraordinaire.  It was nice to have Regina / Tango with us.  Tango was a breath of fresh Appy air, sometimes pretty darn fresh too.  Definitely has his own persona, or would that be equinona?  Anyway, I enjoyed him.  Toasty I think was ok with him for the most part, but that Southern Women’s Assertiveness Training is really beginning to bring her out of her shell.  Apparently, she’s been practicing horse-agility too.  She was able to (under the guise of grazing) reach over, bloody Tango’s nose, and come up with a bite of grass accompanied by an expression of “he shouldn’t have been in my space” all right in front of me.  Despite seeing it, I still had to ask, “what was that?”.  Tango was self-conscious of his wound for the remainder of the day.  He refused to yield that side to the camera; clever boy he is.

Winston seems to go gravitate to the lead position.  I don’t think he wants to lead, it’s just that his stride catapults him to the front in a very few steps.  He’s definitely not the Braveheart of any group, although he does not resist the lead.  Tango took a few turns at lead but never seemed to embrace leading as his forte until the last half-mile or so.  Then he settled in and brought us safely back to camp, braving his way thru the treacherous mudholes that riddled the trail.

Clem seemed perfectly content to graze her way thru any and all excitement.  She is the epitome of dedication.  Nothing distracts her from her training.  She reminds me of, me.  I will have to say her fitness level makes me sick.  It was by no means a hard ride, but Winston was certainly sweaty under his saddle.  Had I not seen Clem with us, I would have sworn she hadn’t been ridden anywhere judging by the lack of any sweat or saddle marks after the ride.  No, Debra was not that fastidious in her post-ride grooming.  Clem always looks like that.  Even if she does sweat, it doesn’t leave marks.  It’s disgusting.

Other than birds, I don’t remember any wildlife at all.  They were probably all snuggled around their fires too.  There were some people fixing to ride out as we left camp.  We didn’t see anyone on the trail at all.  A small group of 3-4 did arrive at Cherrytree just as we were getting ready to leave.  That was when I decided to try the rope rein.  Just as I suspected, it was way too short.  But, I was already on, with the help of the handy-dandy picnic table.  So Debra, mounted also, switched out my reins for me in the Saturday edition of “How Many Pollacks Does It Take To . . .”.  Apparently two are sufficient for rein swapping because we got-r-done, albeit in comedic fashion.

Be sure to check out the pics here.  Fellow riders please fill in anything I left out in a comment.