Now talk about your perfect weather, this ride was in perfect weather.  Not sure who ordered it, but God sure answered the request beautifully.  Did I mention the weather was great?

The plan, formed at the conclusion of the previous day’s ride, unfolded marvelously.  Again, we met at the church.  From there we rode toward HQ, but left down to and across the river.  That was followed by a lazy stroll by the river for a ways before we crossed a beautiful field and began our ascent in the woods.  That would be the dangerous territory.  Here, horse-eating critters may dart from under a horse and cause him to fear for his life, at least for half a second.  Then his fear might be overcome by the amount of effort it takes to react.  The critter then becomes a dog again, and all is right with his world.  At least there were no coats.

After a good long climb, with a few dips and turns, we break out “on the ridge” – yay!  It is a remarkable hay field on the top of the world.  Normally, here we would rest our horses for a good spell while they snack on the luscious grass.  However, when we break out into the field we see a gentleman coming down the hill from our left riding a gaited paint, accompanied by not one but TWO loose offspring!  The foal was very small and stayed close to momma.  The other one, which I am assuming was her last year’s baby, was very curious and not so worried about what momma might say or where she might be.  The gentleman didn’t want to go on, so we did.  Even though he was very courteous in giving us a fair amount of space, it was still a little annoying that he was right on our heels.  I certainly can’t fault him for taking advantage of the opportunity to be out on such a day with his equine companions, and it turned out fine anyway.

So, anyway, after we decided to get on with it, we went up the hill to the right and rode the length of the ridge in that direction back to the wooded descent.  Spectacular views abound along the ridge.  Swords Creek to the left; Southwest and House and Barn to the right.  I’m pretty sure that right before we start down, I can see Bluefield straight ahead!  In addition to the one man – three horse combo, we passed a good group of about 20 riders doing about the same ride as we did, just in the opposite direction.  Down thru the woods to come out in another lovely field across which lies the river crossing to return.  On our left here is the river too, but on the other side of the river, here, is a sheer cliff wall about 20 stories tall.  We opt to ride thru the field.  Crossing the river, up to the left takes us to the show barn for another scary situation.  At the far end of the field/lot of the show barn is a gate that we must go thru to get up on the road, to get back to the church.  We were somewhat befuddled when we began to realize this gate has T W O hinges.  Lions and tigers and bears, oh my – what to do?  Fortunately our Olympic Gatekeeper kept her head as well as she keeps gates and we were not undone.  She was able to swing the gate open, even though it was fastened to the gate post with T W O hinges.  She’s just that good.  Now the part that still keeps me awake is why?  We had seen more than ample proof that T W O hinges is just wasteful.  Why not even one hinge is really necessary.  Just a couple of good wraps with some barbed wire at the top of any gate is plenty good enough.  Some gates don’t even require that.  If not opened properly, they may be equipped with a high-tech just-fall-down device which renders them flat on the ground.

Thanks to the Gatekeeper’s expertise we were able to get back to the road, and back to the church.  Carol and Bee had to rush off, but Debra and I had us a picnic, in the trailer – due to the bees.  Not sure what Sir Darth and Clem thought about us invading their space while they stood tied outside all alone.  Then we loaded up and headed home.

Per the gps, the ride was 6.5 miles, 2 hours and 30+ minutes.  The stats are included in the ‘endpoint’ on the map.  If you want the details, look in the sidebar pane at the left, click on the last line which is Kent’s Ridge (End).

Didn’t get nearly as many pics as I would like, due to the ‘traffic’ behind us, but there’s a few here.

The map of the ride is here.  Be sure to click the Satellite option in the top right had corner.  That’s the best view of this map!  You can also choose Terrain in the dropdown for a topo map.