I have now attempted four times to write a nice, concise and entertaining post that would include all the fun we had the four days we were away. It isn't possible. Then I wrote out one extremely long post that covered it all, but I was too bored to finish it and if I am bored writing it then I know you will be bored reading it. Instead you get to experience a mini series.
The work week leading up to our departure was slamming busy. Good for actually paying the bills for once, bad for having any time to do anything else. When Wednesday came and I got home around 9pm yet again and still had to grocery shop and pack for the trip, I knew we wouldn't be leaving the next morning as early as planned.
Still, we managed to pack the truck for three humans and one dog for a long weekend camping and be out the door by 8 am. Pretty amazing really. We swung by the barn to wrap Gem's hoof and grab my saddle, pad and girth to take with us. I was really sad to be leaving the barn without hooking up the trailer and bringing Gem along with me, but such is life. We managed to hit the road for real by 8:45 am.
Somewhere along the way Dusty spotted a deer alongside the road munching away on the bright green WV grass.
D: Look Wyatt. A deer.
W: No, Daddy. That's a chicken.
D: No, I'm pretty sure that's a deer.
W: No. It goes cock a doodle doo. Its a chicken.
Hard to argue with that logic.
Einstein was absolutely amazing. This was his first extended car ride and he just spent the time snoozing between us in the front of the truck. He earned some major brownie points.
|He just chilled the entire ride.|
As we got closer and closer, my excitement began to soar and I left behind my pity party of having to leave my mare behind. This trip had ceased to be about horses and had turned into our first family vacation and a much needed one at that.
8ish hours after we left home we crested a hill and saw ride camp spread out in all its glory below:
|The road sides were most excellent making it very hard to get lost getting to camp|
|Driving up and looking down on camp nestled between the hills.|
|Camp was pretty empty Thursday afternoon since the ride wasn't until Saturday. This field would fill up quickly the next 24 hours.|
As we wound down the gravel drive, I looked up the text Liz had sent with a picture of her camp. We planned to set up beside her and I had promised her that Wyatt was no louder than the average drunk endurance rider. I'm not so sure that I kept that promise. Sorry Liz!! We found her right where she said she would be: tucked away beside the river in the shade of some trees.
I jumped right out of the truck (technically it may still have been moving a little) and ran over to say hello. I was so happy to be there!! We hugged and even though we had just met, it felt like hugging an old friend.
We set up our tent and met our other neighbor for the weekend. Her name was Cindy and she had entered the 50 on her 15 year old home bred Arab mare, Sara. Cindy was extraordinarily nice and welcoming and we gabbed a lot over the course of the weekend. Her mare joined us for breakfast each morning, begged hot dogs off us for lunch and avidly listened in on Wyatt's reading time. She was a great mare.
Camp sits in a small, privately owned valley stuck between the river and tree covered hills. The only way out is back up the very steep drive to the gravel road. After settling in, Liz came over and offered up a ride to see the trails. Then she followed this with one of the sweetest things ever: she had scrounged up red tack for Griffin (he usually wears green or orange) as well as a red and black club shirt for me. It was something so small, so seemingly insignificant and yet it made all the difference in the world to me. Liz is amazing.
|Liz's Q and Griffin|
We headed up the hill and I will admit to being slightly nervous to be on a 5 year old. He was an excellent boy though and we charged up the hill in a deep canter. Once on the gravel roads, Liz informed me that we would need to lead and I was all too familiar with the reasons behind it. It turns out that mentally Gem and Q are pretty similar and I could fully relate to and understand Liz as she dealt with Q on the trails.
|Photo credit to the hubby. Griffin looked very handsome in his tack.|
We rode part of the yellow loop which crossed over the river and headed along ATV trails. We talked and laughed and the trail just flew by under us. Before I knew it we were heading back to camp and Liz exclaimed that we had done 8 mile. Ooops!! Sorry, Q! Griffin had been a blast to ride. He was forward and forgiving and man does he eat up the trail with his stride. Whereas Gem will put in a 1 mph walk (seriously, I have clocked her going that slow in the past), he effortlessly laid down a 4-5 mph walk in the hills. If he shows any interest in the whole endurance thing, people need to watch out. He will be a force to reckon with.
We made it back and headed over to the "pot luck". Now, I despise pot lucks. Truly, deeply and fully. Pot lucks and I have a bad history and so when she had said it was a pot luck I had taken a deep breath and made sure my own cooler was fully stocked back in camp. When we walked over my jaw dropped. This was no pot luck. This was a full on feast. They just kept dumping out loads of delicious smelling food in heaps: corn, shrimp, sausage, potatoes, salads, fish, wings, peppers. It never ended and all of us were stuffed to the gills by the end.
After dinner, we waddled back to camp and the three of us crashed under the stars with Wyatt for his first night ever in a tent. He did great and slept the night away with minimal fuss and hopefully sweet dreams.