Gettysburg Battlefield Trip

We decided to go for a long weekend to Gettysburg and packed the horse trailer and the RV with everything we needed so the Friday morning we left, we just had to load the horses, the cats and dog and ourselves and go. We took 2 vehicles–one to tow the horses and the fifth wheel RV trailer. Fortunately we have 2 trucks so we could tow them both.
The trip down to Gettysburg was uneventful, mostly highways and Artillery Ridge Campground had said to follow their directions on their website and not the GPS. The GPS takes you right through town, which tends to be very crowded and with tons of traffic lights will easily double or triple your time. We stayed on the highway while the GPS kept saying ‘recalculate’ and trying to make us turn at every exit until we saw the exit mentioned on the website. It turned out to be a straight run putting us on the very road we needed to be on.
We pulled into the campground, got out our Coggins & Health certifications, our reservations and got our site. Our campsite was complete with a 20×20′ paddock for the horses, water, sewer and electric for our RV, plus space to park our horse trailer & trucks. We got the RV situated, got the slide outs out and the cats and dog into the RV. We unloaded the horses which were happy to get out and stretch their legs, pull them into the paddock with some hay to relax and enjoy. Of course it was around 2pm and hot and humid –we were both power sweating at this point. Mike decided it was too hot to make lunch so we went down the road to a wonderful little BBQ place that does great smoked BBQ. The smell is amazing, so worth it after 4 hours of towing and setting up.
We relaxed for the rest of the day and planned our horse trail ride for the next day, Saturday. We woke up early, fed the horses and gave them hay and cooked omelets on the grill for breakfast. We got tacked up and started out around 10am which in hind sight was a little late since the temperatures were going up into the 90’s. The equine trail on the battlefield has some shady areas, but most of it tends to be out in the open, fields and orchards of newly planted peach trees that offer no shade at all.
The trails are well marked, with a couple of places where it’s muddy–with all the rain they’ve had, they have closed off, and made go a-rounds which can be tricky to find. The campground also offers horseback rides complete with earphones so each person gets a guided tour of the battleground and what happened where. Mike and I had done this on an earlier trip so we knew the general layout of the 4 day battle and where happened where. Imagine the soldiers trying to get over those interesting fences and you can imagine how scary and chaotic the battle must have been.
The horse trail does not allow you to go up to Little Round Top, the trail goes around the back of that mountain–but they had it closed off because Hurricane Irene had made such a mess of the trail the year before and it still hadn’t yet been repaired. We spent a good 4 hours out that day, and got back and hosed the horses, and ourselves off too, since everyone was sweating up a storm. In fact we got later that evening–a wild thunder and lightning storm. We made friends with another couple who also brought their horses and we all decided to go into town and get tickets for one of the many ‘ghost tours’ they have. Of course, by the time the ghost tour was to start it was starting to rain–but everyone went anyway–the thunder and lightning just added to the ghostly presence!
Sunday morning was another sunny hot day and this time we did an early morning ride which was so much more pleasant…the cool dew breeze was so enjoyable. We did a 2 hour ride and got a lot of photos this time. (See photos). The footing is wonderful for the horses, they do not need shoes–ours are shod anyway so it didn’t really matter to us. People are friendly, lots of other horseback tours–it seems 2 other places give tours too. Generally we get off the trail to the side, since we know these people don’t horseback ride and their horses are apt to follow you if you get too close. The guides are always appreciative and if you catch up with them while they’re crossing a road, will hold the traffic up for you to get across too.
The day we were to go home our horses figured out how to pick the latch on the paddock and let themselves out–and ran off. We had several other RVers plus the people we made friends with tried to help us catch them but no luck. When I called the campground office to see if we could get more help–the head wrangler flat out refused–which was disappointing to say the least. We finally got them out in a hay field to come to our new friend Rich with a bunch of carrots. There’s nothing like a carrot from someone who doesn’t ride them. Needless to say we and the horses were exhausted after that ordeal.
Moral to this is have an extra lock on the paddocks–because you never know. We have electric fence at home and they do respect that…they saw this gate in a whole different light–and it was easy to pick with a couple of quick, clever lips.
Fortunately our trip home was fairly uneventful except for some major traffic backup on Route 80 in PA. But it kept moving and only added another 1/2 hour on to our time. We enjoyed our trip to Gettysburg Battlefield and may do it again someday.

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Twin Elm Guest Ranch Trip

It was a few months before my husband’s birthday and we wanted to take a trip and go horseback riding somewhere here in Texas. He came up with Twin Elm Guest Ranch which also has RV sites for camping and pens for our horses in addition to having guest rooms and guided horseback riding. It sounded like a plan so we made reservations.

It was an easy ride on Route 10 west for about 4 hours and about an hour on back roads to get there. We were told not to in the front entrance (because we were towing a trailer) but to go into the second entrance which is much wider! The RV full hookup site are right there and the horse pens are under the trees on the other side of the driveway.

I just checked on Google and it’s all still there.  This trip is from a couple of years ago–a few months after that trip our 1 horse died from COPD (better known as Heaves) and then a tragic turn of events after that with a new horse, I haven’t written much about our trips. Twin Elm Guest Ranch – address: 810 FM 470, Bandera, TX 78003

The scenery is amazing. We went on their trails and there was one by the river (see photo) that was heavenly. They don’t have a ton of trails but we heard from other campers that the Hill Country State Natural Area is a large park with rugged terrain offering 40 miles of multi-use trails, a campground & primitive sites–and it was right down the road. Address: 10600 Bandera Creek Rd, Bandera, TX 78003. We didn’t want to do primitive sites because we also wanted to see the town of Bandera–which is a quaint town with lots of shopping and restaurants. So no one could watch the horses and we certainly didn’t want our horses stolen!

We spent 4 days there and then there was a weather alert about a frost. We still had our other trailer back at the home ranch and certainly didn’t want those pipes to freeze so we packed up and went back home on day 5. Of course, we didn’t realize the temps get much colder in Hill Country than where we normal ride and camp which is near Houston. Note to self…..check weather back home before dashing home!

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Cherokee Trails Campground

Cherokee Trails Campground Trip

We're following a horse trailer on those narrow roads leading to the campground.

We’re following a horse trailer on those narrow roads leading to the campground.

We left from Fort Valley Ranch on a bright cold, sunny day and headed south to Tennessee on Route 81. I was pulling the 2 horse trailer with my Ram 1500 and Mike was pulling the 5th wheel RV with his Dodge Ram 3500. After about 4.5 hours we were off the highway and traveling back roads to our next destination. We saw signs for the campground but the roads kept getting narrower and narrower and I worried that our very tall RV was going to have an issue. Cars that were coming toward us had to pull over into the weeds to let Mike and our RV pass. Finally we got to the Cherokee Trails Campground and were able to stop and check in.

It’s a full service RV campground – complete with electric, sewer and water at every site. They have a large paddock near the entrance and a barn at the top of a steep hill that you cannot drive to. You must walk up the hill with your gear, food and hay—and of course your horse. It wasn’t cheap either – it cost us $212 for a 2 night stay. $20 per night per horse for stalls and an additional amount for the paddock each day plus the RV site fee. Hiking up the hill with the grain and hay was a real issue and it seemed to be an issue with others as well. There were 3 paddocks and if there was a horse in them the other horses had to stay in their stalls. You were to tack up at the barn too. We were not thrilled about having to haul our gear up there either. A wheelbarrow would have been helpful in that case.

Nugget eating grass in the paddock that climbs up the side of the hill.

Nugget eating grass in the paddock that climbs up the side of the hill.

The horse barn on the top of the steep hill.

The horse barn on the top of the steep hill.

There were a couple of dogs running around the place which caused an issue for our dog…he wasn’t thrilled that those dogs were running up to him while he was trying to do his business. They were other RVers dogs –not the owner’s. His dogs were well behaved and he was a retired gentleman who just enjoyed talking to people.

We checked out the trails and the only way to get to them was to walk on the roads. Having come up those roads we weren’t happy about being back on them on horseback. We talked to some of the other horseback riders and there was a trail you could take that would climb to the top of a mountain in the area. The views were supposed to be great. But the people who had gone were drenched in sweat and their horses were too. The temperatures were humid and climbing into the 90’s that day. We decided to give the horses a break and let them relax because they would be in the trailer again the next day anyway.

Looking down the main road from the campground.

Looking down the main road from the campground.

A view of the paddock near to the road that leads to the barn - though you were not to use the road with vehicles.

A view of the paddock near to the road that leads to the barn – though you were not to use the road with vehicles.

We went out to hunt for supplies and finally found a gas station and convenience/food store about 5 miles away. Not much else is around the area. It wound up raining so we figured we made the right choice!

The next morning we packed up and headed out to our next place in Tennessee…also about 4.5 hours away.

901 Morrell Creek Ln, Bluff City, Tennessee 37618
(423) 391-0118
http://www.cherokeetrailscampground.com/

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Mammoth Cave Horse Camp Vacation

In 2013 we promised some of our NJ horseback riding friends, Deb & Rich, that even though we were moving to Texas we would meet them somewhere and go ride with them again. We had original met them at Artillery Ridge Campground in Gettysburg, PA. We were admiring their horse trailer with Living quarters–and then had discovered they only lived about 12 miles away from us!

So in 2014 we decided to find a horse campground in the middle—and that wound up being in Tennessee. Google maps said that it would take us both about 12 hrs to travel there. Mammoth Cave Horse Camp had 5 star reviews so we made reservations. My husband and I realized we didn’t want to tow both the RV & the horse trailer so we traded in the horse trailer and got a ‘new to us’ 2005 Keifer horse trailer w/LQ that had seen some better days. We worked on the trailer every weekend in July so it would be ready for the trip.

Nugget was thrilled to get into the trailer–she hopped right on. Bandit was more careful, but with her nickering to him–he got aboard. We got an early start–it was August in Texas–which as they say: “you’re 6 degrees from the sun!” LOL

Of course, in Arkansas we hit traffic which turned out to be construction… and we crawled along for miles. Fortunately we had decided to do 2 days of 6 hrs each day so we were able break it up even though that day wound up being 8+ hours. The place we had made reservations at was called Bar Fifty Guest Ranch. Very pretty and very quiet. The horses loved getting out of the trailer and relaxing. They had lots of RV hookups, pens for the horses and trails. Definitely would be nice to come back too someday. Address: 18192 AR-84, Bismarck, AR 71929.

Next day we were up early and back onto Route 30. We traveled thru Little Rock and Memphis and finally got off the highways to the back roads of Kentucky. Finally got to Mammoth Cave Horse Camp and called our friends to find out where they were–they were already there and set up! We had the entire campground to ourselves. Wow. Address: 2578 Ollie Rd, Mammoth Cave, KY 42259

Beautiful barn and stalls for the horses and the campground is up a hill a bit away. There’s an outdoor riding arena and outside wash stalls for the horses. Tons of trails in Mammoth Cave National Park some of which are a bit rocky and some softer. Our horses were not shod and our friend’s were but none of us had problems with hoofs getting chewed up. Each campsite has a fire pit and a picnic table, full hookups and trees galore if you want them… some sites are in the sun. Since it was August and 90 degrees–Deb and Rich decided on a site with trees and we gladly joined them.

It was a glorious week–sunny with some afternoon thunderstorms–but nothing could bother us. Nothing as wonderful as camping with friends. Later in the week another horse trailer w/LQ pulled from Illinois and of course we all wound up chatting and trading places to ride.

Definitely Mammoth Cave Horse Camp is one of the most beautiful places to stay and ride with your horses. Sadly, our friend Rich passed away last fall from cancer. We are so very glad we got to spend some wonderful vacation time with him and his wife horseback riding in the woods of Kentucky.

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Four K Stables Trip

It was Tuesday morning and we were a little apprehensive about our next place to ride. We were getting into the deep south and kept losing cell service—‘Four K Stables’ sounded like a back-woods kind of place. We loaded the horses into the horse trailer and hitched up the 5th wheel RV and left Faye Whittemore Farms which was a lovely place.

We headed southwest toward Mississippi and our next destination. 4 hours of driving more highways—with losing cell service for long distances—was making us a bit wary. We got off the highway and onto some really pretty back roads. Four K Stables is on a side road right in a town. It’s an unbelievably gorgeous barn with a small campground and a round pen for horses. The owner looked at us and said “Not what you expected, right?” OMG no! The barn has 10 12×12’ stalls with the sliding doors and feed bins. Huge fans in the back of the barn to let the hot air out. Everything was polished and spotless—not the ‘rural hick cowboy’ feeling we were expecting!

We backed the 5th wheel RV into a campsite complete with water, electric and sewer. Got the horses settled in the round pen that was full of clover that they promptly ate. The owner laughed and said that he didn’t have to mow it now. We always give the horses a break the day we travel—let them enjoy the new scenery and relax. We set up our chairs and Mike grilled hamburgers for dinner. We sat and watched the sun set and then put the horses into their stalls for the evening. The stalls themselves were tall as well as large, I remember Bandit getting upset he couldn’t see Nugget in the other stall. Even warmbloods would be comfortable in these stalls!

Four-K-Stables is located adjacent to the Long Leaf Equestrian Trail. The Long Leaf Trace has a 23-mile equestrian trail and 39-mile biking and walking trail. This is where we went after we tacked up and headed out first thing the next morning. Riding early is important because even in May it gets hot down in Mississippi! The equestrian trail is right there—you can’t miss it.

The trail association really caters to horses—they have water troughs with automatic water pumps so they are always filled along the trail every so often. It’s well marked and even have small stop signs when they cross a road. Benches every so often so bikers and walkers/joggers can rest too. Really nicely done.

It was misting in the early morning but we went out anyway. We were out for about 3 hours and by the time we turned around and came back we were all sweating. We gave the horses a hose down and let them dry in their stalls with all those shavings—with those big fans on. They had so much room they could roll all they wanted. Mike and I decided they really had the life in that barn!

We decided we would come back in a heart-beat. The facilities and the owner were wonderful. It was a fantastic place to stop. The name doesn’t do the place justice.

Thursday morning, we packed up and headed out for our next stop in Texas … another 5 hours away.

Four -K- Stables
Four K Stable Road
Bassfield, Mississippi
Phone: (601) 943-5003
http://www.campgroundviews.com/listing/four-k-stables/

 

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Faye Whittemore Farm Trip

It was Sunday morning and we were excited about our next place to ride. We packed up the horses into their horse trailer and hitched up the 5th wheel RV and we were off! We headed southwest toward Alabama and our next destination. 4 hours of driving highways—with quite a few places where we lost cell service (and the ability to talk to one another) we were off the highway and traveling back roads. This is a family farm with a campground and paddocks for horses and we had a problem finding it. This was a bit of a challenge with Mike pulling a 5th wheel RV and me towing the horse trailer with our horses Nugget and Bandit. The driveway is well marked though with a large elegant sign. It is long a long driveway with a large dip—but the RV did just fine.

We followed the long driveway to the end and it opens out into a field with a pretty red barn. The sites are all under the trees in the far end of the field. The people are nice and friendly with thick southern accents—I can’t imagine what they thought of us Yankees. They told us just to ‘pick a spot’ and set up which we did. We unloaded Nugget and Bandit—put them in two of the many paddocks set up under the trees. There was only one other horse trailer with living quarters there and it turned out the lady was there full-time with her two horses. Her husband was working in another state—in so she was living there until he returned. It was a gorgeous 16’ short wall Bison trailer with a slide-out. Very nice! She was friendly and gave us some tips and ideas where to find things.

We always give the horses a break the day we travel—let them enjoy the new scenery and relax. They always seem to be excited to see where they are—looking around and nickering to any other horse around. They are very sociable. Nugget was a bit sore so we gave her some Bute to help her relax that arthritic stifle.

There are over 35 miles of trails of varying skill ranging from beginner to even the most adventurous rider. There is plenty of shade, waterfalls, bluffs and creeks, everything to keep it adventurous.

Monday morning, we decided to explore the area with a horseback ride. We tacked up Nugget and Bandit and they were happy to be exploring too. The trails were very pretty and easy to get to—we just walked to the other end of the field and found the marked trail. The weather was humid, sunny with clouds which helped keep down the heat. The trails were mostly in the woods, up and down hills and across some lovely streams. There were some gnats in the woods but that was it. We had a very relaxing ride though the horses were sweating by the time we got back. We hosed them off and let them dry some, put them in their paddocks where they promptly rolled!

That night we saw a storm coming across the field—so dramatic with the intense clouds. We set up the chairs to watch the storm approach and enjoy the evening. It was a wonderful stop. We agreed we would definitely come back here again.

Tuesday morning, we packed up and headed out for our next place southwest in Mississippi … 4 hours away.

Faye Whittemore Farms
1335 Forrester Road
Jasper, Alabama 35504
Mobile: Ricky 205.522.4137
www.http://fayewhittemorefarms.com

 

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Timber Ridge Horse Campground Trip

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It was Thursday when we left Cherokee Trails Campground and it was on a hot, sunny day. We headed southwest to Timber Ridge Campground also in Tennessee. After 4 hours we were off the highway again and traveling a back road to our next destination. This campground was fairly easy to find and quite a few other people had the same idea as we did and there was a line to check in. No problems for us, we had made reservations a few weeks earlier. Tons of horse trailers with Living Quarters—we were the only 5th wheel RV in the place. Of course Mike was towing the 5th wheel while I was towing the horse trailer with our horses Nugget and Bandit.

It’s another full service RV campground – complete with electric, sewer and water at every site. They had us pull the horse trailer up to the barn and unload our horses—and one of the hands came over and cleaned out our trailer—we were so surprised and thrilled. What a nice touch! After 4 hours of driving, we were exhausted and this simple act was just so nice. They also helped us unload the bales of hay and other stuff we needed to keep in the barn with the horses. It’s a nice old barn with lots of air—a tall roof that allows lots of ventilation. Even though it was hot outside the barn was cool and relaxing. Another plus for us.

We got our 5th wheel RV into a spot between two trees and were able to get the slide outs open. We were pretty close to the barn and it turns out we also had the option of putting our horses into outdoor paddocks so they could move around and stretch their legs.

The trails were quite plentiful and easy to get to—simply walking into the woods and you’re there! We decided to let the horses relax and we went out to trail ride the next morning…of course it was misting outside…nothing new to us. It always seems to rain on our trips. I did get some amazing photos of the area and the trails. We had a wonderful time. Some of the trails are easy on the hoofs and some had quite a few rocks which made walking a bit more interesting. There were also patches that were full of bright red mud, and at the time we went, there was some building going on near one of the trails.

We came back from our ride, cleaned up the horses and put them out in the outdoor paddock under the trees. Nugget and Bandit were happy to be outside and nickered to all the horses they saw. We set up our chairs to relax near the RV. The sun came out, the breeze was gently stirring up the leaves on the trees and all was right in the world. At least that’s the way it felt to us.

The next morning, we packed up and headed out for our next place down in Alabama … about 4.5 hours away.

1426 Darrow Ridge Road
Jamestown, Tennessee 38556
931-879-RIDE (7433)
931-310-1530
http://www.timberridgehorsecampground.com

 

 

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Cherokee Trails Campground Trip

We left from Fort Valley Ranch on a bright cold, sunny day and headed south to Tennessee on Route 81. I was pulling the 2 horse trailer with my Ram 1500 and Mike was pulling the 5th wheel RV with his Dodge Ram 3500. After about 4.5 hours we were off the highway and traveling back roads to our next destination. We saw signs for the campground but the roads kept getting narrower and narrower and I worried that our very tall RV was going to have an issue. Cars that were coming toward us had to pull over into the weeds to let Mike and our RV pass. Finally we got to the Cherokee Trails Campground and were able to stop and check in.

It’s a full service RV campground – complete with electric, sewer and water at every site. They have a large paddock near the entrance and a barn at the top of a steep hill that you cannot drive to. You must walk up the hill with your gear, food and hay—and of course your horse. It wasn’t cheap either – it cost us $212 for a 2 night stay. $20 per night per horse for stalls and an additional amount for the paddock each day plus the RV site fee. Hiking up the hill with the grain and hay was a real issue and it seemed to be an issue with others as well. There were 3 paddocks and if there was a horse in them the other horses had to stay in their stalls. You were to tack up at the barn too. We were not thrilled about having to haul our gear up there either. A wheelbarrow would have been helpful in that case.

There were a couple of dogs running around the place which caused an issue for our dog…he wasn’t thrilled that those dogs were running up to him while he was trying to do his business. They were other RVers dogs –not the owner’s. His dogs were well behaved and he was a retired gentleman who just enjoyed talking to people.

We checked out the trails and the only way to get to them was to walk on the roads. Having come up those roads we weren’t happy about being back on them on horseback. We talked to some of the other horseback riders and there was a trail you could take that would climb to the top of a mountain in the area. The views were supposed to be great. But the people who had gone were drenched in sweat and their horses were too. The temperatures were humid and climbing into the 90’s that day. We decided to give the horses a break and let them relax because they would be in the trailer again the next day anyway.

We went out to hunt for supplies and finally found a gas station and convenience/food store about 5 miles away. Not much else is around the area. It wound up raining so we figured we made the right choice!

The next morning we packed up and headed out to our next place in Tennessee…also about 4.5 hours away.

901 Morrell Creek Ln, Bluff City, Tennessee 37618
(423) 391-0118
http://www.cherokeetrailscampground.com/

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Fort Valley Ranch in Virginia

Fort Valley Ranch in Virginia

Carol and Nugget at Fort Valley Ranch entrance.

Carol and Nugget at Fort Valley Ranch entrance.

We headed out on Route 84 South from our house in NJ on a bright clear morning in May 2013. After about 5 hours of driving we exited the highway and got on the back roads toward our first destination. I was in the lead pulling the horse trailer and my husband, Mike, was pulling the 5th wheel RV. Following the directions the GPS was giving to me, we started up a road that is a series of switch-backs. Switch-backs are a 180 degree turn to go up a mountain—yep…and there’s a series of them. I’m scared of heights and yet I couldn’t stop driving so I had to grit my teeth and keep going. Of course the views are spectacular from the top—just getting there was an ordeal. The horses handled it fine—I’m the one that needed a drink. Fort Valley Ranch is on the top of this mountain, a bit in on a side road. This is part of the Shenandoah Mountains that run through the west side of Virginia. At the top the road winds down the mountain and level out and with a few more turns wind up entering the long driveway of Fort Valley Ranch. There weren’t any other guests there when we arrived but the owner was welcoming and told us to take whatever site we wanted. They have electric, water and sewer at each site. Paddocks for the horses and also the smaller 12×2 pens are all set up and ready for whoever arrives to camp.

Our RV and truck in one of the campsites.

Our RV and truck in one of the campsites.

Some of the paddocks for the horses at the campground.

Some of the paddocks for the horses at the campground.

We set up and got the horses settled in some nearby pens and discovered they don’t like to be separated—even though they were so close they could touch each other, they didn’t like the pen fence separating them. Go figure. So the second day we put them out in a pasture and they were happy and ran all around the place.

They had a mild frost that night since they’re up in the mountains and it was only May but we’re used to cold weather and that didn’t dampen our spirits. We rose early the next day, ate a hearty breakfast that Mike, who is an excellent cook prepared and tacked up the horses. We rode them down the road to the first side road which is dirt and up about a ½ mile to the trail. It was marked with white rocks and once you get into the woods you see the well-worn trail. It winds up and through the mountains, around and though some streams and the views are so relaxing and calming.

Our horses like the large turn-out better and since there was no one else there we could use it.

Our horses like the large turn-out better and since there was no one else there we could use it.

It was an enjoyable ride and we were hungry for lunch when we arrived back at the ranch. We grilled some burgers on the grill and just hung out for the rest of the afternoon—we had the entire place to ourselves and our critters. We also have a dog and 4 cats—the cats stay in the RV, they’re strictly indoor cats. There’s a place to dump the horse poop and a barrel to clean your pens or paddocks. The Ranch is clean and well taken care of. They also have trail rides on the weekends from the literature they had in the office.

The next morning we packed up to go to our next destination on our trip but we had a wonderful time and we would go back there again in a heartbeat. Perhaps when it’s a little warmer!

Address: 299 S Fort Valley Rd, Fort Valley, VA 22652
Phone: (540) 933-6633
Website: www.fortvalleystable.com

Some of the trails we tried in the park. They were hilly butt not rocky at all.

Some of the trails we tried in the park. They were hilly butt not rocky at all.

Mike on Bandit traveling down one of the park's roads. We only saw 1 car the entire time on that road.

Mike on Bandit traveling down one of the park’s roads. We only saw 1 car the entire time on that road.

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Cook Forest Scenic Horse Campground

Cook Forest Scenic Horse Campground

truck and trailer at Cooks Forest

It’s been a long time in writing this because this was one of those trips that wasn’t the fun time I had envisioned. My horse got hurt and what was supposed to be a vacation wasn’t. It was one of those rainy summers in Pennsylvania and that meant muddy trails. How muddy was an eye opener to us.

Let’s start at the beginning. It was a bright sunny day–we hitched up the RV and the horse trailer, loaded the horses and took off on our July 2012 summer vacation. We had 2-meter radios (we’re both licensed ham radio operators) so we could talk to one another and relay info. My truck was having an issue with some of the long mountain climbs on Route 80 that could go on for miles, and my husband was having to slow down to let me catch up so either one of us were happy campers. After 5.5 hours we got to the campground after mistakenly following the GPS and not the listed directions. It had taken us down a few back roads and through what looked like a dirt road even though the GPS had ‘dirt roads’ omitted from the route. Go figure. Follow the listed directions on their website and you won’t have any problems. http://www.patrailride.com/

We arrived and there was no one in the office. Seems it was their son’s wedding and no one was around at all even though we had reservations. Finally after an hour of standing around, some of the other guests told us to just take a spot and set up which we did. We really wanted to get the horses out of that trailer! There are electric and water hook-ups, the dump station is around the other side of the barn which made it a bit challenging for some of those with long horse trailers with LQs to get to.

We set up, got the horses settled and talked to some of the other guests who were now coming back from their rides. We got a map and were told that some of the trails were muddy. They have an indoor arena surrounded by box stalls, and an outdoor arena. The trails start behind the barn with the indoor arena and the outdoor arena. There’s also a main barn where they serve lunches and dinners for special events and the food is delicious. They also had a band one night and fun was had by all.

The first day was warm and sunny and we hurried through breakfast, eager to tack up and hit the trails. We picked a trail that some of the guests said wasn’t too muddy and the trail was pretty. We were enjoying the beauty of the trail but one downhill slope was so muddy the horses sunk up to their chests in mud. That was our first OMG moment. The trails are marked but there are several ‘green’ paint marked trails and they cross each other at several places so it is easy to get lost…which we did. Several times. One time when we got lost we found a road and the GPS on our cell phone alerted us to which direction we needed to go to get back to camp again. My horse, Nugget, slipped on the road, her back left leg slid out behind her and she hurt her stifle badly. We limped back to the campground, fortunately I was wearing my hiking boots because it was a long way back. We gave her Bute and hosed both her & Bandit down because the temps were in the 90’s and humid, both horses were sweating (along with us) and I wanted to get some cold water on her back leg.

We found the trails challenging to say the least. Lots of steep climbs, tons of deep mud and definitely not for the faint-hearted. We had 2 friends who went there at the end of August and had issues with the mud too. It’s very pretty, lots of evergreens and streams. Shoes are a must for the horses – it’s very rocky, though we had the mud almost suck the shoes off the horses.

Between Nugget getting hurt, the shoes almost coming off both horses and the weather forecast was rain for the last 3 days of our vacation, we decided to pack it in and leave early. We met some people who loved the place and go there every year. Would I go again? No, our experience was not a favorable one.

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