Saturday, August 22, 2020 – Another Long Ride Day with Trish and Friends

Hi Babe!
For once I managed to go to be early, as promised, and fell asleep while I was reading, slept through till almost my alarm going off, a nice full 8+ hours, which I really needed! Had breakfast, then saddled up Flash, who was willing but not thrilled about heading out again, and even Lola needed a bit of encouragement after our long day yesterday. We headed out on the orange trail (probably my least favorite here, mostly because a lot of it is either muddy or gravelly), but I had to do nearly five miles on it to get to the parking lot where I was meeting the rest of the gang at 11:00. I gave myself 90 minutes, and was just a couple of minutes later, mostly because Flash was really a slug this morning. I put his boots on when we got through the muddiest sections, just before the gravel got really bad, and that improved his tempo considerably. We headed across the road from the parking lot, and within minutes arrived at a couple of the hot spots on the map, Table Rock, which is one of those crazy big rocks teetering on a much smaller pointed base, and Fat Man’s Squeeze, which was where the trail went between the main escarpment wall and a couple of big rocks that had fallen down eons ago, leaving about a four to six foot wide path between them. We then continued on the trail all the way down to the overflow parking for the Old Man’s Cave, which, it turns out, is a real destination point. The place was packed! A big main visitors center and a constant stream of foot traffic followed the path past a couple of waterfalls, along a creek for a bit more than a quarter mile, to the actual cave, so named because of a settler back in the 19th century that lived there, and circled back again. It reminded me of Watkins Glen without the incline, but nowhere near as big or long or interesting as that. I was kind of surprised it had such a crowd, and was such a big tourist site. I mean, it was nice and all, but it wasn’t all that big a deal. Well, maybe for city folk who never get out to the country, but the cliffs weren’t much more interested than the ones by our house back in Tennessee! But it was a beautiful ride, nonetheless. After we walked through, we headed back to our horses, who were waiting patiently across the road at a hitching post, had our lunches, then headed back. That was the only drawback, it was all linear, just out and back again, but still, a lot was in pine forest, which I always like, and there were some nice trails and grades to traverse. It was about 18.5 miles for me, but I had a few more miles than the group, because their camp was closer to the parking lot. Flash did great, I even put him at the back of the pack just to get him used to not being in front all the time, and he was pretty good. Once the group peeled off, he started to run faster, but that didn’t last long, wisdom set in, and he slowed down for most of the rest of the way. As soon as we hit the gravel again, I put his boots back on, since I had taken them off earlier when we hit dirt trails. We managed to get all the way back to camp without losing one, even when we went through some pretty deep mud, yay! Washed him down, put everything away, and after awhile, headed back over to their camp for supper, which this group takes great pride in. Beautiful grilled pork chops and lots of sides, delicious! And always better because I didn’t have to do any cooking or cleaning up!. Got back just before it got dark, fed the horses, showered, had my ice cream, watched one Voyager, and now I’m SO ready for bed! Tomorrow will be a laundry/equipment clean up day, with as much rest in between as I can manage. I need a day off! Good night, my darlin’! Love you!

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