Our last trail ride of 2004 was in the Allegheny National Forest, Pennsylvania. My husband and I agree that it was the most spectacular camping/trail-riding trip we've ever had!
On this trip were my husband, Barry, and his horse, Sonny, a muscled, gentle, 18-year-old Quarter Horse who's been one of those "treasures" that come into your life. I was on my new horse, Chief, an easygoing 8-year-old overo Paint Horse who's become my "blessing in disguise."
The first week of October, we arrived at our secluded, scenic destination - Kelly Pines. We learned of the site through word-of-mouth from a previous camping trip. I initially thought Kelly Pines was named so because of its pine trees - but after seeing several "porcu-pines," I began to think differently.
Barry and I had the camping area to ourselves. There were no electric or water hookups, but there was a pump so we could provide water to our horses.
On one of our exploratory rides, we passed a forest sign that read "Buzzard Swamp." I thought it would make for interesting conversation when friends inquire, "Sooooo, where did you go on vacation?"
"Well, Buzzard Swamp of course."
When one rides off to find a swamp, one will become immersed in muck up to one's horse's belly. We never made it all the way to the swamp - but hey, we gave it a good try. And in the process, I learned how patient and trusting Chief's nature is. I also learned that a global positioning system can make for a more relaxing ride.
A campfire, a glass of merlot, and a Jeff Foxworthy CD in the Allegheny National Forest - I'd say we were in heaven. TTR
For more information, contact the Allegheny National Forest, (814) 723-5150; www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/allegheny