11-02-2010, 03:02 PM
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Well I'm back. We had a wonderful trip. Here is a rundown on it.
1) We got up early (4 am) Wednesday morning and it was storming (1st rain we've had in 2 months) so we just rolled over and went back to sleep for another 2 hours. We got up around 7 and loaded everything up, went to the barn. Fed Cait and Elvis (yes that is his name, and it truly suits him) about that time another downpour came thru and we enjoyed every drop that fell!!! We finally got to leave about 8:30, stopped about 10 to eat breakfast.
We rolled into Townsend, Tennessee and into the place we stayed about 11:30. We stayed at Gilbertson's Lazy Horse Retreat. Melody the owner was very friendly and accomodating. We had rented 2 stalls and a corral for turn out. The cabin we stayed in was older but perfect for us. It had 2 bedrooms we only needed one but spread all our stuff out into the other one. There were other cabins on the property. Another couple drove up about 30 min after we did and we discovered they lived about 30 minutes from us.
After talking to them we decided to put the horses back on the trailer and go ride for a couple of hours. We drove to Cades Cove (very famous and beautiful valley in the Smokys) parked in a lot that is for trailers. Saddled up and took off up the side of the cove, we came across a flock of turkeys with about 10-15 in it. My mare Cait only startled and went right on. We rode with the other couple and they led us up the mountain and along the ridge then on switchbacks back down. The trail was very steep in spots and had a couple of places that was downright dangerous if we had been going DOWN instead of UP. There were lots of small rocks and large rocks which we are use to. I would suggest having borium or drill tech put on your shoes. Well worth the small amt of money to have it added. We got back to the barn and fed the horses and took our stinking selves to townsend (5 minutes away) to eat.
2) Thursday we got up and fed, met another couple from NC with gaited horses and rode with them. They had been coming to Gilbertson's for many years. They had the typical tall leggy TWH. We have Spotted Saddle horses that are more stocky. Another couple from Michigan who drove 12 hours to get there was going also. They rode a beautiful buckskin mare and a arabian. They had to do plenty of trotting and loping to keep up.
For this ride we drove toward Cades Cove but not into the cove, we were going to park our triailers on the side of the road (in a turn out area) and ride back to the barn. One of the women who was our fearless leader on the leggy TWH knew the trail. We went on some typical trails thru some beautiful areas. We ate lunch at a very pretty rushing stream. Then got on an old logging type roadbed, it was breathtaking because of the stream beside it and the moutain laural all around. We then had to ride on a paved road (dead end road with hardly any traffic) that was fairly steep. Once again I was glad we had the drill tech on our horses. The QH mare and Arabian slipped some on their back feet. Ours didn't slip or slid a single bit. When we got back to the barn, the guys loaded up in a car one of the couples had rented and went back to get the trailers. We got cleaned up and went to eat at AJ's for some delicious fried catfish, I am not a fish eater but it was wonderful.
3) On Friday we decided to give the horses a rest because most of the trails we had been on were steep and rocky. We don't ride much in the summer, we do most of our riding in the winter here so they were out of shape. We turned Cait and Elvis out in the paddock and we left for Cherokee NC, my hubby wanted to fish on the Indian Reservation. We had a beautiful trip over the mountains, the leaves were still georgous down lower, the middle zone was mostly gone and the top of the mountains were mostly bare. The weather was perfect, cool in the morning and warm in the afternoon. We left Cherokee and went back thru Gatlinburg to Piegon Forge (there was a store I wanted to go to) and got back tot he barn by 5:30. We went back to AJ's to eat again.
4) On Saturday we had planned to ride with the couple with the leggy TWH but at the last minute decided the trail they were going on might be too much for ours, so we went back into Cades Cove. This time we drove 1/2 way around the cove and parked at the other end. We rode a trail that was mostly an old logging type trail, it once again was beautiful and rugged, not steep or hard but had a lot of smaller rocks in some places. We saw another flock of turkeys and 5 deer walked around a curve in the trail straight toward us. My Cait only startled some when she saw them but she kept looking for them the rest of the trip. We got to the top of the mountain about 2 hours into the trail when we noticed Elvis had lost a back shoe. We decided we would turn around and take it easy going back down. Elvis did fine, just gave to that leg when he stepped on a rock wrong. That was a beautiful trail that I would love to ride again.
5) Sunday, we got up early and fed, loaded our stuff on the trailer and took off towrd home. We had a 3 hours drive and got home before 12.
Overall it was a great trip. I was proud how my horses did. We have not had these two horses long and had not ridden with a group. They did fine with other horses. Although my Cait is a lead horse and she wanted very badly to be in the lead. I don't know if we will go back only because of the traffic. Going anywhere is on a fairly narrow winding road. Lots of traffic with tourist everywhere. You can't get anywhere FAST!
I think our next trip will be back to Big South Fork. It has great trails and very FEW people.
If anyone has any quesitons I will be happy to try and answer them