Saturday was such a wonderful day here in North Georgia. The sky was brilliant blue and hardly a cloud in it! Temps in the high 60 and low 70's.
We(Hubby and I) got up at our normal time and decided to ride at Garland Mountain which is about 45 minutes away. It is just over the county line in Cherokee County on Hwy 140. We loaded up our shedding filthy mares Maci and Maggie.
When we turned off Hwy 140 onto the road going up, up to Garland Mountain trailhead/parking lot everything seemed normal. Hubby even said, maybe we are here early enough that we will beat the crowd that I am sure will be here today". Well on the last turn to the parking lot we saw a homemade sign on a road cone that said "Garland Mountain Race". We both looked at one another and said "uh oh" Sure enough as soon as we got within sight of the parking lot it was COVERED up in cars and folks running around in short shorts!!! Gerrrrrr!
We pulled up to the entrance of the parking lot and asked the volunteer to move the cones so we could pull up and back around to get out of the craziness!!
On the way down the road, back the way we had come I called a buddy and asked about a place that I knew could be ridden but had never been there. Pine Log Wildlife Management Area. He gave us directions and away we went. When we got to Hwy 411 we turned south, traveling about 5 miles to the small community of White. We turned where designated and found the Ranger check in station. It just so happened that I had a map of this area in my map case so I dug it out. We parked, saddled up and took off up the mountain on an old gravel road.
After going about 1 mile we heard some heavy equipment. As we got closer we realized that they were logging timber out of this area, there was a skidder, bulldozer and a machine that rips the limbs off the trees when they push/pull the tree thru it. I thought to myself... oh boy!!
My Maci is 5 years old and a very sensible mare, Hanks Maggie is not quite 4 and is Maci's 1/2 sister and so far has been extremely level headed except when it comes to those ear/neck/head eating clippers. We topped the last rise before we could actually see the equipment working. We had been hearing it for several minutes and the horses were just very interested and looking for the noise.
They both just stood stock still watching the bulldozer work it way from one side of the road then across the road and pull trees to the other side where the limb trimmer was. We watched the bull dozer work then stepped forward and they could see the other machine pick up a tree push it into the machine that rips the limbs off. It makes a different noise and they both flinched but stood their ground. Good GIRLS!!! We watched for about 5 minutes, there was lots of things to look at with all the trees flying high in the air, bulldozers pushing down and pulling along. They then walked forward when we asked, it was a very slow walk, but a walk none the less!!
When we got by all that excitement we came upon trucks with men in them and then came upon a bulldozer sitting still not running and a machine that has a hook on the front to grab trees and pull them along. We let the girls walk up to them and look/smell them. Then along the road we went.
About 30 minutes after the timber excitement we came upon the prettiest little creek that had a perfect lunch spot.. We decided to come back there to eat if we didn't find anything better. We rode on thru some closed to traffic gates and enjoyed our ride up and around the management area. We didn't get to explore side roads, so we will go back to explore more.
We did find more creeks, but nothing compared to that first pretty one. So we rode back and had a wonderful lunch beside a beautiful babbling brook!!! After lunch we rode a little more and then headed on out.
The timber guys were still hard at work, naturally since we were riding toward them from a different direction it was all brand new!! They once again, just stopped LOOKED and LOOKED. There was a new thing going on... there were trees flying very high into the air hanging from a machine that picked them up from one side, swung around and placed them into a truck. It was funny seeing trees flying so high in the air! The girls did GREAT!!! They stopped, looked and calmly walked on. They both almost broke their necks turning from side to side looking at everything. There were more men in trucks and actually 2 bulldozers working along with some kind of bulldozer type thing that was working near the claw that picked up the trees. The men in the truck almost scared them when the truck door opened unexpectedly. Other than that I could not have ASKED for better behaved horses. What could have been a rodeo, turned into a wonderful learning experience!!
We now have a new place to go ride and plan to go back very soon!