Posted by: millspaw | May 26, 2012

Day Two: Hocking Hills State Forest Equestrian Campground Monday, May 21, 2012

Dan and I had a good night’s sleep and woke up at 6:00. The horses were glad to see us and they had rested well. Since we had arrived so late, we just pulled into the first big campsite we found. What we found in the morning was that is smelled! You might think that is to be expected in a horse camp, but this smell was so strong and foul that we decided to move to a different site after our ride.

We conferred and decided that we would ride the Orange Trail that we did last year and take pictures this time of the beautiful rock formations. The Orange Trail is 6.8 miles out and back, but we also wanted to visit Chapel Cave which adds another 3 miles onto the ride.

These trails are rated “not for beginners” and it is true. They are steep and one-horse narrow between banks in some places. There are many boggy, muddy spots made that way by all the springs. Arty was game for everything, being a former Endurance Race horse, but Sayid couldn’t understand why we would want to enter a rocky, narrow, root-laden path. After some cowboy discipline, he decided that he had better go where I asked.

The trails that aren’t narrow are wood’s roads that have been maintained with limestone gravel. These are very hard on the hooves. Last year when we rode, Sayid hadn’t yet been shod. He had trouble walking on those rocks. This year he did much better with his brand new day old shoes.

Our first stop was at Conkle’s Hollow. The state forest has built overlooks and boardwalks overlooking the gully. They have conveniently provided a place to tie up your horse while take some pictures of the scenery.

Next, we traveled on to Chapel Cave. This large natural rock cave is deep in the gully with rocky ledges surrounding it. A perfect place for some more pictures.We decided to turn around and travel back the way we had come to avoid steep, boggy trails. We arrived at Airplane Rock picnic area and ate our lunch while the horses rested. Airplane Rock is not marked and there is a short walk to it that is restricted to people only. This large, flat rock outcrop gives a beautiful view of the valley as you stand atop it.

Sayid started acting very tired and chose to stop and rest part way up most of the inclines as we traveled back to camp. Both horses had water at all of the small streams that we crossed. The temperature was in the high 70’s and Dan and I kept hydrated, also.

After five hours we arrived back at camp and found that Sayid had developed a minor saddle rub on his left girth area. I iced it after we sponged the horses down. Tomorrow we will have to find a way to protect it. A nap was in order for the humans and the horses.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that none of the other twenty two sites have any riders at them. We are in solitary, primitive camp heaven!


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