Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Irish Creek (Big Bend) Trail

We went on this ride over a week ago, but I let it slip through the cracks.  Time to post about it though so I don't forget where we've been!

Barb and her husband Rich were nice enough to invite us to their home for dinner despite the fact that they barely knew us!  It's gestures of kindness like that which help us feel that we'll eventually fit in and have a circle of friends nearby.  

Apparently we didn't embarrass ourselves too badly at dinner since Barb suggested that we meet for a ride the next morning in the George Washington National Forest's Irish Creek area!

Irish Creek is named for .... you guessed it,  the Irish who settled in the valley during the mid 1700's.  It's a narrow deep valley with mountains coming down on each side of a small strip of land which ends at the Blue Ridge Parkway.  

We drove out SR603 and parked at the Irish Creek Cemetery on Irish Creek Road which was alongside Irish Creek..... are you seeing a pattern to the names here?!
Irish Creek.  Across the Road From the Cemetery
It was rifle season for deer;  however, since VA has a No Sunday Hunting law, we were fairly safe but we wore our orange vests just in case.   Barb rode her handsome black Rocky Mountain Horse and our three gaited horses kept up a nice pace together.



The unmarked trailhead was beside the cemetery and it began by going uphill alongside Big Bend Creek.  Will we ever get used to seeing clear bubbling streams, boulders and mountains?!  I hope not!
Big Bend Creek seen from up high
After about 2 miles of riding a slight uphill grade through the woods and following the creek upstream, we leveled out at  the top where the views opened up around us.  After posing for a few photos, we made a loop via some National Forest roads and headed back down to the trailers for a total ride mileage of about 6.5 miles.


The trail was wide with great footing for the horses, easy stream crossings and a gentle grade for climb.  The views were nice in the winter and I'd imagine that the shade and water access would make it a pleasant trail in the summer.  We'll be riding this one again!

5 comments:

  1. Beautiful animals! How I wish I could still ride!

    We've lived here for over 7 years and I'm used to seeing the things you mentioned but far from tired of seeing them. We have miles and miles of riding trails here, as well, including New River Trail State Park which follows an old railroad right of way for 57 miles, 39 of those paralleling the New River.

    http://www.virginia.org/Listings/OutdoorsAndSports/NewRiverTrailStatePark/

    http://dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/new.shtml

    http://www.traillink.com/trail/new-river-trail-state-park.aspx

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  2. such awesome countryside! and gorgeous horses, too! happy smiling faces on people don't hurt the photos either! :)

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  3. Beautiful trails Grace! It's wonderful to see the Virginia countryside because we both know I'm a country trail kind of person as well as yourself... although I do remember that we all clean up and can attend the socialite of events from time to time. I know there are friendly people willing to open their homes and hearts across the country, they just need to meet the right people such as Joe and you! Never will any place lack friendly faces for any such as your family. Keep warm! Miss you and have a Great holiday season! :)

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  4. It sounds like it was a great ride and glad to see you wearing your orange vests!

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  5. Hi Grace- it's wonderful to read about your new life in Virginia. I've been emailing a bit lately with Ada and she just sent me your link this morning. I love it here, but I sure do miss our old horseback riding gang. Looks like you're in riding heaven!

    Cheers,

    Debby
    Muckleford South, Victoria
    Australia

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