Saturday, September 5, 2015

Iron Mountain Horse Camp Weekend

I said that I wouldn't try and catch up with old news, 
but this was only 10 days ago so I'm giving myself a special dispensation!

The tires on the living quarters trailer were growing square; 
it has sat unused by the garage since last winter!  
We've been riding regularly and trailering the horses to day riding spots with our small trailer, 
but hadn't planned an overnight trip since last winter.  
Finally the stars aligned:  
we thought the horses were in good enough shape to handle some back-to-back long rides 
AND we were able to set aside a few days to get away.

We decided on the eastern section of the Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area for no particular reason other than that we'd never been there and it was an easy 3 hour drive from the barn.  

There are several primitive (and free) campgrounds in the area for horses, 
but since it was a weekend 
and we wanted to be assured of a place to park, 
we anted up and paid in advance for a reserved site at Iron Mountain Horse Camp.
Cloud and I at the camp entrance
Atta's trail riding days are over, especially in the mountains, 
but she was along for the adventure and so was Noel!  
We decided to give the old 19 year old tabby a chance and see how she'd handle camping in the RV and she did brilliantly, loving every minute of being in the trailer.  
Sleeping in.....
She rode over and back in the truck securely in a crate next to Attagirl; 
aside from a few quiet meows to remind us that she was there, 
she didn't even seem fazed by the truck ride.  
We joked with people that if she escaped and was lost at the campground, we'd never be able to Lexington.  So we were paranoid about remembering to close the door immediately 
though she never gave any sign of wanting to slip out.

While Atta and Noel entertained each other in the air conditioning, 
we logged almost 30 miles on the trails and never had any issues.  
It was rocky.....VERY rocky.... in places
with a some substantial elevation changes but nothing we weren't expecting.
Thank goodness that we both ride with a Garmin GPS because the map provided by the camp was more confusing and wrong than helpful!  
The most difficult section of our weekend riding: Devils Den
Parts of the Virginia Highlands Trail were dead ringers for our old regular riding territory  near Gloster MS, in the Homochitto National Forest.
This was one of the very few distant mountain views as we were largely in deep woods,
but if we go back in the fall or winter there should be plenty of visible long range views.

Noel isn't the only one who is 19.....
Sarge is also closing in on 20 and is still looking good and showing no signs of needing to retire.
The camp was quiet, neat and clean and the manager was very helpful and friendly.   The barn was also spic and span and with sturdy stalls.  
Posing at the camp entrance sign
All in all a great weekend and a fun getaway.


  1. That sounds fabulous! I don't have horses any more so I really envy those that do fun things with them. Doubt I could do more than a two hour ride, though.

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