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We Are Flying Solo

March 23, 2010

Up And Down

In a small feat of willpower (and no small amount of ibuprofen) after Saturday morning's hullaballoo (which also set off a burgeoning migraine, oh fun fun fun), I gritted my teeth and hooked up the trailer that afternoon. I was NOT about to let a little pain (ok, a LOT of pain) get between me and a camping trip on a beautiful weekend!!

I met our bestest riding buddy, lifeshighway and we settled into camp on the northern end of the Uwharrie National Forest. Even the worst day can be redeemed sitting in a recliner chair nursing a good beer on a gorgeous spring evening, serenaded by the soft sounds of settling horses and the squeak of bats fluttering overhead at dusk.

Lifeshighway and I have a dream. We dream of a day when we go on a riding trip and NOTHING HAPPENS. While we enjoy the fact that there is always a good story to come home with, it really would be great if we could have a whole trip where no one gets a traumatic brain injury or no horses get sucked into cypress bottom bogs (oh yes, we've done that one) or we don't get hopelessly lost and end up trying to race the sunset out of the woods.

Here's the thing: normally, I have an excellent sense of direction. I am great at reading maps. My job relies on this ability, as I am routinely navigating teeny rural dirt roads and using only GPS and terrain clues to find field sites in rivers. However, something happens when I ride with lifeshighway. I think she is my kryptonite. You know when you take a compass to a place with strong magnetic activity and it just spins in circles? Yeah, it's like that -- I think she actually has a spinning core of molten iron and as a result, my compass needle spins wildly and uselessly as we blunder about the Carolina piedmont.

Last time we rode Uwharrie, we ended up traversing the same 1/2 mile section of trail approximately 6 times, as we'd go one way, panic, turn around and go the other way, panic again, turn and go the other way, panic...Pete (lifeshighway's awesome little endurance Arab) and Solo were ready to toss us in the river and hightail it home on their own.

Sunday, we rode out with not only two different maps, but a GPS unit as well. And had a gorgeous ride on beautiful trails, up one side of each mountain and down the other. The trails there can entail some technical riding, which I enjoy, including some steep rocky sections where I quickly dismount and walk down, letting Solo find his own way without my hindrance. And if you go before the leaves come out, you can get great views from the summits, as Pete and lifeshighway demonstrate below.

In fact, I can say that the entire ride was completely without event. Ok, lifeshighway may have enjoyed a giggle or two every time I dismounted and got back on, going Owwwwwwww! Ow ow ow! but hey, I live to entertain. We spent about three hours exploring the highs and lows, the ridges and streams, and traversing the rocks and logs of the woods at a slow, steady pace. All in all, pretty much a perfect ride! Until we got back to camp...

The big red man enjoys the view. Possibly thinking Dear god, I have to walk back to the trailer through all THAT?!


  1. oh great way to end the story... with a cliff hanger.

  2. Shhhh, don't spoil the surprise!

  3. you are not alone my friend...
    I have gotten lost there going round and round and realizing that I am actually on a hike path when some poor jogger looked awfully frightened at the sight on me and my horse.

  4. I get turned around so easy, it's just as well that all my trail rides have been really short loops.

    We go through the neighborhood with our BO, but I'll never do it myself because I am fairly confident I'll end up in some witch's oven.

  5. Rachel, from talking to folks out there, it seems to be a common experience. lh and I are building a waypoint library and I think it will help a lot!

    ROFLMAO, Breathe, you never know where witches are hiding (Solo says they are in ditches)!!

  6. oh oh, I'm scared now. I'm going on my first horse camping trip this summer.

  7. Just don't go with us and you'll be fine, LOL!!

  8. Damn you and your cliff-hanging ways!
    Uuuuggggh, as usual, I am uber-jealous. I haven't taken Salem off-property yet because I don't have Easy Boots and there are lots of sharp rocks around these parts. Plus, I fear death.

  9. Psssh, Frizz, death is much more likely to happen at home, so statistically, it's better to NOT be at home!