Friday, August 24, 2012

Spruce Knob ride

I had a long weekend last weekend and I went with the ladies for an end-of-summer riding trip. We rode 25 miles over two days and had an additional 8-10 miles planned for the last day, but un-predicted rain struck us down. 

We rode around Spruce Knob – the highest point in WV and many other surrounding states. This area has been near and dear to me since I was a kid. I absolutely love it up there and it is one of two places in WV that I’ve always dreamed of riding. It was so, so nice to finally have the opportunity to ride there. It was so beautiful! It was also very nice to get to see parts of the area that I haven’t seen before.

My go-to kit lens that I take riding with me on my DSLR is on the outs though – so I didn’t get too many photos. I did however take a bajillion videos! As I find the time over the next month or so I plan to incorporate these clips into a DVD with music for the ladies who went to have for Christmas.

I wish I’d had the opportunity to ride up there pre-Smokies trip. While the amount of drop-offs along the single-track were very minimal compared to the Smokies, the rocky nature of the trails and the single-track would have been beneficial to experience ahead of time. Seeing and experiencing them all post-Smokies made them seem like cake though.

Definitely rode some of the muddiest, muckiest, over-used trails ever while we were up there. I was very impressed with my Renegades and even the EasyBoot gloves as they stayed on through all the muck. I did very minimal trotting/cantering, but at a walk (which one should take through such nastiness) the boots performed phenomenally. I can’t wait to order Renegades for Q’s hinds next month though – I hate having to worry about the gloves coming off. It’s a pain to have to check or ask others to look repeatedly. While I may trust the gloves a little more now than I did, I still have zero faith in them at a faster pace. They’ve come off every other time.

Q seems to be holding her conditioning very well. This was the first I’d ridden her since the race. After a 13-mile first day she was rearin’ to go the second day. I had to hold her back to the point where my arms hurt for the first half of the second day. And even after the ride was nearly over, she still pushed forward. I wish I’d had my Endomondo app turned on to record our speed for the last mile of the ride that day (there is no cell service up there so despite GPS capabilities with my phone I just didn’t even consider having it on).

When we hit the gravel road back to camp for that last little bit she popped into this INCREDIBLE trot. Like 8-10 mph trot. I know this because I rode a horse that has a trot like that back in July. Flippin’ incredible. She extended so far and covered soooo much ground so quickly. The TWH - a daughter of The Pusher - we were riding with could NOT keep up. (After listening to the gaited horse community in the Smokies whine about how ungaited horses can never keep up, I find this very amusing. Nothing against anyone with gaited horses – Funder, Dixie is wonderful. J)

Aspen, the Pusher baby

All in all, a great trip. Thankful to have been invited. Scored a killer new margarita recipe (called "Knock You Naked Margaritas") from the experience, and I had a blast riding with folks who are so knowledgeable of our backcountry. Definitely want to get up there again!
Nomming and breaking in a high elevation meadow; Love my girl!

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