Sunday, June 2, 2013

Horseback Riding at Skyland Lodge

One of the Many Views from Skyline Drive
One of the Many View Off Skyline Drive
Today was our 2-½ hour early morning horseback ride.  I booked this ride when I made the reservations for our room at Skyland Resort.  We needed to be at the stables by 8:15 a.m.  I made coffee in our room.  They supplied Starbucks coffee.  Nadia and I ate an energy bar for breakfast and quickly got ready.  It only took around 5 minutes to arrive at the stables.  They were located right on the Skyland Resort property.
(Sorry, I did not bring my camara on this trip, I wanted to hold onto the horse with both hands)
The Skyland Riding Stables offer 1 hour and 2 ½ hour rides.  Along with pony rides for ages 5 and up.  There were 3 couples and Nadia and I signed up for the ride.  We met a really nice couple from the Washington, D.C. area.  It was her husbands first time riding in a long time.  He was the last of the group on the slowest horse.  Nadia and I were in front of them.  On this ride, we were going to go to a waterfall and back.  I reminded Nadia to hold on tight and we set out.  We saw turkey and many deer in the woods.  At one point we actually crossed over Skyline Drive.  It was a very nice ride, not too steep like in the Smoky Mountains.  You cross many hiking paths.  We came upon one path and to my dismay and concern, Nadia’s horse decided to take that path, while we all went the other way.  Luckily her horse just stopped and would not move.  She tried and tried to turn her around, but the horse was not going to budge.  So yet again, I watched as my Nadia and her horse were taken up to the front of the line and tied to the lead horse.  This also happened to the nice couple we met that were behind us.  Her husband’s horse (the last one) was very slow and he went down the wrong path, but he managed to get the horse back on the trail.  We would wait for him to catch up.  I sure was glad that it was not Nadia or I back there.  Then my horse came to a complete stop.  He had to use the bathroom, but when he was done, he did not want to move.  Everyone kept telling me to give him a kick.  Well I tried, but I did not want to hurt him and I felt like I was kicking him hard, but he would not budge.  The guide had to come for me next.  Luckily he got my horse to move again and that I needed to kick him really hard next time.  I can’t do that :( Luckily we did not have any more problems, just waiting for the husband in the back to catch up.  It was a nice ride with good people.  The waterfall was not huge and there was not much water, but it was still nice to see.  We started back down and about 20 minutes left, I started feeling uncomfortable and ready to get off.  Not bad, I could survive 20 more minutes.  We made it back to the stables safe and sound :) After we were done, we went back to the room and planned our day out.

Nadia circled what Ranger programs we should see and I circled some hikes for us to try.  We then walked up the path to the dining room and had lunch.  While we were there, we ran into our friends from the horseback ride.  We said hello.  They were going to hike some trails later as well. When we were done eating, we headed back to our room and got our bags ready to go hiking.  We got in the car and decided to first try the Limberlost Trail and then Dark Hollow Falls.

Below is my newest book that is available on Amazon that was written about this road trip along with some added bonuses

Below is my first travel guide