I'm giving Jolie a rest for a few days in East Montpelier and am finally near a computer again ... upon which I just wrote a long account of my travels and then they vanished as I mentioned. I've looked everywhere on the computer and am now going to start again. Wish me luck!
After spending three days in Jamaica in the little octagonal house by Cobb Mountain Creek --more a river really -- during which there were floods and endless thunderstorms, Jolie and I were finally able to resume our travels. (Jolie spent her days at a very posh stable owned by a strikingly tall and robust German woman named Teeney Hamilton) We headed up through Jamaica State Park on a beautiful old railroad bed where they don't allow horses, but when I asked the park ranger if they would let us pass, just this once, he thought about it a minute and then said "well your horse's hooves can't be much worse than moose hooves". So we agreed to avoid the sleeping campers and "crept" by in the early morning fog, following the West River up to Hamilton Falls - a very dramatic spot with a 150' drop, where over the years a few very optimistic people have jumped in and died.
I have been using the Vermont Gazateer as my map on this trip, because it indicates dirt roads, class 4 roads and trails, and has proven very reliable -- in fact often more reliable than the locals -- though when we came out of the state park at the top of the falls the map was very confusing -- so we headed in the wrong direction ... until we came upon an imaculate farm and a very old and tiny man standing by the side of the road. He was so short and so still I nearly missed him -- in fact, I had to do a double take to be sure I was looking at a person. He couldn't hold his head up and was very hard of hearing, but when I yelled my questions at him he was able to tell me how to get to the trail I needed and where to make the necessary turns once in the forest. And he was correct!
We headed up and over a mountain on the treacherously, muddy, steep and rocky trail in question, and made our way over to the next valley where we hit a road that could carry us north for a while. Most of these roads are very deserted and a pleasure to ride upon -- most too, in this part of the state are in the mountains and are not straight like they are through the flatter farmlands near Lake Champlain. So we do a lot of winding up and down hills and almost always next to a wonderful river or stream. Because of the copious rain, these are swollen and loud rivers, but it's a music which is soothing, and finding water for Jolie is very easy. She has taken to drinking out of puddles -- something she wouldn't have done before this trip -- but she's learned fast that if she's thirsty, she needs to drink what's available. She's
learned to take care of herself really. If she tires while climbing a hill, she'll pause for a bit in the shade and then carry on when she's ready. She is also quite adamant when it's time for a grass break and I try to oblige her within reason. Some days, however, we'd never get anywhere if I let her stop as much as she'd like. She's not a horse with a huge work ethic, but she has been fairly open hearted about the journey. One very helpful thing is that she doesn't care when we walk away from other horses, or barns. She seems to be happy to be on her way...
Friday, July 14, 2006
More from Wendy Copp, Riding around Vermont
We heard from Wendy Copp again yesterday and she has very generously provided us with great details about her trip, which sounds quite eventful. She has given us so much, we need to blog it in installments. Enjoy and check back again for more!