Well let's just say that we had fun anyway! Most of the group arrived at about the same time around 11AM on Friday. We were all told to our dismay that we all had to park our big trailers in the very upper level. This is not what we all had in mind and as we had to take turns going up and figuring out where to park and in what order so we could all get in, things got interesting to say the least. Teddy and Luann's trailer had to roll over a big hump to get into their parking spot. This caused the camper door on the trailer to jam. Teddy tried to open it gently but ended up denting it open. He was not a "Happy Camper". Mean while the nice flat, easy to get into camp group below sat empty the whole weekend. They would not let us camp down there because they said another group was coming in on Sunday? This was also the first time and without warning that Blowing Rock had decided to assign camping spots. It has always been first come, first served and that is why we all arrived early.
As the dust settled and we started saddling up things got a little calmer, till we rode out. We had a nice ride and every one's mules behaved very well but the Park Service for Moses Cone has seem to have forgotten that the trails are for horse and mules to actually ride on. I would say that 50% of the trails are now covered in large gravel. Bigger than Crush and Run that people use in parking lots. Just perfect for sticking up higher than your mules shoe and giving him a nice stone bruise.
Teddy said, "Boy I would like some of this type of rock, on my drive way!" As we rode and I could tell in parts where others have pulled their horses off to the side of the trail to get them off the rocks. This makes an secondary path that in in the grass and mud and will cause more erosion in the long run. That night a few more mule campers arrived and some how we got them parked up on the hill.
Saturday morning we gathered in front of the office. We had two carriages and about 25 riders. We headed off for Rich Mountain. It was a beautiful day, warm for Blowing Rock but not too hot. Rich Mountain is a nice look out place with a trail that wound around and around till you get to the top. At the top there is a round wall filled with dirt to sit on and eat lunch and plenty of places to tie your mules. I took Sadie's bridle off and put her hobbles on. She hopped around for a while until she came up to the wall. It was about 2 1/2 foot in front of her. She started eating the grass on the other side of the wall. Next thing I knew, with hobbles on, she had jumped up the wall and was grazing like it was no big deal! Amazing Mules!
That afternoon when we got back to the barn we got some free entertainment. A man and his wife arrived and while she was checking in at the office he chose to drive down and around the barn where the horse was to be stables. Holly saw the whole thing. The last turn was too sharp to make it past the corner of the barn. So he hit on the top corner of the trailer. She said that rather than stopping, getting out and backing up he just gunned it forward three more times. Each time getting the trailer dented and more stuck on the barn roof. She said he then seemed to get angry and through the truck into reverse and gunned it backwards. Because the trailer was so stuck on the roof it just jerked it sideways and into a tree. By now the wife was running down through the parking lot yelling at her husband to stop! Keep in mind that there is a poor horse still in the trailer too! Now they could not get the horse out because he trailer was still stuck on the roof and now wedged up to a tree in the back. Our friend Blue went down to see if he could help out. When he told the guy that he thought if he dug down about 8 inches under the tire it might bring the trailer off the roof enough to pull it free and the guy said. "I'm not doing that, that's too much work!" Blue left. The barn crew was on it's way down and had to cut a 45 degree angle off the brand new barn roof to get the trailer unstuck. I could not believe my eyes so of course I had to take a photo to share!Earlier that afternoon I was walking back from taking a shower with Reuben on the leash (As we had been very sternly been told by management to do) and the managers dog ran up to us and started attacking poor Reuben. I kept the dog off for a second and yelled. The manager just call her dog back and told him "Bad Dog!" but never apologized or asked if Reuben was OK. Let's just say that I was not a "Happy Camper!" at that point!
We all took off for dinner about 6PM that night. We tried a new Barbecue place. The food was good but it was very cramped and hot in the restaurant. We all cooled off afterward with a trip to the ice cream store! We all enjoyed a nice camp fire with watermelon that night. The next morning majority of us, including me had decided we had, had enough of this "Happy Camping!" and headed home. There was some discussion about whether or not we would return next year.