First, let me say, that I think I need lots more of these (preferably back to the same place it was that wonderful!) This was a trail riding, friend get together, relaxing weekend to be...
My friend, Cheri, who I met thru my horse forum lives in Missouri. Her parents have a place about 12 miles out of Sullivan, MO. It's a 2 mile track off the main road thru the wilderness (and I mean this literally) over little creeks, over cattle crossing gates/bridges (or whatever they are called) - reminds me of the song "thru the woods to Grandmother's house"! One lane and you better not be TOO wide!
We stop at the barn to off load the horses (thanks to my good friend, Paige, who has the "seasoned" trail horses) - and the barn and clearing looking out onto Cheri's parent's property is breathtaking... (these pictures just do NOT do it justice)
Then, because the terrain is SO steep, you have to leave the trailers down at the barn so we load our "stuff" into a "mini-truck" - it is SO cute!
And head up to the house (think of a straight up winding staircase). The house is a log cabin (huge) and the logs are from the trees on the property. Now, when I was invited, for some reason I thought the ranch was around 500 acres. Well, it is actually between 4 and 5 THOUSAND acres - so plenty of trees available for the building of the log cabin! This picture is taken from down by the barn looking up (and I mean UP even though the picture doesn't give you the "depth" of up)
We get settled in to the cabin and since I was not able to attend the gathering last year due to the collarbone injury, I think everyone was laughing at me (that happened all weekend) because I kept saying, "Oh my God", "wow", "amazing", "stunning" (you get the point) - and it was, for real. I think it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.
We have a great dinner by JoD who made Pizza on the GRILL, yes, on the GRILL. It was just fabulous. JoD and her horse, Cash, are pictured here:
We hung around the campfire, the others imbibing in their favorite beverages and me with my water or soda - This is a picture of Cheri (our host) stoking the fire.
We rode on Saturday morning and this is kind of an milestone for me. I'm an "arena" rider - usually ride "enclosed" and for some reason that gives me a security blanket, plus this is my first ride out of my comfort zone since my injury back in the beginning of summer 2006 (and probably longer than that) and I was riding a horse I'd NEVER been on before.
We went up the steepest of hills, down the steepest of valleys, thru creeks, saw tons of wild life, Cheri and her Dad picked wild grapes, the whole nine yards. Even the most eloquent of writers would have difficulty describing the setting and beauty - so, please use your vivid imagination of a beautiful landscape! I was tense (to say the least) especially since when we went to the barn late Friday night to feed, I stepped in a foot deep Gopher hole and really did a number on my knee. It was swollen, stiff, sore (you get the idea). Paige did get a few pictures of me as PROOF that I did this (always got to have proof)!
I was riding Haidagirl who decided that she should be the LEADER and would not plod along like a mule no matter what. So, I rode up front with Gerald, Cheri's Dad and loved the stories and information he talked about. The creek is spring fed and clean and crystal clear that we could have drank out of it too!
Saturday, before dinner, we went to the pasture to see, Samson, the Camel. Cheri's Dad purchased Samson for their Church's live Nativity scene. He is just so SWEET. He gave us all kisses and loved the attention. Here's a few pics
And Samson giving Paige a big ole kiss:
This year as a gift to Cheri's parents for opening up their home and their generosity we gave them a digital picture frame which I had loaded some pictures that Cheri had sent me ahead of time. They LOVED it and I showed Cheri's Mom (Carmen) how to change the pictures and she went right to town and added a bunch more, organized them and was pleased as punch. Her smile was heartwarming!
Here's a picture of Carmen:
Now, the decor of the cabin could "scare" some folk, but, coming from a hunting family (certainly not to this degree), I found it simply fascintating. A museum like quality. Cheri's Dad (in my opinion as I don't know for sure) is a World Class Hunter and Fisherman and along with his 3 kids and Grandkids have bow hunted and shot just about any animal imaginable. Cheri's Dad, Gerald, is also a taxidermist thus their "Trophy Room" - I have over 20 pictures of the Trophy Room and the entire cabin (every room) houses some of these "taxidermed" animals. Some might find it unnerving, not me, I couldn't get enough of it. Here are some of the pictures:
There are a TON more pictures that can be viewed on a website page I created at http://www.thestitchincorral.com/indiancreek.htm
Gerald, Cason's Dad was a phenomenal tour guide and even got Paige (who has definite food likes and dislikes) to try a wild grape - that didn't go over that well - she equated it to wallpaper paste - but, I'm quite curious as to how she knows what that tastes likes... Here's a picture of Gerald and Cheri picking wild grapes as they say they make the BEST jam.
In the mornings, as we were up early - the sunrise was gorgeous and view as I've said more than just breathtaking. I'll leave you with one last photo of the scenery standing out the back porch door looking out at the landscape - as far and hilly as you can see is their property. Talk about looking out at a dream. I felt like I won the Powerball lottery to be invited to experience such beauty, family, friends and be able to treasure these memories forever.