Elkins Creek is one of my favorite places to ride! Eight years ago, I made my first venture to Elkins Creek and enjoyed the place so much that it’s been a yearly tradition! Joined by Holmes and Wayne County OHC and now with the Sirius Icelandic Horse Club, the week is comprised of scenic trails, good food, and good fun!
The first part of my Elkins venture was to arrive before the weekend to help with the Saint Jude ride. On Thursday, halfway to my destination, I stopped at Walmart in Waverly to get ice and a few other odds and ends. When I opened my camper door to put my ice in the cooler, I heard a “meow” and then saw my barn cat, Ink, up in my bunk! Oh no! This cat is so sneaky and it’s not the first time he’s done something like this! I phoned my husband who said he’d pick up the cat at Elkins Creek the following day. I went back into Walmart, got kitty litter and other kitty supplies, and went on to camp.
Our camp hosts, Jill and Rick McCleese, were expecting me and after getting my horse, Zane, settled and the cat set up in the back of the trailer, Jill put me to work organizing t-shirts. Later that evening, Ink Cat was still meowing and grumping about being in the back of the trailer. I figured he would scamper out as soon as I opened the trailer door so I asked a group of gals to stand around the back of the trailer while I tried to retrieve him. Fortunately, I got him before he escaped and put him in the front of the trailer where he was much happier on my bunk. That night, I was concerned about having a barn cat living inside with me in my camper. Even though all went fine, I still didn’t trust him enough to leave him in there alone the next day. So, I made a comfy bed for him in the hay in the back of the trailer, placing his food, water, and litter box in there nearby.
While I was helping out in the store and registering new campers, my husband, Greg, texted and said that he had been on his way to me but broke down in Columbus and was having his truck towed back to Mt. Vernon. In the end, my sister picked him up at the shop in Mt Vernon and they both came down to retrieve the cat! I’m so blessed to have a wonderful husband and sister who love our fur family as much as I do.
The Saint Jude Event, Friday through Sunday, flew by. I was busy signing people in and out, working in the store, tracking meal payments, sorting sheets, and making beds in the sleeping rooms, and a number of other tasks. On Saturday evening, the band made up of Jill’s family and friends was fabulous! I thoroughly enjoyed the music under the beautiful night sky! Meals and an auction raised money for Saint Jude and the event was once again a great success.
During the weekend, I even managed to get two rides in: one short one by myself and another on the Kimble Loop with a new friend, Lawanna.
On Sunday, Holmes County members, Bruce and Bev Hanna arrived! We rode the Kimble Loop on Monday morning, stopping to take photos, eat lunch, and take a closer look at some of the rock formations. It was a remarkable ride and is my favorite trail with several caves and rock “squeezes” to ride through. When we returned, Wayne County members, Marline, Dave, Margie, Ernie, and Jenny had arrived. Dinner of sloppy joes, sloppy chicken, salads, and pies were prepared by Marline and Margie and enjoyed by all.
Tuesday was hot, so Bruce, Bev, and I got up early to ride to Paddle Creek, then went on the Wild Berry Trail before stopping for lunch at a nice picnic table. Here we ran into our Wayne County friends who were on their way back to camp. A huge tree was down on the trail to the Lookout so we took the road. At the Lookout you can see Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia. When we returned to camp, Rick had already been made aware of the downed tree and was headed out to cut it.
Tuesday night was Bev’s and my turn to make dinner. Bev made taco chicken with chips, and salad to go along with the meatloaf I made in my Holland Grill. We also had potato salad, orange fluff, and brownies with ice cream!
Because I knew I had several days of riding still ahead of me, and because of the heat, I gave Zane a rest Wednesday. This also provided me with some much-needed time to catch up on my freelance work so I wouldn’t be overwhelmed with it when I returned home.
We had a terrible storm. I didn’t get my awning in on time and in the driving rain held onto it while it flapped in the blustering wind, which I cursed, announcing that it would not ruin another awning….We survived, but heard of the damage to areas up home caused by storms. Mohican and Malabar were also affected and still remain closed at the time of this writing.
After three days of riding, Bev and Bruce returned home early to take care of storm damage and to check on their home which had no electricity.
Despite the heat, thoughtfulness flourished during our week! Jill and Rick offered us a room in their home for a meeting and sleeping rooms for a few nights for the two parties staying in non-air-conditioned trailers. I was so grateful to Ernie and Dave, who helped me with my dead truck battery. They cleaned the corrosion off of the connectors and gave me a jump start. I left it running for a half-hour and started it for a while every day afterward to keep it alive. Common with our hosts and our group, kindness abound throughout the week, making our stay so enjoyable.
On Thursday, Debbie, Jane, Shawn, and Jamie arrived with their Icelandic Horses! Everyone enjoyed an evening of live music as a singer played guitar and sang classic songs.
Because of the heat and mud, Jane, Debbie, Jamie, Shawn, and I rode the Wild Berry Trail and to the Lookout. This time we were able to take the trail to the Lookout since Rick was so prompt in getting the downed tree removed. I love watching those Icelandic tails wave as they tolt along the smooth part of the trails. I could tell that my Rocky, Zane, enjoyed being with them. While we were on our way to the Lookout, our Wayne County friends went to the watering hole, riding on the road when they could, to avoid the mud.
Saturday, as the others packed up to leave, Jamie, Shawn, Debbie, Jane and I headed out the Kimble Trail. It was a beautiful day! It cooled down to in the 70s and there was a nice breeze. A perfect day for the Kimble Trail! We rode the hilly terrain and stopped to take pictures in the caves and beside rock formations. Since their horses were older, when we arrived at the road, Debbie and Jane parted from us to go back to camp. Jamie, Shawn, and I continued on. We enjoyed taking photos inside the cave and Jamie’s horse, Holly, was small enough to turn around in the squeeze and turn around for a picture. What fun!
We weren’t far from camp when we ran across a tree that had fallen across the trail. It was about 2 feet off the ground and was pretty big around. There was no way around it. The little Icelandics jumped over it, but Zane, who with big steps, could have stepped over it, refused even when I got off of him and encouraged him to cross. Oh my! Fortunately, we were beside the road and it wasn’t too far for me to backtrack, ride the road and meet Jamie and Shawn where the trail crossed the road.
That evening, Jamie and Shawn invited us to their campsite where Jamie showed us her fun, creative Icelandic shirts, and Debbie and Jane told us about the deer and the cave they saw along the road on the way back to camp. Then we laughed as we swapped photos with each other on our iPhones using AirDrop. Afterward, we sat around the campfire talking about our Icelandic horses, trails we’ve ridden, and our upcoming fun show. What a great day!
We said our goodbyes on Sunday and talked about coming back next year. The 11 days I had been at Elkins sure went fast and I enjoyed every minute of it, however, Zane and I were ready to get home to our loved ones.