Monday, December 7, 2015

Featured Nat'l Recreation Trail: Rock Bridge Canyon, Alabama - Full Article

October 23, 2013

Explore Alabama horse trails from Rock Bridge Canyon, where miles of picturesque trails wind through woodlands and canyons, part of the Equitrekking 50 State Trail Riding Project.

by Kari Kirby

As I lay awake the night before the ride to Rock Bridge Canyon, I had the same pre-ride jitters that I always have, especially when I do not know what the trails are like. We ride trails from wide and flat to steep hills, or no trail at all, so it helps to know the best horse, tack, and attire to be prepared. I finally decided on taking Daisy, my do-all horse, and while envisioning all the necessary tack, clothes, boots, food, drinks, and most importantly, my camera, I managed to drop off and get some sleep.

Morning came and I managed to have everything ready by the time my buddies arrived. We all loaded into the truck and trailer and found our way in under an hour to the designated meeting spot in Hodges, Alabama to follow our other friends to the ride. We were all excited about finally seeing what our local friends couldn't stop talking about.

When we got into the woods we began to see a few rocks, boulders, and the wonderful wild magnolia and hemlock trees for which the Bankhead area is known. OK, I thought, this is like home. As we got deeper into the woods, the trail continued to be wide enough for a small truck to travel, no overhanging branches to duck under or leg grabbing thorns to avoid, and sandy soil that any barefoot horse should be happy on.

I had gotten my camera out in anticipation and snapped a few pictures of all the friends we had run into at the trailhead. It seemed that everyone within an 80-mile radius had turned out to ride so there were probably close to 30 of us.

We had not traveled a mile until we were dropping off into the canyon. The rocks got larger and a rock wall appeared on one side, all the while the open side into the canyon was getting deeper and steeper. The wall grew taller and more beautiful with every step. I took a picture, turned my camera off and then went around a corner that opened up into an enormous shelter. I just gave up putting my camera down or turning it off, as around every curve was even more jaw-dropping than the last...

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