Massachusetts, Wagon Wheel, state #34

8/16/14
Wagon Wheel Campground, Erving, MA; state #34
This is a huge camp, over 100 sites, many of them horse sites. A lot of permanent campers (which I find gives the place a kind of trashy look). As I opened the door of the office I saw a chocolate lab behind the counter/desk and it looked like he was going to check me in. Very cute. Kim actually was the one to check me in, gave me a trail map for a good first ride day, took my order for hay and firewood (they deliver to your site) and led us to our spot on a 4 wheeler. No other horses are here, but some are expected this weekend. We have electric and water hook up and 2 covered pens. She said I can set up a corral and take over the next site if I wanted to, which I did of course. I tried doing it as a in/out corral, incorporating the stalls but then fretted about the wire electrifying the corral panels. Also I was concerned WF would corner Dreamy in a stall (she did) and try to kick her. Dreamy seemed particularly vulnerable, her cut leg was swollen getting off the trailer. I let them walk around looking for bites of grass with their lead ropes on and WF headed off down the trail, ugh…they have gotten very good at moving with their ropes on, they just tilt their head to the side. We got settled in and we all ate. I ended up closing off the pens before I went to bed.

Other amenities here: pool, showers, bathroom, laundry, hot tub (but I haven’t actually seen this yet), barefoot riding trails in several adjacent state forest areas. The riding is extensive and sounds great. I may take WF out for a spin even tho its technically a rest day.

8/17/14 Sunday
Yesterday I painted the VT painting, it was a beautiful day and I put the picnic table under the awning (I finally started using it and have gotten the hang of pulling it out and back up so its not such a big deal any more). Liza went to town for groceries and I rearranged the corral to give the humans more space and to make it less likely for WF to land a kick to Dreamy. When she returned we played scrabble while I finished the painting.

WF’s cuts are healed up nicely but will leave a scar. Dreamy’s leg is no longer swollen. Yesterday they seemed pretty tired and they got the day off.

When I went to find a cooler shirt I discovered all my clothes were wet again. This trailer has so many leaks, its so annoying. I hung everything up on the corral panels to dry out. Only 1 shirt was stained so I’m glad I caught it before they all got moldy like last time. I moved my clothes to a different cabinet again. It seems the ones in the goose neck nose are the leakiest ones. Stuff in there now is in big trash bags in case they leak again, which I am sure they will.

I walked around with the horses in the afternoon, letting them graze with their ropes hanging, and met a woman about my age wearing a Harley Davidson t-shirt. She has a 26 year old daughter in the area that she is here to see, but she doesn’t like camping (if anyone ever asks her to go camping again she will say…). She told me she had been married for 6 months a long time ago, had a daughter at 36. We talked about the weather being so mild for August, how there is no interest in men anymore, all the good ones are taken (her words), states that have no income tax, states that have legal marijuana (MA is one and it is grown nearby according to her), assisted suicide, Robin Williams’ suicide (he hung himself, I didn’t know that, to be so talented and think you are worthless is so sad to me), GA drivers license laws (?) and a few other things.

Liza and I went down to the office twice to use the internet which is so slow and pretty unreliable. I was able to upload the VT post text but no photos. They have a “cell booster” too and I was able to post something on FaceBook using 4G on my iphone, but later it didn’t work at all. Oh well.

Liza’s ankle is swollen and painful to the point of not wanting to hike at all. She sprained it some time ago and it flares up occasionally. Her back has been bothering her too even tho she is on pretty strong pain meds. Her transition to this life was too abrupt we think. She is going back home in a couple of days, it just hit me. I will be solo again and I get a pang of anxiety every time I think about it. Having a travel partner has made it so much easier on me emotionally. Even tho we don’t actually talk so much just having her around has been a comfort. Actually I have had very little anxiety this past month which is so nice. Those periodic adrenaline rushes are exhausting.

Last night I made my 2nd fire on this trip. The first one was in Utah and it pretty much made me think it wasn’t worth the trouble. Last night was a little more successful thanks to a fire starter brick that someone gave me back in Missouri. I put the grill over it and cooked a chicken breast that needed to be cooked or it was going to go bad. I was going to give it to Tommy, I have gotten sick of chicken. Tommy watched me unwrap it and put it on the grill full of anticipation. I asked Liza how long she thought it would take to cook to which she replied Tommy thinks its just fine now, he likes it rare. That made me laugh. Tommy watched it cook intently and loved it when it was done. It made the effort so satisfying for me. I love to make him happy. I tried to restart the fire this morning using more kindling and some hay. It caught a little but then died again. Its amazing that forest fires can start from a single spark, it is so hard to make a campfire.

I guess it showered a little last night, its damp out but looks to be a beautiful day again. Liza will rest her ankle again today and try riding tomorrow. I’ll pony the mares today by myself. That way I have less likely hood of getting lost with Liza along tomorrow. I took my last pain pill today. So I either find a pain clinic, call my back Dr back in CA or just go back to Alleve. I’m not sure what I will do…but its Sunday so nothing is going to happen today. I also need a GMC service place for a routine service. I guess tomorrow will be a “to do list” kind of day.

8/18/14 Monday
Yesterday I headed out of camp around 1 ponying Dreamy off Wildflower and Tommy came too. Liza stayed back to let her ankle heal. I had highlighted a loop on the trail map and went over it with Kim. As soon as I entered the park I missed the trail turn, the sign was facing the other way, and I was headed down a gravel/dirt road. It followed a creek and was very pretty. A car passed and I realized this was a road, not a trail. There were a few houses and then a couple of trails on the left. We tried one but it was blocked right away and branches looked low ahead so back to the road, a second one had a sign and when I checked the map I realized we were way off track. We had been out a half hour so I thought we’d just go that way. At the first creek, the bridge was rickety so I asked WF to cross it. It was tiny, she refused, ugh. I got off and led them over, she jumped it. A bit later it got very muddy and rocky and she was giving me a hard time so we just turned around. She jumped the creek again, I lost my hat on a branch and Dreamy pulled the rope out of my hand. I got off again. This is how the whole ride was, I must of gotten off 10 times. And I had to tie up WF to go back for Dreamy every time since the last ride when she decided to go home without me. She was very ouchey on this road, stumbling a lot. I had not booted them for the first time in quite a while. We went back to my originally planned trail, found the turn I’d missed and completed it. The hills were good, there were several small water crossings and some muddy rocky spots. Some of the trails were narrow. I ended up taking Dreamy’s rope off and let her follow. Hanging on to her is a pain, she lags behind and stops for no apparent reason. I had tried using a string under her chin but it didn’t help so I took it off. We stopped for a rest after 2 hours at a big grassy field, I hobbled WF and put on Dreamy’s rope, walked around and took pictures of them. I could hear a road from here and I had cell service! On the return trip we encountered a couple walking a dog that could of been Tommy’s twin. They romped along together for a while. Dreamy was still loose, following nicely. We missed another turn and ended up at a gate at a paved road. I turned around, found the trail and went up the hill. WF stopped, I turned and could see below us, Dreamy walking on the paved road, ugh. I went back for her and she made her way back around the gate on her own. She then headed up her own trail. Parallel to where we were, I could hear her crashing thru the brush, she sounded like a bear running thru the woods. She caught up to us but as we got back towards the trail leaving out of our loop, she passed us, charging up the hills. While it was comforting to see her moving so nicely on rough terrain, I was pissed that she wouldn’t WOAH. This is a horse that has a great woah. A hiker stepped off the trail out of her way, I apologized. I finally caught her just before the road. Not that these roads are heavily traveled but seeing her on the road loose is not a comforting sight. We got back to camp around 4:30. My back was pretty sore. Riding WF is really tough on my back. But it was a good ride. I have only recounted the troubles, I don’t know why I focus on that, most of the ride was beautiful and relaxing. Tommy slept for a few hours. I took a hot shower (coin operated which didn’t work too good but the water was HOT and it felt great once I got it back on, I also had forgotten my soap so I used shampoo, Tommy thinks I smell great), folded my laundry (the dryer didn’t work too good and it took all day to dry) and we had burgers, brocali, and beans in the trailer and went to bed. I woke up freezing in the middle of the night, but I was too cold to go turn on the heater, so I pulled Tommy under the covers. He is so warm.

Liza fed the horses for me again this morning. Man it is cold. Today is our last day here. Tomorrow we leave early in the morning, stop in Albany for Liza to fly home and continue on to the NY camp. It will be a long haul day so I want to have all our prep done today. We will also take a short ride together, our last one. I am anxious about being solo again. It is so much work for one person. And lonely.

Liza is going home to see her cats, her doctor and go visit dad who doesn’t sound too good. She says she will join back up with me but I have my doubts.

I am out of cigarettes and am not buying any more (I hope) and I am out of the pain pills so Alleve will have to do. I need a truck maintenance service and SHOULD do that today. I need shavings and propane (both of which they sell here I think)…It is 8am so I better get going on all this.

Evening
Well I really messed up again. Liza fell off Dreamy on the trail, hit a tree and got the wind knocked out of her, yes she had on my helmet. Dreamy jumped the creek and proceeded up the hill even tho Liza shouted woah. I made sure she was ok, took Dreamy back and forth thru the creek at a slow walk with frequent woahs, she behaved perfectly. Liza, crying, got back on even tho she didn’t want to, and we walked home, practicing woah a lot. I had promised her no one ever fell off Dreamy. I shouldn’t of promised that. And I should of stopped at the other side of the creek. We had successfully crossed 3 or 4 already and I thought we had it down. I was wrong. Liza is now afraid, something I did not want to happen. What an awful way for her time with me to end. I doubt she will join back up with me now even more.

I have packed up the hay and the trailer for leaving early tomorrow. By noon I will drop her at the Albany airport.

8/19/14
We left camp at 8:30, Liza left me in Albany at noon, I got to my NY camp by 3:30. I am icing my back now. After I dropped her at the airport I had a hole in my heart, a piece of me is gone, I felt like crying but I was hauling the trailer so I held it back. I told her I was sorry she got hurt, that she should learn to ride from a professional at a barn. I asked if she had learned anything or had any growth from these 3 weeks. She said she learned that she hates pain. She promised to join back up with me by Wisconsin to drop mom’s ashes off in Shawano. She wants to do the north west with me. I hope it isn’t too cold, winter seems to be coming early in the east.IMG_8308

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