happy trails

here we are again, one year later and a few less grandchildren. on this go-round, everyone is arriving and leaving in shifts. it stinks that there was not be a single day when everyone was here at once. sarah anne had her state tennis tournament (they won by the way) bennett had to work. anna katherine spent a few days at lake lure before arriving.
the first few days were jammed packed with  everything cheesy!
indian shows, trinket shops and gasping at the sight of deer. our yard is overrun with deer, but seeing them in the mountains is different ;) 

first up on the camp agenda; horseback riding. 

we found a quaint,  peaceful farm offering groupon for horseback riding.  i will preface this srtory with the fact that i am fairly  new to groupon.  however hearing "check out the groupons" from so many, i decided to do just that.  

the first thing i realized was... many of the coupons contain stock photos (the pictures you and a hundred other businesses can purchase images and used them at will)  because what we saw in person was not near what we saw online.
the surrounding farms were beautiful. the horses were very tame and nice looking. the staff was friendly.

but from the looks of the facility (barn, bathrooms, parking lot, furniture, wedding chapel... all of the property) it looked pretty darn rough. i would not have been a bit surprised if the staples also served as an industrial meth lab.  but not a shiny meth lab like on breaking bad. more like the labs you see on cops.  
thankfully the staff was very nice and the water in the bathrooms was able to be turned on by flipping a switch behind the barn.

 we were thankful that the groupon was reasonably priced. we were extra extra thankful that the little ones didn't receive any hitchhikers from wearing the helmets. oh my! i signed a waiver opting the big girls out of helmets. i pondered the thought and decided the odds were higher for head lice than a cracked skull.

roger loved, loved, loved it. before the ride began he was asking to go again. the guide was so patient and encouraging!
even evie was ready to go back!
sweet liza got the misbehaving horse who loved to stop and snack on anything green. she was a super trooper!

mary claire decided she was ready to go pro. her horse was so tame!
along the way i enjoyed taking one handed pictures and physiologically counseling liza. if we could have traded horses all would have been well with the world. her horse misbehaved up to the very last step.

the trails were legit mountain trails. so legit that they were frightening at times.

on the way back we passed by the wedding chapel. i could kick myself for not taking a wide picture. below this beautiful cross was a "torn down house/chapel/trailer."  you could tell that it had been there for awhile.  it puzzled me as to why they had not removed the kitten appliances, rain soaked further, trash, food boxes... everything you would typically find in a house/chapel/trailer. 

i imagined the angles photographers  would have to shoot to avoid looking as if your altar was located in a landfill. i quickly decided that there were zero good angles and any wedding there would on a landfill  backdrop. (at any angle except straight up.) i would also  add a tetanus shot to the rental agreement for everyone in attendance.

i came to the conclusion that there was no way a couple who was  not in the meth business would get married here.

but the staff was very nice! (does meth make you nice or mean?)

at the end of the ride, we were tired and happy that we stumbled upon this groupon we saw zero traces of headache.

  the trail rides and bearing witness to a meth-barn was worth all the money we spent.!

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