Trail riding reveals the natural wonders of the Ozarks – Day 2

Viewing the natural wonders off the beaten path in the Ozark National Forest of Northern Arkansas begins with www.trailriding.net and Tall Pine Horse Resort, Norfork, Arkansas, owned by Debra Racheter. This was our second stay at Tall Pine Horse Resort and Debra guided us on ride we won't forget. On this brisk winter morning with temperatures in the 30's there were eight of us preparing for a day in the saddle. The four of us from Oklahoma, Jerry and Donna Perry and Raymond and Pat Dugger had our own horses ...Viewing the natural wonders off the beaten path in the Ozark National Forest of Northern Arkansas begins with www.trailriding.net and Tall Pine Horse Resort, Norfork, Arkansas, owned by Debra Racheter. This was our second stay at Tall Pine Horse Resort and Debra guided us on ride we won't forget. On this brisk winter morning with temperatures in the 30's there were eight of us preparing for a day in the saddle. The four of us from Oklahoma, Jerry and Donna Perry and Raymond and Pat Dugger had our own horses ...

Story originally posted by: Pat Dugger

Viewing the natural wonders off the beaten path in the Ozark National Forest of Northern Arkansas begins with www.trailriding.net and Tall Pine Horse Resort, Norfork, Arkansas, owned by Debra Racheter. This was our second stay at Tall Pine Horse Resort and Debra guided us on ride we won’t forget. On this brisk winter morning with temperatures in the 30’s there were eight of us preparing for a day in the saddle. The four of us from Oklahoma, Jerry and Donna Perry and Raymond and Pat Dugger had our own horses and mules. I only ride a mule known, as "MY KATE". Sue McCarthy and Stephanie Klautzer from Missouri radio stations were riding horses from Debra’s stable of rental horses. Debra works with her horses on a regular basis, they are all trained and well mannered. Sue hadn’t been on a horse in 20 years and Stephanie for over a year, so you see how this is important for the safety and security of inexperienced riders. Sue and Stephanie were doing a promo to air on their radio stations for Debra and they had no problems operating their camcorder and camera while mounted on these gaited Tennessee Walking Horses. Debra would be riding her main guide horse Annie, also a gaited Tennessee Walking Horse.

Day Two: There are 16 pipe corrals located at the lodge and cabin area and since we were only using four of them Debra brought the six month old mule foal Fannie over to spend the night with some of her own kind. Jerry’s mule Pearl and "MY KATE" would share their braying techniques with Fannie. "MY KATE" has a world-renowned bray; many comments have been made as to how much effort she puts into her vocal qualities.

Before dawn on our second day they started. Pearl and "MY KATE" teaching, Fannie learning and practicing. "MY KATE" has learned if you keep at it long enough, someone is going to come out and give you some feed to shut you up. It works. Sue and Stephanie thought they were going to get to sleep in, WRONG. Stephanie dubbed them, "Ozark Alarm Clocks" and taped the braying to be used on the radio show.

Now that everyone was up and about, thanks to the "Ozark Alarm Clocks," saddling and preparations for another ride would begin. There would only be three of us today, and Raymond, Debra and myself would be going to Sugarloaf Mountain. The weather was colder than yesterday and threatening snow. For the most part we would be on logging roads overlooking the town of Calico Rock, the higher we went, the smaller it appeared and the further we could see. A flock of 20 or so wild turkeys greeted us about half way up and as they flew off we could see them through the trees. Each season brings it’s own uniqueness to trail riding and being outdoors. Winter with the leaves off the trees opens up your field of vision and we could certainly see some distance from the almost 1100 feet above sea level top of Sugarloaf Mountain.

If you wanted to see even further you could climb the 141 steps of Sugarloaf Fire Tower. Located in the Ozark National Forest on top of Sugarloaf Mountain the Tower and surrounding structures were built in 1937 by the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) and accepted on the National Register of Historic Places in October 1995. Along with the 100′ steel Fire Tower, topped with a 7 x 7 foot cab, is a remarkable group of stone buildings. There were living accommodations, storm shelter and a smoke house. The person residing in the living accommodations would climb the tower morning and night checking for fires and also to observe the weather conditions. When satellites were put into orbit the tower was no longer needed; satellites now report fires and weather. The workmanship found in these structures is amazing in itself and even more so when you realize what the men that built these were paid. The CCC program was put into action during President Roosevelt’s term as president in the depression years. Raymond’s Grandpa worked on such a program, was paid 30 cents a day and grateful to get it. You won’t find such craftsmanship today by people paid numerous times that. The Sugarloaf Fire Tower and the surrounding structures are in amazing condition today.

The weather was fulling its promise to snow; we were getting down off this mountain, load up and head home to Oklahoma, but first one more stop while in the area. Heading back to Tall Pine Debra pulled onto a Forest Road and parked on solid rock covered ground. We got and walked on this massive slab of rock, pitted and rough, smoot and slick; it jutted out over The White River. Starting in the Ozarks and running over 700 miles; The White River produces world record Trout. This morning The White was a lazy river, as if in winter hibernation as it bid us farwell.

Impressed by the things I had seen and learned on this trip and all while doing something I so enjoy; riding "MY KATE", it dawned on me that horse/mule back riding isn’t just about trail riding. It covers so much more if you are interested in botany or just love pretty wildflowers, beautiful scenery, some you can’t see from a car window, such as the waterfalls and the amazing Newcome Rock House Bluff, the forest is also full of caves and other natural wonders, the wildlife – it’s right there, too, all this along with an abundance of history, all observed with a favorite four legged friend. With Debra’s vast knowledge of the area riders could ride 30 days, several miles a day and NEVER ride the same trail twice and that means seeing different sights/natural wonders on each ride. I anticipate several more riding trips to Tall Pine in our future.

Have your own horse/mule, check in at Tall Pine Horse Resort and have Debra guide you to some of the natural wonders of The Ozarks, if you’re not convinced to buy that horse/mule yet, check in and let Debra match you up with one of her well mannered horses. You don’t have to be an experienced rider to enjoy all of the above; remember Sue who hadn’t been on a horse in 20 years and Stephanie. Contact Debra by clicking on www.trailriding.net, e-mailing redhen@trailriding.net or phone 1-870-499-7413.

To read about our first day’s ride at Tall Pine in the Ozarks, click here.