Clark Hollow Ramblings: A fall ride and a year-round commitment

Can you believe official autumn begins next week? Where does the time go? While I am ready for a break from some of the heat we have had this summer, I’m not sure I’m ready for the cold weather that will surely come. You have probably heard by now that the forecasters and makers of almanacs are saying it will be a colder and snowier winter than we have had in awhile. I guess we will just have to take each day as it comes and do the best we can.

The Flint Hill fire department will sponsor their annual trail ride this Oct. 22-25. This year will be the eighth year this ride has been held, and it just keeps getting better and better. I don’t know if you have been able to attend one of these events, but if you are a trail rider, as many in our county are, you should consider attending this event. In addition to it being for the benefit of the fire department, my observations are that the attendees have a wonderful time.

Full disclosure here: The last time I was on a horse, it was in the early 1960s. We were going down a gravel lane on a not-too-steep driveway and my ride got his front feet crossed up and down went his head, and down went the rider. If I had been on a motorcycle I think you call that a high side accident. Except for my feelings, I wasn’t hurt much, but I can’t recall ever being on a horse since that time. So, I won’t be joining you on the trail ride, but I might see you at the event.

An awful lot of work goes into preparing miles and miles of trails. Brush has to be cleaned out, sometimes logs have to be removed and trails have to be well marked with signs and directions. There are short trails, long trails, easy rides and some for the more experienced, and they all loop and interconnect. Deborah Miloslavich is the trail boss and project manager and she keeps everything moving in the right direction.

To give you some idea of the extent of the trails, if a rider rode on all the trails that are available, he or she would have ridden on Hard Rock Farms, Red Fox Run, Patria, Wakefield Manor and Bolton Branch Farm. As I indicated, this is an extensive trail system. If you are a trail rider, I can assure you, you won’t be disappointed.

The main camping and staging area is on Col. Dickey’s property, on the left side of U.S. 522 as you are headed towards Front Royal from Flint Hill. Many of us know that area as Sandy Hook, but don’t worry, there will be signs on the road and you will see the large encampment three to four miles north of Flint Hill on 522.

But this is so much more than a trail ride. You will be treated to a wonderful and free breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings. I plan to be there making sure the sausage is cooked properly. There will be live music Saturday night and a feast befitting a king. (There is a slight extra charge for the feast.) And since it is October, there will be a costume contest following the dinner on Saturday, and you will be amazed at the extent to which some of the riders will go to win the contest.

Some people are local, and come in for day rides. But, based on my observation of the number of campers and trailers, most people come and camp there for the duration. There is water for your horses and ample restroom facilities located throughout the encampment. There will also be Cowboy Church on Sunday morning. I hope you can come and join us.

The fire department needs your help

Finally, in a discussion I had a few days ago with Bill Welch, the president of our fire department here in Flint Hill, he informed me that the department needs your help. I told him I would put in a word of encouragement to those of you who live in the area to come and join the fire department.

To put it as succinctly as possible, what they need are a few more good, regular members, who will come to the meetings, one night a month, and be willing, ready and able to assist the department in the provision of fire and rescue services to those in our community.

You do not need any specialized skills. Skills and experience in fire and rescue are always welcome, of course, but a willing spirit is what is most helpful. The department will provide training in fire and rescue, if that is your interest. But the department needs and can use your willingness to help in many non-operational areas. Help is always needed with administration, fundraising, helping with the trail ride, yard sales and any of a number of activities that are required to keep the department up and running.

On the operations side, you can be trained to operate and drive the fire and rescue equipment, you can be trained to fight fires and you can be trained to help in the rescue area, all the way up to being a full-fledged emergency medical technician, or EMT.

I hope you will consider joining the fire department and working alongside your friends and neighbors in our community. And I hope to see you at the trail ride.

For more information on the fire department and the trail ride, call the department at 540-675-3286 or send them an email at fhvfr@comcast.net.

Ride applications and more information are available at the department’s website at  flinthillfireva.com.

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