When I first mapped out this equitrekking trip, we planned to leave shortly after Labor Day. However, I learned that my veterinary class reunion was on the 23rd and 24th of September near my alma mater, Purdue. Therefore, we moved everything back about a week so that we could swing south to Indiana after leaving Wisconsin.
We had a couple of days to fill before arriving at our camping spot for the reunion. (More about that next week!) We opted to spend a couple of nights at Tippecanoe River State Park. The first night, we were once again the only folks in camp. On our second night, a single man and his single horse joined us. Towards evening on that second night, a 6-horse rig pulled into camp as well. My first thought was that it was a professional hauler. I was wrong…
We watched a couple of guys unload 5 horses and a pony. That wasn’t a huge surprise, given that it was a 6-horse trailer. Next, Alan counted the people… 3 men, 3 women, a teenage girl, and two little children. THAT was a surprise! We are not at all sure where all of those people fit, as it appeared to be a standard LQ gooseneck trailer. They did have an extended cab in their truck. They set up some kind of enclosed tent where presumably at least some of them slept.
A couple of the women and the two little kids spent a fair amount of time driving the pony around the camp. It was fun to watch. Clearly, they tripled the camp count with their arrival!
Unlike our previous camping facility, this place had easy access to water. There weren’t spickets at every site, but they were close enough that you could fill your tanks if needed. There was a pit toilet but no shower house, and no electricity. There were also no corrals, but there were numerous tie racks available. We set up an electric fence around two of the tie racks.
There are 56 sites available. Once again, the site we reserved online was not where we ended up camping. Obviously, it wasn’t a problem to move! We opted for a more open site for better southern Dish satellite exposure. It cost us $38 for the two nights, booked through ReserveAmerica.
Tippecanoe River State Park Trails
There are 14 miles of mixed-use horse trails that are also available to hikers. On the one day that we rode here, we managed to ride to the river. Unlike Kettle Moraine State Park, the trails here are NOT well marked. Do you find this signage to be helpful? There is a trail map available but the signs don’t help much at all.
The trails were very similar to what we rode at Kettle Moraine. They were fairly wide, level dirt trails. They are described by the park office as easy to moderate. Trails are accessible right out of the horseman’s camp.
We encountered one other pair of riders that day. The man gave us directions to the river, but said we couldn’t ride up to it or take the horses in the river. He said, “This place is no fun. They have too many rules!” To be sure, there were signs everywhere that admonished horseback riders to follow the rules. The upper left photo shows the river in the background. We were on the horses behind a fence that prevented us from getting any closer.
I found it intriguing that the man was extremely interested in our hit-air vests and indicated that he absolutely planned to get one. However, he wasn’t wearing a helmet. I suppose a person could find value in one safety item and not another, but it was still interesting.
My wily gelding
I described in last week’s blog about returning to Kettle Moraine camp and finding Kadeen on Sadie’s side of the pen. The second morning we awoke in camp at Tippecanoe River State Park, our hot fence was sagging quite a bit. One stake was broken, probably having suffered under the impact of a horse’s hoof. I had made the Executive Decision to allow the two horses to be together since we had built a relatively large enclosure. I figured bouncing off the hot wire would discourage one horse from pinning another at least to some extent. Apparently, they still got squirrelly.
Next stop… my vet school reunion
We didn’t break any speed records getting out of camp the day we planned to head to Delphi where my vet school reunion was being held. It was little more than an hour’s drive, even in our beast of a rig. I had promised my classmate, Dawn, who was hosting the party that we would be available to help set up. We were staying at her clinic, which is a bit of a story in itself.
I apparently had a senior moment, something that seems to be happening with increasing frequency. I think I grasped the fact that we were supposed to park our large rig behind her clinic. At least I had that knowledge in my subconscious. Nevertheless, I programmed my GPS to take us to where the party was being held… her home. Her poor husband’s eyeballs were protruding from his head when he witnessed our motorhome winding down their narrow driveway.
Alan does an incredible job of driving our motorhome, even pulling the large bumper pull 2-horse behind it. He managed to make a circle on Dawn’s beautiful grassy yard without tearing anything up. We returned to her clinic that was about a mile away. As we were setting up camp, I suddenly heard Dawn’s voice in my head… “My staff will tell you where to park.” Duh… park at the clinic.
Dawn had a good-sized enclosure for the horses; although it had a run-in shelter that I was virtually certain would create a problem. So we blocked off the entrance using the halters and lead ropes. Apparently, we didn’t do a very good job, as twice we found Kadeen IN the shelter. Sadie was not, so at least he wasn’t pinning her!
Coming next week… what it was like to reconnect with my veterinary collegues after 4 decades, and the incredible changes that have occurred on the College of Veterinary Medicine campus. See you then!