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Ride Horses and Trains to Enjoy the Fall Colors

Ride Horses and Trains to Enjoy the Fall Colors
By Candyce H. Stapen

Go on a cattle round-up and book a scenic train ride to savor the fall colors this season.

One of the most whimsical things we ever did to enjoy the foliage was herding cows at a Catskill mountains’ dude ranch in New York. We enjoyed the challenge and despite the rain, the hillsides still sported a splendid array of rusts, burnt oranges, and bright red leaves. Besides, we felt "ornery" enough to match the stubbornness of any steer.

When Matt, my son, spotted a heifer lazily munching reeds by the creek bed he raised his hat in the air, "Bonanza" style, and trotted out toward his bovine adversary. Alissa, my daughter shouted "Move it or lose it" to the cows she circled, and my husband, David, turned tough hombre, deftly riding his mare up to the mooing brood, "poking" them along from one meadow to another. I trotted up to a heifer with eye lashes to die for and gently pushed her toward the group. Being weekend cowboys gave us a chance to whoop it up together, a welcome break from weekday commitments.

At Pinegrove, a family oriented, mostly all-inclusive dude ranch, horseback enthusiasts trot, walk, or canter along trails that cross rolling meadows and cut through groves of splendidly colored trees. The resort offers plain, but comfortable rooms and a children’s program for ages six weeks to 12 years.

If saddling up seems like too much work, then sit down for a scenic train ride. The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, North Carolina offers several scenic trips. Excursions depart Bryson City, NC, and follow the Tuckasegee River along hillsides bursting with glorious fall colors.

In Texas climb aboard the Texas State Railroad. On a 50-mile roundtrip aboard historic steam engines, you chug through the East Texas Piney Woods between Rusk and Palestine, Texas, where the sweetgum trees turn a vibrant red. On select Saturdays and Sundays in October, take kids on a train trip to the Great Pumpkin Patch. There they can visit Snoopy, pick their own pumpkin and clamber aboard a hay wagon for a ride.

Bold red buttes and bluffs form part of the land traversed by the Verde Canyon Railroad, Clarkdale, Arizona. The 40-mile roundtrip ride gives you a window seat view of a canyon accessible only by train. Savor the sight of golden cottonwoods against the crimson rock formations, red tail hawks, and ancient Indian cliff dwellings.

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