My Life Listed part 3: Horseback riding in the mountains

In early 2014, I decided to finally script a brand new bucket list. And I decided to start this column all about my mission to scratch off various goals in my list and my thought process in doing so. Shortly after, I scratched the first goal off my list: go horseback riding in the mountains.

This was my and my girlfriend’s first stop on our way to Asheville, N.C. where we would spend three days celebrating our eight-year anniversary. Halfway between our apartment and our hotel was Lake Lure, a beautiful town in Rutherford County with a population of about 1,000 people.

When I was researching some fun activities for my girlfriend and me, I wanted to do something that we couldn’t do where we lived. The typical touristy activity at Lake Lure is to go kayaking around the lake. But we had lakes near where we lived. Kayaking too.

So I decided to make reservations at Cedar Creek Stables for an hour and a half horseback ride around the Lake Lure area. To fit in other things that I wanted to do, I wanted to spend no more than 2 hours at the family-owned operation before moving on to our next visit. We decided to take the Nettle Trail through the woods, across creeks and along scenic fields– $100 total. This gave us a great view of the entire farm, which was alive with horses, pigs and other farm animals.

My horse was 17 years old and named Hidalgo, named after the 2004 film of the same name. My girlfriend rode Cherokee, who was 22 years old. The fall climate was warm and calm. With the forestry bare of leaves, we had a clear view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian Mountains range.

Along the ride, we stopped by a clear mountain creek where the horses relaxed and sipped at the fast-moving water. At the end of the hour and a half ride, we returned to the stables, spent some time saying goodbye to our temporary equestrian companions before bidding the Cedar Creek Stables adieu.

I can say with some certainty that I enjoyed the experience more than my girlfriend, who can be reluctant to participate in more outdoorsy activities. But I could tell she enjoyed it more than she had expected, even if it’s something we might never do again.

Getting away from the city and all of the stresses associated with school and work is when I feel the most spiritually undisturbed. In the most cliche sense of the phrase, it’s when I feel like I have the clearest perspective– on life, purpose and all the little things in life that I let make me anxious and unfocused.

So to me, this was the perfect way to start the trip and scratch off the first goal from my bucket list. Here was my view from the saddle of Hidalgo:

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Our next stop on the way to Asheville was Chimney Rock, where we visited a small fruit stand, which offered locally-grown fruit and vegetable products like jams, butter, cider and sauces. At Chimney Rock, we also visited several local shops and grabbed some grub before leaving for Asheville.

Currently, most of the goals on my list are too out of reach to complete this year. Since I first wrote down all of my original goals, I’ve decided to add some different ones. Two notable additions include: complete an entire Nintendo Entertainment System collection (over 700 games) and take a selfie with my fiancee atop a lighthouse.

To stay updated with my Life Listed column, click right here.