AlliedNews.com - Grove City, Pennsylvania

Local News

June 27, 2014

Wagon Train has history covered

BUTLER, LAWRENCE, MERCER COUNTIES — The Appalachian Wagon Train is making its way through the area this week, and one of their first stops was Slippery Rock Community Park on Monday.

"All of the horses are pretty," said Amelia Firek, who was visiting the park at lunchtime with her brother Frank and their mother Teresa.

The family was stretched out on a blanket as Wagon Train members of all ages were preparing to hit the road again after their lunch break at the park.

The Firek family lives in Plain Grove Township and knows the Kind family -- the Slippery Rock Township, Lawrence County, farm that hosted the Wagon Train camp Saturday through Monday.

"We saw them last night," Firek said of getting to check out the covered wagons and horses two days in a row.

She and her children have enjoyed being able to learn about the history behind the group and the different kinds of horses, as well as the Wagon Train members, who hail from different parts of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.

"It's like a lifestyle," Firek said. "It was neat to walk into a group of strangers."

This is Crystal Anderson's first year participating in the Wagon Train trek, which is covering parts of Butler, Lawrence and Mercer counties.

"I love to ride. One hundred miles on a horse is a dream come true," said Anderson, who lives in Cochranton, Pa.

She brought her horse Sadie, an 8-year-old quarterhorse, and she has been having a great time so far.

"I think it's absolutely wonderful," she said.

The Hoffman family, also of Cochranton, is also on their first Appalachian Wagon Train trek. Clint Hoffman and his children, Hunter, 11, and Sydney, 8, brought their horses Blackberry, Blue, Kali and Joe.

"We've been wanting to do it years," Hoffman said, adding it's a family-friendly organization.

Wagon Master Jim Doyle, who's been a Wagon Train member since 1996, said the trek has been going well so far and they have great camp hosts lined up to accommodate all of their needs.

He encourages local residents to come out and visit the group throughout the week for a chance to interact with folks of all ages and horses, of course.

"It's fun to play with them," Doyle said, introducing his own horses, Riley, Gunner and Bill.

Several families with young children snapped photos of the horses and wagons right up until it was time for the group to head out of the park and onto state Route 173, and back to the Kind farm for one more night.

People lined the Boller Drive entrance of the park and Route 173 to wave good-bye as the Wagon Train scouts -- wearing neon safety vests and using walkie-talkies -- directed traffic around the line of horses and wagons.

The group set up camp at Moraine State Park on Tuesday with a ride planned for today through McConnell's Mill State Park.

The trek continues north in a loop to the east on Thursday and returns to Moraine, then the group leaves Friday for Redfoot Farms in Harrisville.

Saturday's route will bring the group into Pine Township, making a loop that follows state Route 58, Tieline Road, Whittaker School Road, Enterprise Road, Diamond Road and Pinchalong Road, returning to Redfoot Farms.

The trek ends Sunday morning at Redfoot Farms with a worship service and brunch for members.

The Appalachian Wagon Train was established in 1970 and travels through a different part of Pennsylvania each year, raising awareness of historical sites and events that happened in the Appalachian region of the state.

For more information, visit www.muleshoepa.com/AWT/AWT.HTM

Published June 18, 2014, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.

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