From Harrisonburg, Virginia To Letcher County, Kentucky .By Horseback!
Harrisonburg, VA – Back in mid May I caught up with Sarah Murphy as she was riding a horse through Warm Springs. Sarah was traveling by horseback to Mountain Justice Camp in Kentucky. She wanted to learn more about activism against mountain top removal mining.
That was at the beginning of her trip and I interviewed her for a story for Allegheny Mountain Radio. Now her journey is complete and it was quite a trip, in more ways than one.
“We got hit by a logging truck close to Hametite, Virginia” she says. “We were riding around a curve and had already actually come out of the curve, and the logging truck just came barreling through, and then saw us kind of at the last minute and threw on their g-brake that makes a really loud noise. That spooked the horse and he kind of jumped and the truck swerved a bit. He ended up getting hit in the head with the side view mirror and he got a cut on his leg. But miraculously, that was all that had happened; we were both very shaken, but we were able to continue.”
She left from the Bridgewater area on May 14 and arrived at Mountain Justice on May 25. The ride took much longer than she expected and she missed almost all of the week long program at Mountain Justice.
“I had been upset that I had missed a lot of the workshops that I had wanted to go to, but it was really good for me because I got a lot of first hand accounts from people about coal and how it’s affected them and mountaintop removal” she says.
Sarah rode Rob Roy, her Mother’s horse, on the trip. She rode for 10 days and covered a total of 200 miles.
“I realized how little we actually need to live and just how grateful I am for what I have” says Murphy. “I’ve never been that close to an animal before in my whole life. I really wanted to just bond with the horse; we just very much were attached to each other and kept an eye out for each other.”
Sarah and Rob Roy were given a ride by horse trailer from Zenith WV to Grundy Virginia, which helped them avoid a busy highway. The trip taught Sarah a lot, but what impressed her most?
“Just how amazing people are and their capacity to give” she says. “It took me back; I was imagining how people had traveled in the olden days that this is how they would do it. You really were dependent on the kindness and the help of strangers.”
Some nights Sarah camped out and other nights she stayed with people who offered her a room. Sarah is now back at work in Harrisonburg Virginia. To hear the news story about Sarah’s journey through Warm Springs, visit allegheny mountain radio dot org and click on local news archives.