Karen Davis enlisted friends Stacey Schaab and Beth Przybylski to join her for last year’s National Pike Festival and Wagon Train in Washington County because she had just finished radiation treatment for cancer.
“Now, I can’t get rid of them,” Davis joked Saturday afternoon at City Park in Hagerstown, where the trio stopped with the caravan of wagons, horses and people for the weekend ride.
The National Pike Festival, which celebrates the historic, 19th-century road that helped extend the Baltimore-National Pike to Cumberland, Md., kicked off Friday with an overnight encampment at Plumb Grove near Clear Spring.
The ride ends Sunday at Shafer Memorial Park in Boonsboro.
This year was Davis’ fifth ride, which the Lineboro, Md., woman said she used to take with her now teenage son.
“I just love it,” said Davis, who was wearing a period-style floral pattern dress over white crinoline and a blue jean top.
“It’s nothing for me to hitch up and just go for a ride,” Davis said. She also owns a carriage ride business, Carriages by Karen, and has given tours in Annapolis, where Schaab resides.
A pink ribbon, a symbol of Davis’ bout with cancer, dangled from the bridle of Mason, 9, her lead horse, for this weekend’s ride. Dixon, 10, is his partner.
The highlight of Saturday’s ride for the trio, at least until reaching City Park, was when Schaab was spotted applying caramel icing-colored lip gloss by those riding in the wagon behind them.
“All I can say is she is a city slicker,” Davis joked.
Saturday’s cool temperatures had riders wrapped in blankets to stay warm, but Davis said it was not as cold as a prior year when it rained all day.
On Friday night, Schaab said people were still up having a party when she fell asleep in the horse trailer where all three women slept.
“I didn’t hear a thing,” Schaab said smiling.
Duane Reisinger, who was hauling a 225-gallon tank containing drinking water and two portable toilets to stopping points for the wagon train, said the horses usually are sweating by the afternoon when they reach City Park.
But they weren’t this year and the horses were not as thirsty either, Reisinger said.
“I’ve done this the past couple years,” Reisinger said. “I like seeing the horses. It’s a really good atmosphere.”
Brittany Brown of Hagerstown, who came with her mother to see the horses at the park Saturday, said her dream is to ride her own horse in the wagon train one day.
“I had my own horse (before), but it got too expensive,” Brown said.
Now, any chance she gets to see horses, take pictures and pet them, she does.
“Horses are like my life,” Brown said.