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Seven Springs Lodge Tuscumbia, Alabama

Marion and Christine West escaped to Seven Springs Lodge to condition their Missouri Fox Trotters for an upcoming spring ride in the Midwest. This cave is just 200 feet from the campground.

To get our Missouri Fox Trotters tuned up some for April's Big Creek Trail Ride in Missouri, my husband, Marion, and I headed to Alabama to escape Indiana's cold, wet March weather. We had no idea what we were about to behold, we just wanted to go to warmer weather, and get there in one day.

My husband found the Seven Springs Lodge in Tuscumbia, Alabama, in The Trail Rider's Where-to-Ride Guide. It's open to trail riders February through October. There are 28 campsites with water and electrical hookups, and four bath houses with showers. There are also two fully furnished bunkhouses.

This lodge sits on the most beautiful 3,000 acres imaginable this side of the Mississippi River. It's owned by Dan Foster; the land was settled by his grandfather, Owen Foster, in the early 1900s. The purchase price was 25 cents per acre. The acreage is located in an historic area in the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains.

Just across the road is the 30,000-acre Freedom Hills State Forest. We rode there only twice; there was so much beauty in Seven Springs, we wanted to see all we could in our seven days of riding.

I told Dan the place could've been called "Multiple Springs Lodge," as there are numerous springs and streams. On the grounds are two Texas Eastern pipelines that run the length of the property. Dan has developed trails that crisscross the pipelines and have coded arrows, which makes it nearly impossible to get lost.

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From the hills around Seven Springs, you can see for miles-we estimated 30 miles from one hill. There are also breathtaking rock formations and caves. The caves once provided shelter for Chickasaw and Cherokee Indians. There, the University of Alabama excavated Indian remains thought to be 8,000 years old.

In the evenings, Dan entertains around the campfire with stories of his childhood and more. We very much enjoyed our seven days at Seven Springs Lodge.

For more information, contact Seven Springs Lodge, (256) 370-7218; e-mail, RORO1645@aol.com.

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