Happy trails to everyone
Written by Daniel Parks
|I can still remember Roy Rogers and Dale Evens slowly riding into the sunset while they sang their signature song, Happy Trails. They had a beautiful marriage and were a shining example of high ideals and profound and enduring love. That same affection was like a mantra of the way they cared for people in general, and it showed in everything they did. As I reread the lyrics to their song, I wondered who wrote those memorable words, and wasn’t surprised to find out it was Dale Evans Rogers. While the words of the song aren’t directed to a specific person, I think you’d have to agree that she wrote it for the love of her life, and the two of them sang it to each other throughout the remainder of their years together.|
|Roy and Dale married on New Year’s Eve in 1947 at the Flying L Ranch in Davis, Oklahoma, where a few months earlier they had filmed Home in Oklahoma. They remained married until Roy's death in 1998, a 51 year love affair. Dale Evans Rogers followed her singing cowboy down those happy trails three years later on February 7, 2001.|
|I can’t help but think about Roy and Dale singing their Happy Trails song every time I see folks riding out on one of our trails here at Robbers Cave State Park. There’s a peacefulness about a slow and easy horseback ride that has an appeal to all ages. The trails here at Robbers Cave were originally built and continue to be maintained by the Oklahoma Equestrian Trail Riders Association (OETRA). Their members spend about a week every year in the Equestrian Park and work together to clean and groom existing trails and build some new ones. This year they were at the EQ from March 8th through the 16th to trim up existing trails, a task that needs to be done annually. If you enjoy riding the trails in the park, you can thank the OETRA members for the work they do to keep them in good shape. There are six official trails and numerous undesignated trails, all of which have trail markers or painted indicators.
There are trail maps available at the Cabin Office and in the trail boxes in the EQ area, or you can ask one of the park attendants or the Park Ranger and they’ll fetch you one. The main trails are numbered 1 through 6 and vary according to terrain, ease of travel and distance.
The following is a list of those trails and the distances they cover. For more detail on the topography and riding difficulty, call the Cabin Office at 918-465-2562 and ask to speak to the Robbers Cave Naturalist, Mr. Ted Daniels.
Trail #1: 21 miles in length
Trail #2: 7.5 miles in length
Trail #3: 3.0 miles in length
Trail #4: 4.8 miles in length
Trail #5: 6.5 miles in length
Trail #6: 4.5 miles in length
Horse owners are invited to be a part of the action at Robbers Cave by visiting the OETRA website at www.oetra.com and becoming a member of that great organization. If you haven’t been here before, bring your horses and come on out and ride our Happy Trails. And if you want to sing the song as you ride along… well, we’ll even print out the words for you.
Daniel Parks is the weekly columnist for Robbers Cave State Park. Also scout camp director and public campground coordinator. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org