Fannin County has more than , acres located in the Chattahoochee National Forest, including 40, acres in the Cohutta Wilderness. Two of the greatest outdoor adventures in the world begin here. Find directions on our hiking map here. Our riding stables specialize in family trail rides for kids of almost all ages. Open year round with seasonal hayrides and evening wagon rides with campfire dinners. Call for reservations and to book special group events. For a list of riding stables click here. Taste our wines and brews right where they are made, or in tasting rooms, local pubs and restaurants.
Check out our wine and brew tour here. Pick apples off the tree, buy fresh apple cider and the best fried apple pies — a true farm to table experience. Treat the family to a farm tractor tour and u-pick strawberries, blueberries and apples in season. The new tasting room features homemade hard cider from the freshest Mercier grown fruit.
Also don't miss Cider House Orchards in McCaysville, an old fashioned apple orchard and fruit market with u-pick apples all season. But there are many more festivals and celebrations to enjoy in the mountains all year long. Find out more about our annual festivals and events here. Relax -- you're on Blue Ridge time. Experience some beautiful mountain scenery.
Fall in love with our small mountain towns. By rights I should be spendin the night here. Aguirre got no right a make me do this. Point is, we both should be in this camp. And that goddam pup tent smells like cat piss or worse. Pretty good with a can opener. Balls on him size a apples. Looked like he could a eat a camel. You want some a this hot water? Jack said his father had been a pretty well-known bull rider years back but kept his secrets to himself, never gave Jack a word of advice, never came once to see Jack ride, though he had put him on the woollies when he was a little kid.
Ennis said the kind of riding that interested him lasted longer than eight seconds and had some point to it. The summer went on and they moved the herd to new pasture, shifted the camp; the distance between the sheep and the new camp was greater and the night ride longer. Ennis rode easy, sleeping with his eyes open, but the hours he was away from the sheep stretched out and out. Jack pulled a squalling burr out of the harmonica, flattened a little from a fall off the skittish bay mare, and Ennis had a good raspy voice; a few nights they mangled their way through some songs.
The meadow stones glowed white-green and a flinty wind worked over the meadow, scraped the fire low, then ruffled it into yellow silk sashes. It was big enough, warm enough, and in a little while they deepened their intimacy considerably. Ennis ran full throttle on all roads whether fence mending or money spending, and he wanted none of it when Jack seized his left hand and brought it to his erect cock.
Ennis woke in red dawn with his pants around his knees, a top-grade headache, and Jack butted against him; without saying anything about it, both knew how it would go for the rest of the summer, sheep be damned. As it did go.
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A one-shot thing. Though he did, and Aguirre came up again to say so, fixing Jack with his bold stare, not bothering to dismount. In August Ennis spent the whole night with Jack in the main camp, and in a blowy hailstorm the sheep took off west and got among a herd in another allotment. There was a damn miserable time for five days, Ennis and a Chilean herder with no English trying to sort them out, the task almost impossible as the paint brands were worn and faint at this late season.
Even when the numbers were right Ennis knew the sheep were mixed. In a disquieting way everything seemed mixed. The first snow came early, on August 13th, piling up a foot, but was followed by a quick melt. The next week Joe Aguirre sent word to bring them down, another, bigger storm was moving in from the Pacific, and they packed in the game and moved off the mountain with the sheep, stones rolling at their heels, purple cloud crowding in from the west and the metal smell of coming snow pressing them on.
The mountain boiled with demonic energy, glazed with flickering broken-cloud light; the wind combed the grass and drew from the damaged krummholz and slit rock a bestial drone. As they descended the slope Ennis felt he was in a slow-motion, but headlong, irreversible fall. Joe Aguirre paid them, said little. Ranch stiffs never did much of a job.
The wind was gusting hard and cold. Try to get somethin on a ranch. Within a mile Ennis felt like someone was pulling his guts out hand over hand a yard at a time. He stopped at the side of the road and, in the whirling new snow, tried to puke but nothing came up. He felt about as bad as he ever had and it took a long time for the feeling to wear off. He picked up a few short-lived ranch jobs, then settled in as a wrangler on the old Elwood Hi-Top place, north of Lost Cabin, in Washakie County.
He was still working there in September when Alma, Jr. Read classic New Yorker stories, curated by our archivists and editors.
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When the Hi-Top folded they moved to a small apartment in Riverton, up over a laundry. Ennis got on the highway crew, tolerating it but working weekends at the Rafter B in exchange for keeping his horses out there.
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A second girl was born and Alma wanted to stay in town near the clinic because the child had an asthmatic wheeze. They stayed in the little apartment, which he favored because it could be left at any time. The fourth summer since Brokeback Mountain came on and in June Ennis had a general-delivery letter from Jack Twist, the first sign of life in all that time. Friend this letter is a long time over due.
Hope you get it. Heard you was in Riverton. Drop me a line if you can, say if your there. The day was hot and clear in the morning, but by noon the clouds had pushed up out of the west rolling a little sultry air before them. Jack was not a restaurant type, he said, thinking of the dirty spoons sticking out of the cans of cold beans balanced on the log.
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Late in the afternoon, thunder growling, that same old green pickup rolled in and he saw Jack get out of the truck, beat-up Resistol tilted back. A hot jolt scalded Ennis and he was out on the landing pulling the door closed behind him. Jack took the stairs two and two. What could he say? Jack, my wife, Alma. He could smell Jack—the intensely familiar odor of cigarettes, musky sweat, and a faint sweetness like grass, and with it the rushing cold of the mountain.
He was glad the light was dim on the landing but did not turn away from her. She had seen what she had seen. Behind her in the room, lightning lit the window like a white sheet waving and the baby cried. Love them to pieces. Tell you what, I married a cute little old Texas girl down in Childress—Lureen. Might not get back tonight, we get drinkin and talkin. Ennis guessed she was going to ask him to get her a pack of cigarettes, bring him back sooner. A few handfuls of hail rattled against the window, followed by rain and a slippery wind banging the unsecured door of the next room then and through the night.
The room stank of semen and smoke and sweat and whiskey, of old carpet and sour hay, saddle leather, shit and cheap soap. We got to talk about this.
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I fuckin knew it. I about give up on you. I figured you was sore about that punch. I made three fuckin thousand dollars that year. Fuckin starved.
Had to borrow everthing but a toothbrush from other guys. Drove grooves across Texas. Half the time under that cunt truck fixin it. Got this farm-machinery business.