I Misplaced Simon 

March 30, 2015

Sometimes in the evening I have been letting Simon out in the yard to “mow the grass”.  Today when I went to put him back in he was gone. I called his name, Poe whinnied for him and still no Simon. I checked the paddocks and riding field. No Simon.  Of course I assumed the worst; He had to have run down our long driveway and crossed the road to visit the neighbor’s field of Arabriens. 

I jumped in my truck and took off. And before I got even a little ways down the drive, there he was. Just behind a few trees from the yard in a hay field. He walked up to my truck, I clipped his lead on and drove slowly back up the drive, leading him through the window. Goof. 

   

 

Trail Report – Yankeetown and Turner Run

March

Two rides in two days in one report.

Saturday – Yankeetown, Marshall Run, 235

This loop is about 12 miles with plenty of creek crossings.  I ran into Gale and Dale when I got back to the trailer.  They were just ahead of me on the loop.  I also ran into some hikers.  These are the community serving guys that cleared the trail over the winter.  I wish I had some beer in my saddle bags to cheers them with.  Simon and I completed out ride in about two hours (my tracker cut out about mid ride).

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The dogs went for a few swims when crossing some of the creeks and Simon even waded out to his belly.   SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

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Sunday – Turner Run, 423

This ride was about 13 miles and mostly fire road.

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I wanted to check out the fire road father along, and also two trails marked on my mapping app that were not on my forest service map.   On the map image above I also marked the second fire road on the left (which has a gate) and roughly the trail I took on Thursday down to Slate Lick Lake and back.  I also marked the start of a second trail on the left, just past the one from Thursday.  It is right about where the forest shows signs of recovery from a forest fire and tracks straight down the slightly sloping terrain.  It is very pounced and hard to miss.  On the return trip the rocks along it showed white from a distance, catching the eye.  I am eager to try this trail out.

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Ash was very excited for this ride.

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There is a camp circle to the right that has a large fire pit in it.  This is where the trail that rides closer to the road starts.  This trail rides up and quickly spills out on fire road 423A.

If picking up the trail on the return, from fire road 423A, it splits.  The left branch runs father out and cuts back to the main fire road father along, as marked on the map above.  This trail was a bit over grown, more so just before dumping back out on the fire road.  I won’t bother to ride it again.

Both of these two trails were marked on my tracking app, but not the actual fire road map.  The left split is clearly an old logging road or fire road.  The right split had an old fire road gate post on it, and appears recently used.

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This tree was down across the road just after the turn off for fire road 423A, which is on the right and angles back.  There was another tree down just a little ways past this one as well.  A large field opens just beyond it to the left.

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Fire road 423A is recently used and ends cleanly at a gate to private property.  Time to turn around.

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Above is a photo of the right split of the trail from 423A headed back towards home.

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The above is a photo of the left split of the trail from 423A headed back towards home.

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The above is the trail head for the trail I want to check out soon.  It heads off in the direction of Slate Lick Lake.

 

Trail Report – Turner Run to Slate Lick Lake 

March 24, 2015

For this ride I started off on fire road 423 at Turner Run.  I rode out, and just past the second fire road turn on the left.  Just up a small incline in the road from that turn is a turn off for parking/camping with a bit of fresh gravel at the entrance.  In the back of this parking area is a small berm that starts off a well marked and heavily used trail.  There were a lot of hoof prints and pony poo and it was more heavily marked with different colored paint and marking tape as the trail continued.

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I rode down and back, making it a 15 mile ride in about 2 1/2 hours.

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There were often arrows marking harder turns in the trail.

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Eventually the trail popped out below Slate Lick Lake.

On the same side of the lake, if turning to the right and proceeding over the stone wall and up the large hill, several other markers could be seen showing the start of other trails.  I was at my “point of no return” and did not want to risk checking these trails out but I suspect one will lead back to the fire road I started from.  It is also quite possible that these markers and what appears to be more than one trail head all converge into one trail.  Ill have to explore more in the near future.

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We saw some geese down at the lake and a red tailed hawk on on the fire road.

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Trail Report – Blue Hole 302 Grove Hollow

March 17, 2015

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You have to cross 4 cattle guards to get all the way back to the trail head.   Fire road 302A leads up to a handicapped hunting area. The two cattle guards on the road before this turn are easy to navigate a pony around.  If you continue straight past 302A and directly over a cattle guard, and eventually a second one, you will come to a good parking area for the main part of 302.  There is a gate just a bit past the second of these guards and parking areas.  Both of these guards are not possible to ride around, at least not that I can see.  There is room for a couple trailers to park as long as everyone is mindful of the others need to turn around (or pull through).

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Sunday morning Rich and I drove out to Blue Hole to check the road conditions for trailering in.  It tends to flood and also stay snowy and icy later than other areas and I didn’t want to get stuck on the one lane road in.  Everything looked good.  Just a little snow by the parking areas, one of which was pretty muddy, but the other was just fine.

I arrived at the area about two hours later with pony in tow and began the drive back into the National Forest.  Since we had checked the road that morning a tree had blown down across the road.  Uh oh.  Not to be thwarted I put the truck in park and went to bust up some wood.  Not to exaggerate my (wo-)manliness, the tree was small and it was so dried out that most of it had busted up on impact.  I cleared the pieces away and was able to rotate the rest of the trunk off the road.  The picture below is an “after” clearing shot.  Go me.

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Tree removal done, I finished the drive in, parked, mounted up and headed out.

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They are logging the area so the initial fire road in is very well maintained, and has fresh gravel on it.  There is also a new logging road that shoots off to the right a little ways in.

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I noticed a lot of hoof prints (and poo) at the start, almost all headed up the fire road like me.  I saw very few headed back down.  Not too far along two very fresh sets of tracks headed off left to the side of the road and down the hill onto marked “Private Property”.  It had the feel of a loop, and no tracks came back up.  But being private property I moved on.

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Most of the tracks eventually disappeared, and I found I was on the same path as one set of rather fresh tracks.  I made a left onto the first real and pronounced fire road turn.  There had been a few other turns and small trails that I would like to explore, but I wanted to make some distance and see the over all layout to start out with this new-to-me area.  Plus I really wanted to know where these one way tracks went.

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There were a couple turns on this road as well, some probably old logging roads.  There were also quite a few camp areas on the sides, and even one in the middle of the road.

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We found a mineral salt lick near one camp area. and quite a few old piles of tree tubes left behind.

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At one of the large clear areas the fire road branched down to the left, straight, and there was a trail that branched up to the right.  Unfortunately this area was heavy in grass and leaves and I could not determine which direction the other horse tracks went.  I decided to continue straight.  Eventually it became clear that the other tracks did not go straight.

It was an extremely windy day, but both dogs and Simon started to alert around the same time I began to hear a noise loud enough to be distinguished over the wind.  At first I thought it must be a large flock of birds nearby, but then I realized it was spring peepers.  Sure enough, there was a pond off to the left.  Mixed with the wind they almost sounded like a whole flock of hens clucking about.

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SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAThis seemed like a good time to turn around and head back.  I figure the other horse had taken the first road down to the left.  When I got back and looked at my GPS tracking vs the forest map, I suspect this is a loop of sorts and I am eager to check it out in the near future.

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Behind the parking area is a trail that runs back along the creek.  I followed quite a few set of fresh horse tracks back a ways, and crisscrossed the creek a few times before I decided Simon and I had enough for the day.  There were a few large logs down that Simon was just tall enough to maneuver over.  He is quite the little tank.

I am really interested to explore this area a lot more.  I put a post up on a local Facebook equestrian group in hopes of finding someone that rides back there that can give me some insight on the possibility of a loop.   I was also pretty pleased with Simon and myself doing a good 16 mile ride.  I don’t think either of us were too worn out at the end.

Pony-tude

March 16, 2015

This is a photo from last week. It shows Poe at his standard Pony-tude.  Maybe it is because I had a pink halter on him.

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