Trail Report: Blue Hole – 302a Disabled Hunting Branch 

February 21, 2017

Today I went to Blue Hole, turned around at the end where I normally park, and then drove back, over two cattle grates and just a bit past the 302a disabled hunting access branch (which is on the left as I drove) and parked on the left side of the road.  

I headed back down the road and started up 302a (now on my right), around the closed gate, and continued on. 

I stayed straight to the end of the fire road, close to 2 – 2.5 miles, where there is a brown wooden post to prevent 4 wheeled traffic, and on up the trail that continued.  Off to the left is a big field to explore at a later time.  

The trail ended or I could have just lost it. It was pretty clear right up to the end, and I did see old hoof prints.  I also saw some old blue blazes and some pink flags that looked pretty new.  It ended right around 3.2 total miles at this point.  I turned around and started back. Then I went up hill to the left following pink tags, up to the top of the hill, and onto an actual trail running along the top. 

On this map below – I entered the map from the top right corner, on the FR at that point, and I rode up, taking the top where the black line splits. This is where the FR ends.  I continued straight on the top line, and down the map and ending on the line on the right hand side of the map.  

I turned around and rode back to the branch off to the left.  This is the big hill that the pink flags go up.  The path at the top went in both directions but the short branch is where the trail fades out. The other direction kept going with nice views on both sides, well flagged in fresh long pink tape, and a worn path.  The leaf litter did get deep in places and made following the trail tough in a few points. But really, this trail has been groomed.  

Looking again at the zoom in of the map below, I suspect it meets up with the trail marked in the light red dashes just below the black line. 

When I lost the pink flagged trail I turned around and followed it back to the main trail and continued back towards the fire road.   There is one spot that there is quite a bit of downed trees on this trail.  A path has been cleared for all but one, that seems rather fresh.  Right around this are is an old FR or logging road going down to the right.  The entrance has a screen of trees over it but beyond it is perfectly clear, and a closed fire gate can be seen.  I went down this road.  Of course. 

It was cleared, and still nice and wide, although at one point the leaf litter was up to Simons chest.  He seemed to enjoy this.  I rode it down till it leveled out at a camp type circle and a pond.  The road goes off left and right and appears to continue straight as well.  I went very briefly left and right and then turned around and headed all the way back to the trailer. 

Duh I am super excited to explore more here.  There are close to a dozen fire roofs, old logging roads, and what appear to be trail heads along this ride from today that I did not check out.  You can look forward to some more exploring over here.  

Trail Report: Blue Hole -I found the loop! 

February 18, 2017 

I often see fresh horse tracks going in but not all come back out.  And I have been unable to completely follow them to figure out how they are looping back out.  Today that changed.  There were several sets of tracks since I was there last weekend, but there was specifically one very fresh set.  Maybe from earlier in the day or maybe the day before, and these tracks went in and not back out.  So I followed them.  And they were fresh and plentiful enough to actually follow.  

Backing up.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to explore or if I wanted to ride out today.  So I started off checking out a little side trail that pops out to the right, almost immediately after passing the closed fire gate.  It is on the first bend in the road and follows the creek. It’s pretty easy to see, was pretty clear and pleasant. I bet it’s gorgeous in the spring.  There was one tree down I could get around and then when I came to a second one I turned around.  Just wasn’t feeling it. 

So back on Hollow Grove I continued until the first road split and I took the left hand turn (like those fresh tracks did).  It was pleasant and moving and eventually came to another split.  Straight on the FR, left on the FR or right onto a trail.  Some deer cut in front of us and down the right trail.  I continues straight for a bit but noticed the hooves turned around and went back to this split.  There was some logging back this way and I remember being back there at some point.  Eager to follow those tracks I turned around and headed back to the split. The tracks turned and went down the other FR (so the left branch as you came in). 

I sort of remember riding down this a few years ago but I cannot remember how far it went or I went.  The current FR is well maintained, clearly upgraded, and in some places, possibly freshly put in or cleared from when they logged.  There were a lot of amazing views and some paths through the logging fields.  I just kept going like a hound on those tracks. Eventually the nice new FR broke down to a trail in the woods.  The hoof prints kept going and I could see some older prints too.  
It was an easy trail to follow and mostly clear.  It eventually got really steep down and I did have a touch of trouble keeping on what I think was the trail. It went down and left you along the creek in a gully, with a mostly easy and clear trail that shortly popped back out on the FR right before the parking.  

I had been planning on doing a longer ride, but having found this loop was perfect.   I did slip down the trail behind the parking but just a short ways before I decided to pack it in for the day. 

The loop is probably about 7 miles without the little side tracks I took.  Lots of good views and plenty of opportunity to move out.   I want to try riding it backwards so I can better find the last little bit of the loop where it gets steep.  

It is a really good loop to move out and do some conditioning.  I would like to go and really move out on it in the future.  And I also think it will be fun to go explore those other branches on the FRs.  

Trail Report: Blue Hole / Grove Hollow 

February 17, 2017 
Another amazing sunny day in the 60s, perfect for another trail ride. Last weekend I drove out to Bluehole near Bergton, Virginia, and drove out and parked at Hollow Grove fire road. 
It was being logged (does not appear to be anymore but the sign is still up at the closed gate) so the road in is in great condition. I drove in over all four cattle guards and parked in one of the two circles by the closed gate.  
Someone had built a fort out of mattresses to the side of the parking. Disappointing.  
I went past the gate and headed up the road. The three logging areas to the right looked complete, the roads into the area even have little berms put in. I am so going to have to check out those areas in the future. It looks like the clearing goes up to a ridge and I bet the view is fantastic. I also passed a few nondescript trails, some just trails and others appearing to be trails on old logging roads. I went down one that was in a clearing to the left. It headed down and was surprisingly clear and passable but begin to get narrower and steep so I turned around. 
Hollow Grove turns off to the left but the road continues ahead and becomes 302 Rocky Spar. I continues up this way. Rocky Spur runs along the ridge and the views to the left are amazing. Nothing you can clearly catch on film, and there was a screen of trees between the fire road and the view. At one point you can see the road way ahead and to the left as the ridge wraps around. I did not go that far and instead turned around at another well defined fire road branching off to the right.  
302E Martins Lick, is on the right side and angles down. I turned around at the open gate and headed back towards the trailer instead.  
A little way before turning around I found an antler shed on the ground. Very exciting. 
There were hoff prints along the fireroads and some old pony poo. There is a lot to explore and the roads are good riding. Maybe a bit sunny in the summer. That’s a guess. I am looking forward to checking out this area more.  

Trail Report – Antietam Battlefield, Boxing Day ride 

February 10, 2017 

A little late but this was a cool ride and I still have some photos in my phone. The day after Christmas, my sister, Kerri and I took Simon and Poe and met up with Lindsey and her pony Will at Antietam Battlefield in Maryland.  

The we site supplied parking instructions, which. Is a field across the street from the visitor center.  Basically horses are allowed on the paved road, drive through your route, and limited fields.  Which was a little disappointing.  But it was still a really neat ride.  There were ample things to look at including Statues, monuments, signs, and even cannons you could walk right up to.  

The three of us really enjoyed ourselves and all three ponies were fantastic.  It was a neat ride.  

Trail Report – Turner Run/Gauley Ridge – Explore

February 9, 2017

Tuesday was so nice, turned out, so was Wednesday.  So back to the trails I went.  

This time I parked midway up Gauley and rode down Turner Run. Down the hill I saw a dog a little farther ahead.  Which put Simon on alert.  The road splits and we went right, and along the camp area (and really crazy deep ruts full of mud) and along a trail at the end, cross crossing the creek.  The trail eventually had a big tree down that was impassable so we turned around.   The map shows a white line (road/trail) off this area but I did not see it.  

The left fork of the road ends quickly at a camp spot.  The little trail continues ahead (and is marked as a fire road that loops back down) but it peters out very quickly.  

We saw the dog again. He popped out of the creek but would not approach me.  And was not too excited about Daisy approaching him.  I reported him to a lost pet network just incase.  But he looked healthy so could just be exploring from a near-by-ish home.  

There are two trails that head back up to Gauley Ridge, although neither are particularly clear or awesome.  

Simon and I zipped around these trails and up and down the road a bit and then headed back to where we parked.  Just to the side of the parking area (to the left in the photo) is a trail that goes on back, and it wraps around a ways and interests with several other lightly used trails and no longer used logging paths.  We spent some time exploring around there, saw some deer, and then called it for the day and headed back.  It was al a bit over grown. 

And now the cold rolls back in :0) 

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