Trail Report – 1/17/15 – Turner Run

January 20, 2015

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I was a little grumpy this week and I didn’t have a good reason to be.  Then I realized I had not really gotten in any ride time in the past few weeks.  We are talking very minimal butt in the saddle.  At least the one time I did get in a good ride it was a games practice!  So I needed a mood-adjusting-ride stat!

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Having two days off in a row, with the weather predicted to break into the 40s, with no precipitation, that meant trail time.  I decided to start off Saturday in a new-to-me trail area, Turner Run.  Its just north of the popular Slate Lick area.  Turner Run Road turns into a dirt road, and works its way up into the mountains.  I drove up, and passed the first fire road signs, continuing to the closed fire road gate to park.  There are quite a few places to park between the first National Forest signs and the closed gate, and plenty of room in three places to easily turn a trailer around).

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I decided for this ride, I was going to get in a few miles and make tracks up the main fire road, 423 Gauley Ridge.  This fire road gate was clearly open during hunting season, and a lot of hunters made places along it home.  There are plenty of pulls offs, camping circles and parking.  It is a wide and rather smooth fire road, no gravel and very few rocks.  I would feel comfortable taking a barefoot pony there to ride on this fire road and probably will later this spring.

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I made a right onto the first clearly marked fire road that came up, 423p Dave’s Turnpike.  There was a large cleared area for camping at this juncture, and 423p was closed off with a gate.  It clearly has been closed for a long time, the road was over grown, although still clear of trees.  It wound down and around, ending at a nice wide turn around.  The footing was a bit rougher than the main fire road, although Simon and I had a nice gallop back up it and the views were pretty amazing.

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I suspected I had missed the first split in the fire road, which appeared to make a loop (see map above), and that this must have been the back connection.  Clearly this was not the case.  Looking at the map it was obvious I had surpassed the loop area completely and this was the first fire road branch on the right.  I continued along, passing a turn to the left and eventually turning around at the next turn to the left where I met some friendly grouse hunters.

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I passed quite a few side trails, which I decided to forgo for the day. This was not easy for me!  I love to explore.  I also saw a destroyed fire gate lost in the woods like some distopian future reality.

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I did decide to give one of the unmarked side trails a try on the way back.  I suspected it was the missing part of the loop that is so clearly marked on the forest service map.  And yep, I was right!  There was even an old busted up gate a little ways back (although there was nothing at the bottom end to mark it).  Completely over grown, and not a trail I care to try again, it was pleasant in some places, but just too over grown in general.

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The fire road is relatively smooth and flat for the most part, and there are plenty of nice views thrown in.  Even during this boring brown time of the year, it was a lovely ride.  I did not see much wildlife, just some common birds and squirrels.  Even the grouse hunters said they were luckless for the day.  I am looking forward to some more exploring rides up there, as well as putting in some miles.

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