Trail Report – 2/7/15 – Marshall Run Loop 235

February 10, 2015

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***Again, my phone cut off the tracker, and it did not complete the circuit for me. Please add about 2 miles and about 25 minutes to it. ***

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Trail ride Saturday, and the weather was unseasonably warm in the 50s. I decided to step up our shorter 5-7 mile conditioning rides and make this one longer. Although I was shooting more for an 8-10 mile ride, but my exploring got the better of me and we ended up going closer to 13 miles.

I went back to Marshall Run. There were already two trailers parked there, mine making three. I hit the fire road and stayed on the main one, bearing right. The snow had melted from the forest, but the snow on the road had melted and refrozen several times making a nice solid sheet of ice almost continuously back to the fire road gate (about 1 ½ miles worth). I had planned to get a nice trot going up the road, and was becoming frustrated with it. Simon was ready to stretch out some and seemed intent on walking directly on the slipperiest parts of the ice, instead of the very narrow shoulders on the sides. The dogs were running and sliding out on the road, which was actually rather funny. I hopped up onto one of the unmarked side trails about ½ way up the road. It is on the left hand side as you go up, at one of the bends to the right in the road. Is a step but short step up, and leads to a rather smooth trail. I saw signs of horses having used the trail somewhat recently, and some encroaching branches that had been snapped back but there were a few more recent logs down that needed a chainsaw to eliminate them. Only two of these were too big for Simon to step over, the first one being easy to ride around. The second one had some snow around it, making it a bit slippery at the ride around, so I decided to save this trail for another day and went back to the road and continued up.

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Icy fire road on the way out.

I explored a few other turn offs but none that were that enticing. Which left me ready to take the loop, in the opposite direction as is typical. I passed the fire gate, and over the creek and along the fire road, and then I turned off and into the forest. It is a well-used but unmarked trail, with several creek crossings. I came head up to three riders, from the other two trailers, and we stopped for a good fifteen minute chat before moving on. I continued down the trail, past the turn, which was uphill to the right, and very easy to miss. I just to see what was ahead. Although, knowing that the loop is already a good ride, and having added a few miles already with exploration, I returned to the turn off. We headed up the hill and enjoyed the terrain, eventually coming back around to the fire road. By going this way I had saved the gradual downhill for a longer part of the ride. Which gave me the opportunity to work on Simon’s downhill. We trotted quite a bit of it and cantered some as well. The road was nice and clear, with just a few snow spots on shadier places.

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Eventually we reached back to where we had turned off and continued the ride back. Again being annoyed by the icy conditions for the last 1 ½ miles. I did note that there had been considerable melt while we were on our ride, making the shoulders wider and some of the ice areas much smaller! The whole loop was clear, freshly so in some places (THANK YOU), and made for an excellent ride. The actual loop, if I had left off all my exploring, would probably have been close to 10 miles, I’ll try to track it more accurately in the future.

I was also pleased that Simon was still peppy at the end, eagerly picking up a trot or even canter.  Although I was a little sore the next day, I think our conditioning is coming along.

 

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