Trail Report: Elizabeth’s Furnace – Short Loop, Strasburg, VA

July 31, 2018

Sunday I went out with my local trail club, the Shenandoah Trail Riders and Horseman’s Association (woe that’s a mouthful) STHA, for a sweet four hour ride.  I really enjoy getting out with the club but this is sadly the first time I have made a ride this year!

Excitingly this was a brand new location for me, over in the Strasburg area.  I have never driven through this area non the less been here to ride, so it was quite exciting.  It was easy to get to, not far off I81.  I goggle mapped to Elizabeth Furnace Camp Ground, and then drove just past it to the next parking area on the right hand side.

The parking area has a loop drive and plenty of parking.  We had quite a few rigs and all fit just fine with plenty of room to spare.  I did note that the parking lot was in terrible shape and untended.  I thought I was parked beyond the actual parking area and when I was messing around getting ready I noticed parking blocks lost in the depths of overgrowth, dangerously hidden from view as I nearly tripped over them on multiple occasions (glad my truck and trailer didn’t “trip” over them).  I should have gotten a photo of the parking area, but as per my usual when I am riding with other people, I really sucked at getting photos.

 

We left the parking area via a trail situated at the back of the parking area.  If you were facing the parking area from the road the trail would be in the top left hand corner.  This wrapped up through some woods and popped out on a fire road.  I am not going to mince words at this point, and am going to be very to the point, I followed along and had a lovely ride but I paid zero attention to our trail.  We were on and off of fire roads and trails and I saw some blue and orange (maybe) blazes and several signs telling us which way what trails were but I have no idea which trails we rode on.  There were plenty of them though, and lots of options, and plenty of directions to go in.  I did notice that one we were on and left crossed back over to another one we were on later.  Two of our group broke off not too far into the ride and went a different way and met back up at the end.  And when we got back someone else was parked with us and popped back out of the woods just behind us who was also out for a ride.  Point being, I could not retrace this exact loop very easily, but there are a bunch of trails out there and with a map it would be an awesome place to spend some days exploring.

 

There were a couple creek crossings and lots of lovely scenery.  It was a really pretty ride.  There was a large log down at one point and Sharon, Mark and a few others quickly cut us a path around it.

In the photo above, that Mule is named Daisy.  Very cute.

At one point the trail led through an old unused camp grounds.  It was originally a workers camp, which I am already fuzzy on the details that were so kindly told to me.  Please excuse anything inaccurate I relay, but I believe it was built in the depression era, by the ECW/CCC Roosevelt initiative to get labor forces working again, as housing for the workers.  It was later used by the 4H, and I am told that Ellie can tell me all about that era of its use.  Which I would love to know more about.

You can see several of the cabins still standing.  It is so sad that it is all gone to disuse.  I am sure it was a really neat little camp at one time.

and even a pool!

There is also a pavilion still there with the neatest roof inner structure.

Anyway, these type of over grown structures always make me think of all the – end of the world – books and movies.  This area totally had that feel and would make for a good set for the Walking Dead or some such type of film.

We passed through this on the way out and the way back in, and over two little bridges.  After a while we stopped for a nice little lunch break.

It was a lovely ride and a really good time.  It clocked in at 13 miles on the nose and my tracker trimmed out the stopped time so we were moving for a total of 3 1/2 hours.

Simon was a little full of himself, which is quite out of character for him.  I am attributing it to him being a only-pony these past two weeks and him being particularly excited to be with other horses. Normally this doesn’t excite him all that much but on this ride he was all full of it.  Keeping up with all those gaited ponies he rolled into his little jog for some of the ride home.  Not fast enough to do a posting trot and not slow enough to walk.  For a non gaited pony he is pretty smooth, but he is not gaited.  Note, I had on a really good bra.

I am hoping to make more club rides this fall.  I really do enjoy them.  Hopefully my games schedule will start to line up a little better with the STRHA schedule!

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